News Page - Snow Watch
With various forecasts indicating a risk of snow over the coming weeks,
there are a number of actions which take place in preparation, and also
in response to potential risks. There are always a number of complex considerations
ahead of decision-making regarding any school closure. We endeavour to
keep the school open to educate our children, taking into account a number
of factors which we have outlined below:
- We ask Harrow Council to ensure that gritting will happen on roads and
pavements to enable families to get onto the site – you could email the
- We check the weather forecast regularly, looking at the percentage chance
of snow on the BBC
- We regularly service and check school boilers and heating systems
- We regularly review stock levels of grit
- We check the quality of snow shovels to ensure we can deal with snow clearing
- We ask staff to rehearse alternative ways to get to school if snow hampers
the usual method
- The school Leadership Team, Premises Team and other staff volunteers are
on standby to get to school from 6am to see how quickly we can clear safe
pathways and risk assess the site
- Throughout, we send parents/carers texts and emails as necessary also
updates on Open Check.
- Local Primary Headteachers communicate frequently to share conditions
near their schools
CONSIDERATIONS IN SEVERE WEATHER:
- Can a sufficient number of teachers get into school so that we can teach?
- Our staff have children in school - can they arrange childcare for them
in case their school closes?
- Can sufficient support staff get into school for first aid, catering,
supervision and SEN provision?
- Can we, as Headteachers with responsibility for staff as well as children,
feel confident all our staff can get home again safely if the weather is
unpredictable? (Some staff live a far distance from the school and rely
on the tube or motorways or live around Hertfordshire)
- If we had to evacuate the building, is there a safe non-icy space for
children to safely wait, acknowledging the weather conditions as they may
be outdoors for some time and cannot stop to grab coats etc? Is this more
of a risk?
- Can emergency services access the school site? Ambulance? Fire Brigade?
- Are the surrounding public roads and pavements safe enough to enable children
to safely get to the site and leave the site?
- Can we clear safe pathways on-site, to enable parents/carers and children
to enter the site and leave the site?
- What are the travel conditions in the local area? Has the Met Office recommended
to avoid driving?
- Can we get deliveries in for food so children can have lunches, or milk,
- Is the heating and hot water functioning as normal?
- If we close, how will working parents/carers arrange childcare?
Whatever decision we make, it is never taken lightly. Our options are:
- Close a day in advance and hope the forecast was right
- Decide on the morning after 7.30am at the latest, when we have assessed
the school site
- Open as normal, but use “early closure” if the weather seems to change
Parents phoning up insisting a decision is made “NOW” is not helpful!
We are not the weather gurus!
In the past, our office team have taken dozens of calls from parents/carers
asking for more information before the time we said we would update families.
If we say we will let you know by a specific time, we will! Clogging phone
lines is not helpful! We also keep the school’s Open Check updated, the
link can he found on our Homepage on our website.
To clarify some myths:
- We would not text at a specific time to say collect your child NOW unless
it was an absolute emergency such as a fire or other critical incident.
We know it takes time for you to make plans. We understand!
- We aim to give at least 1½ hours notice ahead of an early school closure
or more if we can!
- We cannot allow every parent/carer wanting “special treatment” coming
to pick up their child earlier than everyone else as it is convenient for
their plans to happen!
Sometimes we will make the perfect judgment call, sometimes it will be
wrong. No one can truly predict the weather with 100% accuracy or the impact
Please work with us, support our decisions and if things are not perfect,
know that we have done all we can to make the best decision possible with
the information we have, for the 400+ children, over 60 staff and over
700+ parents/carers across our two schools!
As soon as we can confirm a change to any normal school day plan, we will
let you know!
What we ask now, is that if you are a working parent/carer or a parent/carer
with medical needs, or would find childcare difficult if school was closed/closed
early, you have made contingency plans NOW on how your child will be collected/looked
after – whether this is speaking to your employer in advance, speaking
to other parents and asking them to help, speaking to relatives etc. We
all need to plan ahead. Living in the UK, the weather is varied – let’s
be prepared !