Severe Weather Procedures
During the winter – particularly January and February snowfall can disrupt school opening. We recognise this can cause uncertainties, difficulties and anxiety for many. Chesswood Junior school and Lyndhurst First School 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.
When snowfalls it can bring out the best and worst in people. Usually the school, particularly the head teacher is in a ‘No Win’ situation. We can assure all parents any decision will not be taken lightly and will be taken in the best interests of child and staff welfare. Please try to remember this when communicating with the school as we have in excess of 600 children and 90 staff to make arrangements for, usually when it is still dark outside; we are not on the school premises and we have to ensure we have sufficient staff in the right place at the right time.
Schools are some of the largest organisations in the country based on the number of people on the premises at one time. Unlike many other work places e.g. a shop, cinema, restaurant, small industrial unit or leisure centre if staff are delayed in their arrival, the business will open later without significant upset – if we do not have guaranteed sufficient staff here at 8:30a.m. for the number of children (something we also do not know on the day!) then children may not be properly supervised and at increased risk of harm – clearly this is not acceptable to any parent or professional. That said, we also take the view that children left at home alone on a snow day would typically be at higher risk than if they were on the school premises with fewer staff.
Ultimately, the Headteacher will take the decision regarding opening the school once conditions are known, not simply forecast – this would typically be on the morning of the school day. 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 – roaring down a hill on a sledge with friends.
The decision to remain open will be largely underpinned by the Senior Leadership Team’s ability to get into work safely and secure childcare for family, if required. If, in their opinion, they cannot then the school will remain closed. If one member of the team is able to open the school then it is highly likely a limited community service will be offered.