Industrial action: risk assessment and arrangements for staying open

Get your head around your requirements and options for keeping your school safely open during staff strikes. Download and adapt our risk assessment to help you decide if you need to close.

Last reviewed on 4 April 2023
See updates
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 45757
Contents
  1. What are the rules around strikes?
  2. There are specific rules for the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and infant class sizes
  3. Give parents and pupils advance warning
  4. Consider all your options
  5. Use our risk assessment to see if you can open at different capacities

What are the rules around strikes?

What's expected of the headteacher

The DfE expects you to take “all reasonable steps” to keep your school open for as many pupils as possible during strikes. This is set out on page 5 of the guidance on handling strike action in schools

However, you also have a responsibility to look after pupils on the school site. If you don’t have the staff to safely open your school, including making sure you can carry out safeguarding, you may have to close or partially close.

Who can decide to close the school?

Maintained schools: the headteacher.

Academies: the academy trust, but it can be delegated to the headteacher(s).

There's no hard and fast rule about when a school has to be closed (unless you're an early years setting – see below).

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