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Emergency Information

How do we decide when to close and when to open in bad weather?

Some parents have asked how we make the decision to close and I hope that this will help you to understand the process. This section is based on the article “How schools decide on closures” story from the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8446338.stm

The default position is to for the school to stay open whenever this is possible. The decision to close a school is taken usually by the head teacher, probably in consultation with other members of the school's leadership team and the chair of governors. At Matthew Arnold School we aim to make the decision as early as possible, using the information we have available. The decision is then communicated to the school community using the school website and the local radio stations.

The key issue is the safety of the pupils, which can be affected by different factors:

1. Can pupils get to school? 

If it is too risky to travel, it is better that students stay at home and make use of the work available on the website.

2. Can pupils get home?

As above

3. Is the site safe?

“Adjacent schools may take different views on the slippery conditions if, say, one has a very sloping site”. This point is particularly relevant for Matthew Arnold School as we are on a hill, and have a sloping site.

4. Can the staff get there? 

Many staff (both teachers and our support and admin staff) live a considerable distance from where the school. We need to ensure that we have sufficient adults in school to supervise the students and our aim is, of course, to run a normal timetable with students actively learning rather than simply to have students in school being supervised.

Local radio stations broadcast lists of school closures:

BBC Radio Oxford FM 95.2

Heart FM 102.9 and 97.4

Jack FM 106.8 and FM107.9

Please do not telephone the radio stations; they will broadcast the list of school closures frequently early each morning, as the need arises.

The radio station websites also show lists of school closures and the County Council website is updated regularly during normal working hours. The Oxford Mail website is also keeps an up-to-date list of school closures.

Katherine Ryan

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