Possible School Closure

Last year there were occasions where I had to close the school before the scheduled start of the day and once during school session time, due to adverse weather conditions. As we are now in the winter period, I wish to clarify our procedures.

It will always be my intention to make an early and timely decision before the start of the school day where this is possible. I will always attempt to prevent a situation where staff and students are travelling in difficult conditions, which often can be unpredictable. Decisions such as these are sometimes not easy, as one is relying on weather forecasts and predictions, which of course can change dramatically.

I will make the decision to close the school if one or more of the following conditions apply:

•Insufficient staff are able to attend work, due to travel conditions. It should always be borne in mind that the majority of staff do not live locally;

•Conditions on site are dangerous and hazardous;

•Conditions are anticipated to later become too hazardous for travel.

Closure - Before the start of day

If the weather pattern is absolute the night before and it is clear that school cannot open, I will make the decision during the evening, so that students and staff do not attempt to travel. Therefore, in this event, the school website is the best way to check this.

Alternatively, in the event of snow overnight, I will review the situation with my ‘Premises officer’ who will be on site; and then make a decision, which will be displayed on our website scrolling banner by 8.00am. Please remember to refresh this webpage (by clicking the refresh icon or pressing F5) at that time to make sure the information is current.

We also inform local radio stations, who announce school closures as they receive information.  In addition, our school answerphone will be updated (01243 512399). The radio stations that we contact are: BBC Sussex, Spirit FM and Wave 105.

The school also informs: West Sussex LA, who list school closures on their website – www.westsussex.gov.uk

Please go to ‘Schools (ages 4-16)’ and click on ‘Emergency School Closures’. Please keep checking these websites, as there is sometimes a delay in uploading information.
Parents/Carers who have supplied us with an email address will receive an email from the school. Past experience has shown that emails in this situation can be seriously delayed, so we consider our website to be the most effective mode of communication.

Emergency Closure – During the day

An emergency closure procedure comes into effect in the event of severe weather such as snow, or flooding, or any other event such as loss of water, heating or power, which may lead to an early closure during the day.

My main priority is the safety of students and staff on site, to safely evacuate all students and staff and to keep parents/carers informed.

In this eventuality, I will take advice from the LA and transport providers, in addition to liaising with other local Headteachers. If I make a decision to close the school, the Local Authority and local radio stations are informed. Information will be posted on our website and an email will be sent to all parents/carers who have provided the school with contact details.

What you need to do now

All parents and carers need to make sure that we have the correct email address and mobile number, so that messages can be received from the school. Should you wish to update your email address and phone numbers please email office@birdhamprimary.co.uk including your name and also your child’s name in the email.

Finally, when there are adverse weather conditions, I would like to ask that parents and carers stay vigilant - importantly please check the school website and listen to your local radio station. In addition, please make sure your child has a good breakfast, and wears a warm coat, hat and gloves.

Thank you very much for your support.


Correct as at January 2019


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