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Chesswood Junior School

Chesswood Junior School

Severe Weather Policy

Preparation for Severe Weather - Don't Panic!

We recognise winter can cause uncertainties, difficulties and anxiety for many when extreme weather can cause disruption to school opening. Chesswood Junior school in partnership with feeder schools have developed the following guidance together to ensure the ‘least worst’ disruption to learning, families and employees, if and when we are faced with a decision to close our schools.

Is the school likely to close?

The Headteacher will take the decision regarding opening the school once conditions are known, not simply forecast.  We will make every reasonable effort to remain open, because:

  • Parents often need to get to work and some may be in specific frontline services i.e. police, ambulance, fire, hospital staff.
  • Children are likely to be safer in a structured environment than some of the unstructured circumstances that may arise.

Where can I find out more?

Where there is a significant chance that snow will disrupt the opening of the school then we will notify parents of that risk. The following table details the location of information and he expected time for it to be published.



By When

Guidance Notes

Email – Schoolsbuddy


8.00 a.m.


We will send an email via schools buddy to all parents registered for this service (if you receive the weekly communication you are registered for the email!)

If it is or has been snowing and you do not get an email and are still concerned about openning please check the website, Twitter or Facebook

School Website

7.45 a.m.

If the school is at risk of closing, the home page of the school website will be used to confirm opening status.

‘SCHOOL IS OPEN – NORMAL PROCEDURES’.  This message will only change if severe weather procedures are instigated and the school opening status alters to either:




01903 204141

7.45 a.m.

If lots of people call the school the phone lines will be busy, however if you do not have access to email, or the internet, please do not hesitate to call us.



7.45 a.m.



7.45 a.m.


West Sussex County Council (Home › Living › Emergencies › Current incidents)

8:30 a.m.

Depending on the severity of the weather conditions and the speed of school closures notification on the West Sussex website may be delayed beyond 8:30 a.m.

More Radio


8:30 a.m.

Depending on the severity of the weather conditions and the speed of school closures notification on radio stations may be delayed beyond 8:30 a.m.

Spirit FM


8:30 a.m.

BBC Sussex

8:30 a.m.

If conditions worsen significantly during the day it may become necessary for children to be picked up early. The school will not close until the last child is collected – please do not call to ask if we are closing early – we will contact you, if required.

How can I help the school?

In the event that the school is open and running a limited community service, parents must note the following:

  • We will be doing our best in uncertain, often complex and changing circumstances, please be positive in any communication you have with staff.
  • It is entirely the parents’ responsibility to decide if it is safe for them to travel to school.  Where there is extreme weather and we open as a community service parents are not obliged to send their children and it will not affect their child’s attendance record if they do not. If the school is open as normal, as stated on the website absence will be recorded in the normal way.
  • Attendance registers will remain open until 10 a.m. to ensure punctuality does not lead to additional anxiety and risk.
  • Do not call to ask if we are closing early as this will divert staff from other priorities – we will contact you, if required.
  • Where parents do keep their children at home for the day, they are asked to undertake one of the following:

In the case of a limited community service:

  • Please provide your child with a packed lunch in case we have no cook! 
  • Normal lessons may be suspended for the day although the best possible learning activities will be secured with the staff available.
  • Please provide warm clothes, hats, gloves and wellies (or suitable footwear) so those wishing to make snowmen and throw the odd snowball can do so!

As ever, we are keen to hear how these systems work in practice and whether they can be improved in any way. On that basis we would ask you to contact the school with praise where it has worked well or suggestions for improvement where it has caused difficulties for you.