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Wintery Weather

The policy for all schools in Central Bedfordshire is to remain open whenever possible, the school has a duty to care for the safety of children and staff.  When we receive a snow forecast or if snow is falling, I speak to the heads of local schools and may, in consultation with them make a decision to close the school. This is always a very difficult decision and one I only take in the event of extreme weather where conditions are so severe that it is dangerous for children and staff to travel safely to, or from, school.  The three Ampthill schools in the Alameda pyramid - Alameda, Firs, Maulden and Russell - have together agreed the schools’ closure procedures and in most cases, all schools would adopt a consistent approach as we appreciate that this is more convenient for parents. It is, however, the case on some occasions that the weather may affect the sites journeys of staff differently between the schools and so different conclusions on opening may be reached.

Scenario One.  Extreme weather conditions at the start of the school day.

Where possible, a joint decision will be taken on whether to close or not. (Sometimes the individual situation for the different schools may make a joint decision impossible). Official announcements will be made once a decision has been taken (see below for details of how we will tell you this).

Unless you are advised that the school is closed by one of the approved channels identified below, please ensure your child is sent to school as normal, although we do respect your decision should you feel it is unsafe for you to travel, particularly if you are travelling from an out of catchment area.

We will endeavour to inform parents of a school closure as early as possible and before 8:00 am. I appreciate that some parents have said that they would like to know earlier or even the night before. On some occasions, this is possible, but I must emphasize the amount of consultation that is needed, both between myself and our site agent, governors and the local schools which, in order to try to make the right decision, and to open the school if possible, means that an earlier announcement is not always possible.

Scenario Two.  Closure during the school day.

If insufficient numbers of staff report to school and the school is unable to operate safely, then it may be necessary to contact parents, so that all or a sizeable majority of children can be sent home.

If the weather deteriorates significantly during the day, Headteachers from the three schools will consult one another and if possible, reach a joint decision on whether to stay open or close. Again, differences in individual circumstances may mean that different decisions are taken for the three schools. Official announcements will be made once the decision has been taken.

There are other scenarios which could lead to a school closure e.g. fire, flood, failures of heating/water systems etc. which might be individual to one school and in this event, the same methods of informing parents would be followed.

The agreed methods of informing parents are:

  • School website message: www.alamedamiddleschool.org.uk
  • Text from School: Additionally, parents who have provided us with an up to date mobile phone number will receive a text from school (please be aware that sometimes there can be a delay with this at busy times).
  • Central Bedfordshire School Open Status web page: The school will update the SOS system so that parents can check online to see if the school is open or closed.

PLEASE TRY TO AVOID TELEPHONING OR EMAILING SCHOOL TO SEE IF IT IS OPEN.  THIS WILL JUST SLOW COMMUNICATION DOWN.  THANK YOU.

To join the CBC SOS service:

Go to: https://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/webApps/SOS

Click on ‘Register for updates’ and fill in the text boxes.

Click on ‘Submit’.

You will then receive an email which contains ‘activation’ information which is needed on the first occasion only.

This will ensure you receive an email alert about school closures.

As I have previously said, we will do our very best to keep the school open if it is safe and possible to do so.  In the event that we do open but conditions are snowy/icy, please be aware that the main pathway will be cleared as a priority so it will be safest to access the school site this way. Whilst we always encourage attendance I am aware that some pupils may travel to school on different routes which parents do not consider safe.  In these cases, I would always respect your judgement and we would authorise absences where it was considered unsafe to travel.

Thank you for your on-going support.  It is very much appreciated.

Yours sincerely

Miss M Warner