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Lockdown procedures: letters to parents
- 1 Template letter to parents
- 2 Examples from primary schools
- 3 Examples from secondary schools
Template letter to parents
We have produced a template letter to parents with the help of David Roche, one of our associate education experts. The letter is to inform parents that the school has a lockdown procedure and will be practising it soon. It includes:
- An explanation of what lockdown means and why the school has this procedure
- Space for you to summarise your lockdown procedure
- A section where you can set out instructions for parents in the event of a lockdown
We encourage you to adapt this letter to reflect your school's context.
Tips for creating a letter from scratch
If you would prefer to create your own letter from scratch, another of our experts Jonathan Block recommended that you:
- Take a matter-of-fact tone to emphasise the fact that lockdown is a standard health and safety procedure
- Explain what 'lockdown' means
- Provide a few examples of when a lockdown procedure may be necessary
- Emphasise that the school has a duty to keep students safe and take proactive steps towards this aim
- Make it clear that it is good practice for schools to have many health and safety procedures, even for unlikely situations
- Explain that a lockdown practice is similar to a fire drill, as this is a term parents are likely to be more familiar with
In the rest of this article we link to letters regarding lockdown procedures which have been sent by schools in a variety of situations.
Examples from primary schools
Summary following lockdown incident
Welldon Park Primary School, a community school in Harrow with pupils aged 3-11, sent a letter to parents following a lockdown procedure which took place as part of the school’s emergency plan.
Page 1 of the letter sets out the school’s emergency plan, which includes details of:
- Situations when lockdown procedures may be activated
- The 2 levels of lockdown (“amber” and “red”)
- How the school will seek advice from external emergency services before lockdown procedures are activated
The second page of the letter summarises an incident that took place which resulted in the school going into partial lockdown. It gives details of the school’s response.
It also says:
Sometimes, lockdown situations can frighten students, however we do everything possible to keep the children calm. Please discuss this situation with your children and let us know if follow-up is needed at school.
Review of lockdown procedures
[The letter] lists the scenarios where a lockdown may be necessary
Frimley Church of England (CofE) Junior School, a voluntary controlled school in Surrey, has a letter for parents about its lockdown procedures.
It explains that the school has reviewed its lockdown procedures, and lists the scenarios where a lockdown may be necessary. Page 2 sets out the school’s procedures, and informs parents:
Our teachers will be sharing this procedure with their class and we will shortly be carrying out an emergency drill with the children to ensure that everyone is clear on what they have to do.
Brookside Academy in Somerset, which has pupils aged 3-11, also sent a letter to parents following a review of its lockdown procedures. The letter says:
It is good practice, in our view, to have a plan for a lockdown procedure as part of our commitment to keeping all of our children and staff safe within the academy.
It also explains that in the event of an actual lockdown, parents will be informed:
- As soon as possible through the school’s website
- At the end of the day by letter
Procedures set out within general letters
Some schools set out details of their lockdown procedures as part of more general letters to parents.
Adderley Primary School, a community school in Birmingham with pupils aged 4-11, provides details of its lockdown procedures within a newsletter for parents. Under the heading “Safeguarding update” on page 1, it says:
Just as we prepare our children to properly respond to a fire drill, they also need to be aware of the proper response during a lockdown drill.
Staff will discuss the importance of this procedure with the children prior to running a drill
It explains that staff will:
- Discuss the importance of this procedure with the children prior to running a drill
- Remind the children after the drill that it was just a practice and that there was no danger
St Stephen’s Infant School, a community school in South Gloucestershire, outlines its lockdown procedures on pages 2-3 of a newsletter for parents. It explains:
- When a lockdown takes place
- What happens during a lockdown
- That the school will continue to practise its procedure regularly
It also informs parents that in the event of a lockdown, it would contact them to advise them that it was taking place and "not to come to or call the school.” It says this is because it may:
- Endanger parents
- Block telephone lines to services that the school may need for support
Examples from secondary schools
Information about practice lockdowns
This lockdown procedure has been created to keep staff and students safe in the case of severe weather or an intruder
Rickmansworth School, a secondary academy in Hertfordshire, sent a letter to parents explaining that it would be carrying out a practice lockdown. The letter says that its lockdown procedure has been created to keep staff and students safe in the case of severe weather or an intruder.
Please be assured that we have not received any information to indicate that the school is at risk from an intruder, but it is essential that we take every step to ensure the students’ wellbeing.
Lockdown information within a general letter
Hampstead School, a community school in Camden, included information about lockdown procedures within a general letter to parents.
Under the heading 'Health and safety' on page 2, it explains that it has “heeded advice” from the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Unit and the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, and has:
… developed lockdown procedures intended to frustrate intruders accessing the site and to keep children as safe as possible until help arrives.
It also informs parents that it will be practising its “dynamic lockdown procedures” at some point during the term. Students will be told about this beforehand, and will be instructed regarding what to do.
David Roche is a former headteacher currently working as an education consultant and school improvement partner.
Jonathan Block has extensive experience of school leadership as an interim headteacher and education consultant.
This article was written in response to a question from the headteacher of a large primary school in London.
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