A school emergency is every teacher's and parent’s nightmare. But there is a lot you can do to help make sure things run as smoothly as possible.
Before a school emergency happens
For parents: all schools have plans to cope with local emergencies and staff do all they can to look after the pupils. You can find out more about school emergency planning. Make sure that all your contact details are kept up-to-date should an emergency occur – and that the school has full knowledge of any individual requirements your child or children may have.
For teachers: the Teachernet resource explains the process and provides tools to use in writing an emergency plan and communicating it to everyone involved.
You’ll need to talk to your local authority to see how your school fits into your local emergency plan. This will have been drawn up with the emergency services and includes things like agreed responses, roles and responsibilities. You should also talk to your local emergency services personnel.
You’ll then need to think about what could go wrong, how likely it is to happen, how you can reduce the chance that it will and how you can mitigate the consequences if it does. Also, who should be assigned roles, such as calming frightened children or handling the media?
When a school emergency happens
Parents: during an emergency, your first instinct will be to go to the school, but it may not wise or safe to do so. Tune in to your local radio station for advice and for details of the arrangements your council has made for letting parents know when to collect their children. Call the school or the council to see how parents can best co-operate.
Teachers: during an emergency, roles should be clear from the emergency plan. Try to remain calm and organised so that the children feel secure. Make sure you know what to do and give clear and simple instructions to those in your care.
After a school emergency
After the event, make sure you spend some time explaining what happened clearly and calmly to the students in your care and to parents; and explain that the school has plans to ensure their safety. Consider whether any counselling is needed for anyone involved.