Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 1st December 2011
Title of Item/Report
Managing a School Emergency or Critical Incident
Record of the Decision
Members considered a report relating to draft guidance prepared for schools on responding and managing low level emergencies and/or critical incidents.

Cabinet recognised that parents and carers trusted schools and providers to keep their children and young people safe. Thanks to the efforts of staff and governors, schools normally remained a safe haven for children but there were occasions when an emergency or a critical incident could disrupt the smooth running of a school. Schools could become involved in an emergency or critical incident at any time and at such times a Headteacher was often required to operate in a complex circumstance, of which s(he) may have had no previous experience. This may, or may not, involve the closure of a school.

Members were provided with a copy of draft guidance which would provide schools with the information they needed to respond to school emergencies and critical incidents. It included a section dedicated to school closures due to adverse weather conditions. The guidance clearly stated that, with regard to school closures, for any reason, the decision as to whether to close must be for headteachers to make. It was proposed that this document be circulated to all headteachers and principals of Stockton schools and academies and to the chairs of governing bodies.

Cabinet discussed issues surrounding school closures, due to adverse weather conditions, and noted that plans were in place to communicate closures and transport issues widely. Members queried the typical reasons for closure, that had been cited by schools in the past and asked for assurances that schools had emergency plans in place.

Members noted that a report would come back to Cabinet relating to this matter and it would pick up the issues raised by members.


1. the draft guidance and the role of the local authority set out within it be noted.

2. the guidance be circulated to schools and academies.
Reasons for the Decision
The Council was committed to supporting headteachers in dealing with a low level emergency or critical incident, and where necessary, providing a co-ordinating and communication role. This reflected the importance placed upon the safety of children and young people, the smooth and effective running of local services and the Council's responsibilities in relation to communicating information to the residents of Stockton.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Councillor Beall declared a personal non prejudicial interest in the item entitled Managing a school emergency or critical incident as he was a governor of Roseworth School.
Details of any Dispensations
Not applicable
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight on Monday 12 December 2011

Date of Publication: 06 December 2011

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