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Severe weather policies
Are there examples of severe weather policies? This article links to school policies on adverse weather, including a policy covering staff attendance in the event of the school being closed due to bad weather. We also link to the DfE's advice on planning for severe weather.
- Severe weather policies from schools
- Policy on staff attendance during bad weather
- Making an emergency plan: DfE
Severe weather policies from schools
Policy from a primary school
The adverse weather conditions policy of The Bramptons Primary School in Northamptonshire details action to be taken before and during the school day in the event of severe weather.
Information about any closure will be shared on the LA website ...
It says information about any closure will be shared on the local authority (LA) website, broadcast on local radio stations and sent via text message to parents who have opted in to this service.
The school will only be closed if one or more of the following conditions apply:
- Insufficient numbers of staff are able to come in to keep the school running safely
- Conditions on site are dangerous
- Conditions are considered to be, or are anticipated to later become, too hazardous for travel
The policy also recognises that there will be occasional cases where some families are cut off, even if the majority of pupils can get to school. When the school is open but extreme weather prevents a child attending, parents must inform the school so that the headteacher can justify authorising the absence to the LA.
However, it notes:
If parents assume that the school is closed, but it is actually open, the absence will be recorded as unauthorised unless the headteacher is satisfied that there are exceptional circumstances.
Policy from a secondary school
Cowley International College in Merseyside has a snow and ice policy, which aims to "maintain safe access, egress and routes across the college site as far as reasonably practical within the resources available".
Pages 2-4 of the policy outlines the responsibilities of the:
The policy ... includes a risk assessment for snow and ice ...
- Governing body
- Business manager
- Facilities manager
- Premises staff
- All staff
The procedures for clearing snow and ice from paths and entrances are set out on page 4. The policy also includes a risk assessment for snow and ice, which lists possible risks to pupils, visitors and premises staff.
Who is responsible for closing the school?
Another article from The Key explains who is responsible for closing the school in severe weather.
It also relays advice from the Department for Education on managing staff and pupil absence caused by bad weather conditions.
Policy on staff attendance during bad weather
St. Botolph's Church of England (CofE) Primary School in Leicestershire has a 'note to staff' on page 3 of its severe weather policy and procedure document, which says:
It is recognised that adverse weather conditions will, at times, make travel to and from work difficult.
Employees are expected to make "all reasonable efforts" to reach their workplace. The policy says that staff will be informed by text and given daily updates in the event of a closure, and notified directly when the school is to reopen.
Making an emergency plan: DfE
The Department for Education (DfE) has guidance on creating an emergency plan for incidents such as severe weather and floods.
A section on severe weather advises on marking pupil absences and working around staff absences caused by the severe weather conditions. It says that to be flexible in the case of teacher absence, schools could:
- Bring together groups and classes with teachers and support staff working together
- Use other staff or volunteers to supervise lessons or oversee alternative activities
- Re-arrange the curriculum
It also says that if flooding has "significantly affected" your school or early years setting, the DfE should be contacted directly through the incident alert team email address provided on the guidance webpage.
This article was updated in response to feedback from the school business manager of a medium-size urban primary school in the north east.
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