Emergency planning and response - guidance

29 November 2022

It is really important you go through this guidance with great care. 
It pertains to all educational and childcare settings and the link includes guidance on schools’ critical incident planning. The guidance includes reference to the following:
Incidents include:
  • public health incidents (for example, a significant infectious disease incident)
  • severe weather (for example, extreme heat, flooding, storms or snow)
  • serious injury to a child, learner, student or member of staff (for example, transport accident)
  • significant damage to property (for example, fire, accidental damage)
  • criminal activity (for example, bomb threat, anti-social or threatening attack, intruder, cyber security attack)
  • the effects of a disaster in the local community
  • loss of water or utilities
A good plan should cover:
  • roles and responsibilities
  • when and how to seek advice should it be needed
  • details on the types of steps that might be taken in the event of an emergency and what actions should be taken to enact them quickly
  • how to ensure every child, learner or student receives the quantity and quality of education and care to which they are normally entitled, including through remote means where appropriate
  • support for the wellbeing of staff, children, learners and students
  • who should be informed (for example, the local authority, insurers, landlords, CIW)
  • how changes will be communicated to children, learners, students, parents, carers and staff, with any timescales of returning to usual if possible
  • how to respond if advice is not accepted
The plan should also include emergency procedures for:
  • extended services (for example, for before and after school activity clubs run by the school)
  • open days, transition or taster days
  • live performances (including with animals) with an audience
  • visitors
  • trips outside of the setting
Planning needs to include risk assessments, planning and training.
This is part of the guidance and will need careful reading. This document’s intention is to ensure that:
“…high-quality, face-to-face learning is maintained for all children and young people, whenever this is possible. Any disruptions to learning should be the last resort and only happen in exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances would include where providing face-to-face learning would be contrary to the Welsh Government and/or UK Government guidance or where a health and safety or safeguarding risk has been identified for some or all learners within a school.
The document sets out learning hours expected where there are closures as well as school expectations relating to groups of learners. There is a great deal of emphasis on professional learning to ensure that a digital provision can kick in where continuity of learning is interrupted. Roles and responsibilities of leaders, governors and local authorities are set out here too.
ASCL Cymru has been very vocal in pointing out the huge additional workload that these documents will cause and there has been a great deal of discussion behind the scenes on this one.

Please make sure your local authority is helping you with this, and point out that the document states that:
“… every school’s learning continuity plan is signed off by the local authority.”

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