St Philip’s CE Primary School
UNAVOIDABLE SCHOOL CLOSURES POLICY
It may be necessary to temporarily close or partially close the school for a variety of reasons including:
- Severe weather including snow, flooding or storms
- Mass medical emergencies to children or staff
- A major incident in the locality of the school where emergency services or the local authority have advised the school to be closed.
- Problems with the school site, for example loss of power supply, heating failures, hygiene problems due to lack of hot water, or fire damage
- Longer term disruption to transport, for example through petrol or diesel shortages
- Advice as taken by the Local Health Team or Department for Education
Closure due to severe weather
The decision to close a school will normally rest with the Headteacher, and be confirmed with the Chair of Governors (or if they are unavailable, the Vice Chair), and the Local Authority. The decision should be made where possible before 7.30am and on the basis of information received from the media about weather, supplemented by on the spot observation, either personally or from staff members better placed to make such observations and through appropriate external agencies such as the Met Office.
Factors involved in reaching the decision to close the school are likely to be:
- Access to the school, i.e. road conditions (obstructions, snow, ice, flooding etc). This will also require dialogue with school transport providers.
- Breakdown of school essential services (heating, electrical services, water, storm damage etc).
- The number of staff that can reach the site.
The Headteacher will advise staff and parents of any school closure through the school website, twitter feed and broadcast on Cambridgeshire radio. During periods of possible disruption due to bad weather or premises issues, the Headteacher will advise parents and pupils to listen to any local radio station. Closures will be considered on a daily basis.
The whole school community, should be made regularly aware of this procedure as incidents can occur with little or no warning.
There will be a message on the Home page of the school website and an email to parents will follow at the earliest opportunity.
School closure during school hours
On occasions it may be necessary for school to close during the school day i.e. if the weather is deteriorating and there is doubt as to whether children can be safely returned home later in the day. In such cases the school will ensure that children are collected from school. The school Critical Incident Plan (see Critical Incident Plan) may also apply. In these cases the school will place information on the school website and school twitter feed, informing parents of the closure. Parents who are subsequently unable to collect their child and need to make alternative arrangements should telephone the school. It may be necessary to obtain verbal permission from parents for their child to be collected by another named parent. In the event of a ‘during the school day’ closure the same procedures of informing parents and Local Authority will apply.
Although it is recognised that severe weather conditions make it difficult for staff to get to and from work, unless advised to the contrary by the Headteacher, then the expectation is that staff will present themselves for work. Travel to work/school is regarded by both the Police and the Council’s Highways Management as an essential journey, and every effort should be made to get to work unless it is known that your school has closed or you consider it unsafe to do so. Contract Staff (Catering) if appropriate also need to be advised of any emergency requirements.
Clearance of Snow within the School Site
The school is responsible for snow clearance and the clearing of approach paths is the specific task of the Site Manager. The clearance of public roads is the responsibility of the Highways Department.
Closure due to advice taken from the Local Health Board and the Department of Education (DfE) due to a positive case of Coronavirus (or any other infection as advised)
In the event of a positive case of coronavirus (or any other infection as advised), the school agrees to follow the Track and Trace guidance as provided by the Local Authority. There is a procedure in place to contact the DfE helpline, contact the Local Authority and take further advice.
In the event of a full or partial school closure, there will be remote learning provided for all children, either online or through packs of homelearning work that will be sent home.
The school will notify parents of any partial or full school closure through email in the first instance.
In the Event of School Being Closed
If a school is closed it is the responsibility of the Headteacher to ensure that the following events happen:
- The decision is ratified with the Chair or Vice Chair of Governors.
- The school website has been updated with closure information
- The information is passed to the Local Authority as soon as possible
- The school office answer phone (where technology allows) is amended to a short closure message.
- School is appropriately staffed by teachers/teaching assistants to deal with any pupils who arrive at school unescorted until parents or emergency contacts can collect the pupils. These tasks do not all have to be completed by the Headteacher, although they have the overall responsibility for ensuring each has been carried out