Hempstead Junior School

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Severe Weather Procedures

NOTE TO PARENTS AND FAMILIES REGARDING EMERGENCY SCHOOL CLOSURE

We will endeavour to keep our school open and operating as normal. However in the event of severe adverse weather or other extreme event, it may be necessary to make a decision to close the schools for the safety of the children and staff. Following the Emergency School Closure Guidance from the Local Authority, the following policy and procedure exists for Hempstead Schools Federation.

 The decision to close will be made by the head teacher in consultation with the chair of governors considering the following:

  • There are enough staff to supervise the number of children who are likely to be present;
  • A reasonable temperature can be maintained within the building;
  • Water is available and toilets are working satisfactorily;
  • School meals are available: and
  • There is no likely change to circumstances which will adversely impact upon 1) - 4) above.

Our first priority will always be to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of pupils, staff, parents and families.

Where practical, we will consider opening later in order to enable staff and children to have additional time to travel to school safely.

We will clear paths within school to make access as safe as possible, and will keep supplies of grit to support this. Care is always needed when using pathways that have been gritted

School Closure Procedure for Parents:

When school closure is a possibility, parents should find out whether the school is open by;

  • Checking the school website
  • Checking updates on local radio stations (BBC Radio Kent, Heart FM, KMFM) and on their websites
  • Checking school closures as listed on the BBC Radio Kent website
  • Ringing the school – if necessary, a pre-recorded answerphone message will be available to advise whether or not the school is open

As soon as a decision has been made we will inform you via our email/text service and post a headline message on the school website. We will endeavour to make a decision by 0800 on the morning in question.

Where possible, a member of staff will be in school to advise you on arrival that the school is closed, and to answer telephone calls. If possible, a pre-recorded message will be available on the school telephone number clarifying whether the school is open or closed for the day.

The school fully appreciates that in bad weather children may arrive later than usual.

 If parents assume that the school is closed, but it is actually open, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised unless the Head Teacher is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.

The school recognises that there may be cases where families are “cut off” due to particular difficulties in the area in which they live.  In such cases parents should advise the Head Teacher of their particular circumstances so he can justify to the Local Authority why the absence should be approved.

If there is heavy snowfall during the school day the Head Teacher will decide whether it is necessary to close the school.

The Office will contact parents and ask that they pick their child/children up from school as soon as possible. An email/ text will be sent out to alert parents to the early closure of the school.

The Staff that live furthest from the school will be permitted to leave at the earliest opportunity.

  • A skeleton staff will remain in school until all of the children have been collected.
  • If a parent rings requesting they pick their child up early due to the weather, and the decision has not been made to close the school, the Head Teacher will consider these requests on an individual basis.

Please note the following key points:

  • Where possible, a joint decision for both schools will be made in regards to any possible closure. However, it is possible that the Junior School may be able to remain open whilst the Infant School may not as a large percentage of junior staff live locally to the school, which is not the case for the Infant School.
  • Parents are to please ensure the school offices hold their up-to-date contact details

 If the school remain open in adverse weather, please consider the following:

  • Keep checking school emails/ texts/ website in case weather is due to deteriorate
  • Pupils should wear appropriate warm clothing for the weather and appropriate practical footwear for walking to and from school
  • Parents may wish to send their children to school with a packed lunch in case the kitchen is affected