Once again we have to prepare for the possibility of snow disruption this winter, although we really hope this will not be the case.
We have had a planning meeting with both schools and have reviewed the Snow Plan with opening our schools on a safe site as our key objective.
We are one of Hampshire’s largest sites and this presents us with problems not experienced by our colleagues in smaller schools and nurseries. With more than 680 pupils between both schools, we have pedestrian footfall in excess of 1000 each morning and afternoon. We are also a site with long pathways and multiple access routes. When we experience ice or snow, our first priority is to assess if we can make the site safe enough for adults and children to walk to the school buildings. Although we vigilantly keep up-to-date with forecasts and weather warnings, the snow and ice conditions can be quite localised with freezing temperatures affecting some areas of town and not others. What appears to be ‘slushy’ snow can be compacted very quickly on frozen ground when such large numbers are walking on it. When we have assessed if the site can be made safe, we still have to ensure enough staff can get in to meet appropriate adult: child ratios. With staff living as far away as Southampton and Salisbury, journeys must be safely achievable. When we are assured we have enough staff and we can make pathways accessible, we will open.
In the event of snow/ice we will aim to clear a single route from Upper Drove and Ashfield Road into the school buildings. This means the other paths e.g. from the bottom of the field, will be closed.
When we have had snow in the last few years the communication system has worked well. The following is a reminder of the procedure. Please cut this out and put it somewhere safe:
1) Hampshire County Council website will be updated with the latest news across the area www.hants.gov.uk/education/schoolclosures
3) Tucasi Mail: We will send out a text message / email via Tucasi mail. Obviously if the snow is widespread there are many thousands of schools using the same network so it can take longer than usual for messages to get through. If you have not registered for this service but would like to do so then please contact the office.
4) Telephone: A message will be left on the school phone as soon as possible, however, with limited lines available the websites should be the first place to check.
As in previous years, we may decide to have a staggered opening with pupils being allowed to arrive anytime up to 10am. This allows those from further away to get here safely but also spreads the amount of traffic in and around the site. We will always try to take a decision as early as possible and would hope to inform you by 7:30am in the morning, if we are forced to close.
We will do everything we can to remain open, closing a school is never a decision taken lightly.
See full Snow Procedures letter - click below