YSGOL Y CASTELL
The school plans for snow disruption each Winter.
Our key objective during the worst weather conditions is to open school on a site that is safe and adequately staffed. When we experience ice or snow our first priority is to assess whether we can make the site safe enough for adults and children.
Although we keep up-to-date with forecasts and weather warnings, some snow and ice conditions can be quite localised. What appears to be 'slushy' snow at school can be compacted very quickly on frozen ground when children are walking on it, or there may be severe snow around school but little where you live. We ensure that:
1. The site is safe to access. In the case of the demountable classrooms, children and teachers will only access these room if the Headteacher and Caretaker deem the route across the playground safe. Alternative arrangements may be made for these classes to receive lessons in the main school building.
2. There is a sufficient number of trained staff to safely supervise the children.
3. Meals can be offered. This may include a cold alternative.
4. A member of the leadership team is on site.
The school will aim to stay open to ensure continuity of education and to ensure that families who do not have suitable childcare arrangements in place are not disadvantaged or financially penalised by a decision to close.
DECISION TO CLOSE THE SCHOOL
The decision to close the school can only be taken by the Headteacher. Notification of closure will be through local radio (Radio Carmarthenshire) and the Carmarthenshire County Council website. Arrangements may be very specific and change from day to day.
The senior member of staff on site will organize the staffing allocations irrespective of normal responsibilities. The priorities will be (in order of importance):
1. Safe supervision of the children.
2. Continuity of education for Year 6 and Year 2.
3. Continuity of education for other year groups.
It may not be possible to meet all these priorities. Alternative activities matched to the age of the children and the skills of the staff member will be offered if priority 3 is not possible.
ALTERNATIVES TO CLOSING the school include:
1. Late start
2. Early finish
3. Access for a restricted group of pupils.
4. Arrangements for classes from the demountable to continue in the main school building.
MANAGING THE SITE
When the site is snowy or icy, a designated access route will be identified and kept clear and gritted by the Caretaker…..this will be the usual school entrance path. Thick snow may not be cleared as this can be safer than a cleared route that has frozen. Compacted snow will be cleared by shovel and ice will be gritted.
Outdoor playtimes will only take place if the senior member of staff on site, in consultation with the Headteacher, deem it safe to do so. In icy conditions, children and staff will not be allowed on to the playground. Pupils will be asked to wear suitable clothes and footwear.
When there is a possibility that school may not be able to open an assessment will clarify whether:
• the site be made safe;
• there is sufficient staff to meet appropriate adult:child ratios;
• a meal can be provided at lunchtime.
School will only open when the above criteria are met.
COMMUNICATION TO PARENTS
The school's snow procedure will be displayed inside the school for staff and in the main window for parents.
1. Local radio stations (Carmarthenshire Radio) will provide a list of schools that are closed or partially closed. They will do this very quickly; this is the best way to check if whether or not we are open or closed.
2. Carmarthenshire County Council website will also be updated with the latest news across the area. Their website address is www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk
3. Notification will be made in the case of a staggered opening with pupils being allowed to arrive at anytime up to 10.00am. This allows those from further afield to travel to school safely and spreads the flow of traffic in and around the school site.
4. The headteacher will always try to make a decision as early as possible and would hope to inform you by 7:30am, at the very latest, if the school will be closed.
CLOSING A SCHOOL IS NEVER A DECISION THAT IS TAKEN LIGHTLY: WE WILL DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO REMAIN OPEN.
COMMUNICATION TO STAFF
A communication cascade and text message alert will ensure staff receive the appropriate message. It is each member of staff’s responsibility to provide school with changes of phone numbers.
The easiest communication is via text messages. Senior Management will be contacted immediately when a decision is made to close by the headteacher. The headteacher will contact the admin officer, teachers, Hazel Hughes and Lorraine Mears, the deputy headteacher will contact the Teacher Assistants, Mrs Mears will contact the lunchtime supervisors.