By Rachel Foster on 21 Feb 2019
Measures to enable schools to operate during current weather conditions Summary: This note provides a basic framework to guide Head Teachers in establishing minimum control measures to support schools to operate during severe weather related to levels of snow, ice and reduced temperatures.
1. Safe Access to school buildings • The priority is to ensure reasonable measures are taken to provide all pupils, visitors and staff have a safe route for entering and leaving the school site and moving between buildings as required. Particular attention should be focused on steps and ramps included within access routes. • Head Teachers should develop a plan of the most appropriate routes for pedestrians to access the school and move between school buildings within the school site. This will form the template for where targeted clearing of snow and ice should take place. Once these areas are cleared they will form the focus for day to day local maintenance utilising grit and salt when available. • The access plan should ensure the maintenance of final fire escape doors from all school buildings. This will ensure they can be opened during an evacuated of the school. It is recommended that final fire escape doors are checked at the beginning of each school day and at regular intervals whilst further snow falls. • Where possible vehicle movement on site should be limited as much as possible. Routes where vehicles have to access the site should be clearly identified within the access plan and where possible should separate pedestrian and vehicle access. • It is recommended that pedestrian access paths should be a minimum of 2 metres in width to allow people to pass, unless local conditions restrict this width. • It is not necessary to clear all areas of the school site from snow and ice to enable the school to operate. • Where employees and children have specific mobility issues, additional measures will need to be put in place to ensure they can safely enter and leave the school site. This could include increased supervision, support and dedicated vehicle access route near to an entrance.
2. Managing the risk of slips within entrances and corridors Steps should be taken to reduce the risk of slips at entrances and corridors where snow, ice and water is transferred via footfall and clothing. This risk will be greatest at times of maximum activity.
• Increased mopping, provision of absorbent mats and warning signage are reasonable measures to address this issue. This should be monitored to ensure steps taken are effective during the day.
3. Changes to daily operating arrangements • Suitable supervision should be provided to all entrances to the school site at peak times. • Visitors should be verbally warned about any specific hazards and directed to stay on cleared access routes. This can be supported with appropriate signage. • Children should be prohibited from accessing none cleared areas except during an emergency evacuation of the school. • Wet play arrangements should be maintained to prevent children accessing snow and ice covered areas during the day. • All measures taken by the school, including the access plan, ongoing maintenance of access routes, escape routes and steps to manage internal areas for slipping hazards should be logged to provide evidence of the school’s due diligence.
If you wish for any further information please contact the school’s HR and People helpline on: 0844 967 1112 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.