Communicating with parents
When something happens it is important that there is good communication with parents. Schools should have parents' contact details in case they need to be contacted in an emergency. These should of course be regularly checked and kept absolutely up to date, and include home, work and mobile numbers where people have them.
Something to think about when drawing up an emergency management plan is how you are going to communicate with parents in the event of an incident.
Having procedures in place will help manage the situation more effectively and will help to reassure parents and pupils. Incidents that might arise are where the running of the school may be affected (involving fire, flood, health and safety issues) or where there has been a serious incident at or near the school, or on an organised activity. Different levels of urgency and sensitivity will arise depending on the nature of the incident.
Once your plan is agreed, it will give parents confidence if they are told what arrangements are in place and that they will be contacted by the school if an emergency does happen. This may also help encourage them to let the school know if their contact details change. Giving parents such confidence may also help discourage them from inundating the school with panic calls if they hear something on the radio or elsewhere.
The other important route by which parents get information about what has happened at school is through their children. They may hear a range of colourful and inaccurate versions about any incident so communicating simply and honestly with pupils is very important too.
Thinking about procedures may also help identify any training needs for staff in knowing how to communicate effectively with parents in possibly stressful circumstances.
A further issue to consider is making sure parents know the place where you would take their children to if the school had to be evacuated for any reason. Your emergency plan should include arrangements for alternative accommodation to which you can transfer in an emergency.
You should also be aware whether, in an emergency, there is a possibility
that your school could be requisitioned as an evacuation centre for
use by refugees from outside the area. You may want to discuss this
with your LEA.
The advice contained on this site should not be taken as an authoritative interpretation of the law.
That is a matter for the courts.