Emergency Closure Policy
An Emergency incident or crisis can be clarified as an unexpected event which affects the School community, and which causes disruption on a scale, which is beyond the normal coping capability of the School. The Emergency Incident may involve significant threat, damage or injury to individuals or property, and may have a long-term impact on pupils, staff, parents and Governors.Policy Principles:
• Chawson Community First School is committed to ensuring that, in the event of an emergency or incident, the School will provide an effective emergency response to minimise the impact of the emergency and to ensure the wellbeing and safety of all children and adults in the schools care.
• Staff, parents/carers and the community understand their role and responsibilities in ensuring effective communication is maintained
a. Provide effective emergency response arrangements that will ensure the well being and safety of all children and adults in the care of the School.
b. Establish an effective framework of emergency response.
c. Ensure that the emergency incident/closure is communicated as quickly and clearly as possible to relevant agencies, staff and parents/carers.
d. Maintain high standards of welfare and duty of care arrangements for pupils, staff and parents/carers.
e. Ensure that actions and decision making during the emergency incident are appropriately recorded.
f. Minimise educational disruption within School where possible.
g. Facilitate the return to normal working arrangements at the earliest time.
Procedures for the School:
1. Following consideration of reports/warnings from the appropriate authorities (e.g. travel warnings from local police) and local staff, the Headteacher in consultation with the Chair of Governors (wherever possible) makes the decision to close the school.
2. In reaching a decision to close the school the Headteacher and Chair of Governors will take full account of local circumstances. This will include communication with the Headteacher of Witton Middle School where appropriate. The presumption should be in favour of keeping the school open unless, in the Headteacher’s view, to do so would put the health, safety or welfare of pupils and/or staff at risk.
3. In the absence of the Headteacher, the decision will fall to the next most senior member of staff within the Senior Management Team.
4. The School will contact Worcestershire Local Authority to inform them of the closure. (In the case of a snow closure Worcestershire Local Authority will update their website to inform parents. In the case of other emergency closures, only effecting Chawson First School, the Authority will be able to advise parents over the phone if necessary.
5. Inform parents through local radio stations; contacting them and confirming legitimacy using the appropriate codes.
6. Inform parents by updating the school website (www.chawson.worcs.sch.uk)
7. Advise staff. Where the decision is taken before the start of the school day the staff emergency closure line will be activated.
8. In certain situations it may be decided to notify parents/carers of a later opening time or earlier closing time.
9. In the event of late evening/early morning severe weather conditions – every effort will be made to make a decision regarding opening or closure by 7.00am
Closure during the school day:
1. Procedures outlined above would be followed.
2. Phone parents asking them to collect their children from school as soon as possible using the school’s two phone lines. Calls will be logged against a list of contacts.
3. When called, parents/carers will be encouraged to contact friends with children at the school and pass on the information.
4. The names of children collected from school will be listed and parents/carers logged to confirm collection.
5. The Headteacher will be kept informed of developments.
6. The person keeping a record of children collected will regularly update those staff phoning parents/carers.
7. The safety and wellbeing of the children will be ensured throughout. Staff will stay with the children until they are collected.
8. Staff will begin to be sent home as soon as enough children have been collected from the school, ensuring an appropriate level of staff/children ratio.
Procedure for Parents:
1. Parents should be fully aware of the procedures which will operate should there be an emergency school closure.
2. In instances of severe weather during a school day or if there are doubts about the school opening parents should be advised to
a. Access the school website/local radio station websites/Worcester Local Authority website
b. Listen to local radio stations
(Telephone the school as a last resort, due to concerns of blocking phone lines.)
3. Parents/carers are responsible for making their own risk assessments on behalf of their children and themselves when conditions are severe. This may mean keeping children at home even when the school is open. In the majority of cases this would be due to an unsafe journey to school. Parents need to inform the School of a child’s absence in the normal way (by phone that morning and by letter explaining the circumstance on return to school).
4. Parents should immediately update the school with any change of contact or emergency contact details as they change.
5. Parents should inform children of any change in their collection arrangements in the event of an emergency school closure. (The school holds a list of people who cannot collect certain children and will continue to abide by this list in the event of an emergency closure.) Children will only be allowed home with people that they recognise ie. relatives and that they knew would be collecting them. (Where possible parents/careers should inform staff of any changed arrangements prior to any emergency.)
6. On arrival at school, children should be collected from the main entrance at the school office, unless messages at the entrance indicate otherwise.
7. Parents/carers should ensure that they have signed their children out.
Procedures for staff:
1. Arrangements will be made for staff with the furthest distance to travel, to depart from the school first, excepting the Senior Management Team. An appropriate ratio of teachers, lead teaching assistants and teaching assistants will be retained.
2. If required classes will be combined to ensure a teacher or lead teaching assistant is always present.
3. A member of the Senior Management Team will always be present at the school until the last child is collected.
4. Staff will always be expected to arrive at school within an appropriate time unless they are specifically informed not to do so through the emergency closure line or if following their own personal risk assessment the distance or conditions are deemed unsafe to travel.
It is recognise that when dealing with real life, in changing situations, that there will be unforeseen incidents which no policy could cover. Robust processes and procedures can ensure that unplanned occurrences are addressed or human error is detected and that the safety of the children and adults in the school is achieved.