Information about school closures during severe weather
Thank you to all the schools who contact us about closures during severe weather.
Schools have clear guidance on both school closures due to severe weather and informing parents and guardians.
We understand that school closures pose an inconvenience to parents, but the safety of pupils, staff and visitors is of paramount importance.
Closing a school is never an easy option. They should remain open wherever possible, with closure always considered as the last resort and every effort made to give adequate notice of closures to parents and guardians.
Before making the decision to close, headteachers undertake a rigorous risk assessment and decide if there is significant risk of severe injury, ill health or inability to comply with relevant legislation.
A decision is taken on the basis of weather forecasts and on-the-spot observations and this is why closures are often decided on the morning itself. Headteachers then inform local radio stations and the council which highlights closures on this web page.
Although concerns have been raised that schools may be more liable for prosecution if they choose to stay open during severe weather and an incident occurs, headteachers base decisions to close on a risk assessment and not on the fear of compensation claims. As long as schools do what is reasonable to ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff it is unlikely that the school would be found negligent.
Decisions about school closures in the event of strike action are made by the headteachers and governors of individual schools, not the council. The council strongly encourages all schools to stay open in the event of a strike if at all possible, and headteachers always seek to keep their schools open if they can.
However, when a strike occurs headteachers and governors must make careful management decisions about whether there will be sufficient staff on site to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all the children.
A decision to close is never taken lightly.