Adverse Weather Conditions Protocols

Southgate School will always endeavour to open during adverse weather.  However, on the rare occasion that a decision is made to close the school due to adverse weather conditions this is a decision that is not taken lightly and is based on a number of factors to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

Whilst on occasions main roads (priority routes) are gritted and traffic and pedestrians are able to move freely, Sussex Way and surrounding residential streets are not on the Local Authority priority routes and are therefore not gritted.

When deciding on whether the site and surrounding areas are safe for the school to open the following factors are taken into account:-

Can students travel to school safely? In the case of secondary schools in particular, children may have to travel many miles. If the public transport system has ceased due to adverse weather students are limited in their options to arrive at school safely.  Should the school be unable to open, parents will be informed by text message and a message will be also be placed on our website.

Can students travel home safely? The weather may be fine in the morning, but if severe weather is expected to prevent a return journey, the school may decide to close early to allow students to travel home safely.  If this is the case, parents will be informed by text message and a message will also be placed on our website.

Can staff travel to school safely? Often, staff live a considerable distance from where they work.  Staff/student ratios are taken into account when deciding whether to open or close the school.  Many staff have their own children and should their children’s school close this will have an impact on staffing numbers for Southgate School.

The safety of the site for students and staff?  Whilst all attempts will be made to grit the school prior to snowfall in order for the grit to be effective it only becomes active when it is 'trafficked'.  Where streets or properties sit idle all night or the occasional person walks on it, it's much harder for the grit to become active therefore leaving the site unsafe for students and staff.

Should snow fall during the school day, a decision will be made in accordance with the factors above on whether students should be dismissed early to allow safe travel home.  Should it become necessary to dismiss students before the end of the school day, a text message will be sent to parents.

Following any significant overnight snowfall a decision may be made for a delayed start of the school day to allow our site team to ensure the site is safe for students.  The school may also decide to open for certain year groups based on staff/student ratios.  Again, should this course of action need to take place, parents will receive a text message.

Reopening of the school after a closure – parents will be alerted by text message when the school is safe to reopen.  Please also refer to our website which will be updated regularly.

The health and safety of our students and staff is paramount.