By Rachel Foster on 24 Jan 2019
We are advised by the national weather service that we can expect further snowfalls over the next few weeks potentially leading to disruption across the region. This blog is simply to highlight the procedures we advise a school to follow should the weather deteriorate severely at any point.
It is recognised that schools and academies make every effort to remain open whatever the weather and that all schools have weather related plans built into their school resilience (business continuity) plans. As part of these plans the majority of schools have made provision for stocks of grit/salt.
In the event of severe weather conditions, as we have previously experienced in the last few years, Head teachers and Principals occasionally have to consider the situation at the school and make an assessment as to whether it is safe, in all of the circumstances, for the school to remain open. You should take into account the number of staff who are unable or who have failed to reach the school, heating and/or other site related difficulties and any local travel difficulties which may prevent the pupils from arriving safely at the school.
If you conclude, that despite every effort to remain open, you must close the school for the day you should ensure that this is communicated as a priority. The following checklist is designed to assist you, although you may have your own effective arrangements in addition to this list.
- Use mobile phone and texts for broadcast messaging
- Update the school internet page
- Send letters to parents and carers at the earliest opportunity
- Update phone messages on school switchboards
- Inform your Local Authority or MAT where applicable
- Contact the local radio stations and other media
- Ensure you have up to date contact details of staff and emergency services
- Be clear about the minimum number of staff required to maintain services
- Refer parents/carers to the Local Authority website may have real time information about closures.
- You should also consider...
- On occasions, it may not be possible to alert all the pupils in time to prevent them from attending at school and it will be appropriate for them to be accommodated and supervised in school whilst alternative arrangements are considered. You should also consider what arrangements can be made for those pupils entitled to free school meals.
If you have a planned partnership or multi-agency meeting regarding an individual child (e.g. a meeting about a Looked After Child, or concerning a Child Protection issue), please contact the allocated social worker or local district office at the earliest opportunity.
We have also created a checklist in relation to some of health and safety measures that you should consider.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Rachel is the HR Director at One Education, and is a qualified employment solicitor and CIPD HR professional. She has worked for many years in the education sector both as a lawyer and as a senior HR advisor.