Very occasionally it is necessary to close the school, usually due to extreme weather conditions. If this should happen, we operate a well-practised, orderly and rapid procedure to send students home by the safest and easiest route.
Making the decision to close the school
A decision to close the school is usually taken in association with the bus operators who will advise on the road conditions, the priority being the safety of students whilst travelling and whilst on site.
The procedure to dismiss students
The procedure to dismiss students is practised so students will be familiar with the process. Upon the decision to close the school, students will gather their belongings and proceed to a room previously allocated to their route home. Registers are taken, recording where each student is going.
If a student is not going home, for example if they plan to stay with a friend, then they must notify the member of staff in their room, who will note where they are going and why. They will then be allowed to go to the room for that destination.
Where possible each group will be escorted to their transportation.
During extreme weather conditions, bus routes may not operate as normal. Bus companies may not be able to follow the usual route home, arrange the usual onward connections or arrange transport to outlying villages. Bus drivers are instructed to stay with the children and take responsibility for them if the bus cannot get through.
Students living within walking distance will normally be sent home in groups.
Communicating with parents and carers
If the school is to be closed we will:
- Add a message to the front page of the school website
- Send emails to the parents and carers on our normal email list
- Send a text (SMS) message to the main contact for each student, unless a parent has opted out of this service
- Add a message to Facebook
- Arrange for announcements to be made on Radio Derby, Peak FM, Radio Sheffield and High Peak Radio
These communications will be repeated on each subsequent day of closure.
Difficulty getting into school
In severe weather conditions buses may find it impossible to pick up students in the morning. This will probably mean that there will be no bus at the end of the day or earlier if we have to announce closure. We therefore feel, in extreme weather conditions, if the bus does not arrive it is safer for students to remain at home.
How parents and carers can help
Parents and carers can help the school to achieve a calm and efficient dismissal of students by noting the following helpful tips:
- Do keep us informed of changes to contact details.
- Do make arrangements with your child regarding where he or she would stay if getting home proves impossible - and remind them of this if severe weather is forecast. Bakewell based friends are useful in this circumstance!
- Do make sure your child knows how to get into the house, or stay with neighbours if you're not at home.
- Do check the school website or listen to local radio when severe weather is threatened in order to be aware of action the school is taking.
- Do take great care if driving near to the school; the combination of buses, pedestrians and cars on Shutts Lane in wintry conditions is especially dangerous and we advise against this experience.
- Do check Myvle during periods of school closure - work is set there to keep students gainfully employed when school is closed.
- Don't telephone the school unless the message is very urgent as we need to keep our phone lines free to communicate with bus companies, emergency services etc.
- Don't make alternative arrangements for your child that circumvent the dismissal procedures. This can cause confusion and jeopardises your child’s safe transport home.