Occasionally, we may need to close the school at short notice. This will commonly happen in the event of bad weather such as snow or very heavy rain but may be because of some other unforeseen event. Whilst we will always do our best to keep the school open, sometimes, closing for a short period is the right decision to ensure the safety of students, staff and parents.
Whenever we need to close the school, we will always try to inform you as early as possible. Where possible, this will be the day before the closure at the latest but it may be that we are caught out by the weather and take a decision to close the school early in the morning. We will always endeavour to make a decision before 7.15am in the morning.
We will inform you of the decision to close the school in the following ways…
- A text message and/or email; please help us by making sure we always have your latest mobile number.
- A message on the homepage of our website
- A message on the School Closures section of the Cumbria County Council website
- A message on our Facebook Page which will be removed after the closure to avoid confusion
- A message on local radio stations
What factors do we take in to account when making the decision to close?
- Most importantly, the safety of everyone connected with The Lakes School: students, staff, parents and visitors.
- Travel conditions for staff, students and parents. Many of our staff and students travel from a great distance around the county and can be affected by isolated weather conditions which will affect their ability to travel safely.
- The likelihood of frequent traffic incidents causing delays to travel.
- The safety of the school site and the risk it presents to students, staff, parents and visitors.
- Weather forecasts and the likelihood of students, staff, parents and visitors being adversely affected by attempting to travel home.
- Staffing and our ability to guarantee a safe staffing ratio for the students.
- Staffing and our ability to guarantee a valuable learning experience for the students.
- Our ability to meet the basic needs of staff, students and visitors through the provision of meals, warmth, toileting facilities and hot water.
We will always try to avoid closing the school during the day as we know that this can cause issues for parents who may not be able to ensure that their child is cared for. It is better for us to close the school and let parents know early than to contact parents during the day as this can present a safeguarding risk.
How do we make the decision to close the school?
- The Headteacher, Ms Rainey, is ultimately responsible for the safety of all members of The Lakes School community and will always decide to close the school if there is the potential for people to be put at risk of harm by keeping the school open.
- Where school closure may be necessary due to weather conditions, Ms Rainey will liaise with staff from around the county to assess the weather and travel conditions and to make an assessment of how safe it is for staff, students and parents to travel.
- Where necessary, Ms Rainey will consult with senior staff and the Chair of Governors, Mr B. Smith, to reach a decision about closing the school.
- Whilst there is no formula for making the decision to close the school, the decision to close is never taken lightly and is always taken in the best interests of keeping people safe.
What happens when the school closes during the normal school day?
We would always try to avoid closing the school whilst the students are present. We would always aim to notify parents before the start of the school day. However, on rare occasions, we may need to take the decision to close the school whilst it is in session. This could be for a number of reasons including a power cut, boiler failure, unexpected weather conditions or other issue which may affect the health and well-being of staff, students and parents.
Typically, we will follow this process when we have to close the school and ensure that students make their way home safely.
- Once the decision to close the school has been made, we will contact the bus and taxi companies, notify them that we need to close and ask them to come to school at an agreed time to collect students.
- We will send InTouch messages to parents and key contacts to inform everyone of our need to close.
- We will share a message on our school Facebook page.
- We will put a message on the Cumbria County Council School Closure page.
- We will contact local radio stations.
- As the school buses start to arrive, identified staff visit classrooms to provide the message to students that we need to close the school and to explain the system for getting home safely. Students who are not able to access a safe route home will be encouraged to gather in the dining area where staff will help them make arrangements to get home safely.
We will not let any students leave the school site without a clear understanding that they have a safe method of getting home and also safe home circumstances to return to. We hope that school closure remains a rare occurrence and would like to thank parents for your understanding whenever we do need to close the school.