It may be necessary, occasionally, to close the school at short notice and send the pupils home, for example, in exceptionally bad weather or if the electricity or heating faults. If parents are not regularly at home during school hours, they should always make arrangements to have someone available to receive their children should such an emergency occur. The school will ask each parent at the point of enrolment to provide the address and/or telephone number of a parson who can be contacted in these circumstances. Please ensure this information is kept updated and notify the school of any changes.
Parents should also feel free to contact the school if they are concerned about the safety of the children because of severe weather conditions and are free to call for them at any time.
There are occasions when it is necessary for the school to remain closed or to close early. Most commonly this is a result of severe weather conditions in winter, particularly snow and ice, although occasionally the school can be affected by power failure or disruption to the water supply. A decision to remain closed or to close early is never taken lightly and in all circumstances, the health and welfare of pupils is the primary consideration.
A decision regarding non-opening has to be taken very early in the morning (0700-0800) before school buses set out to uplift pupils, and the non-opening of the school will be broadcast on local radio. If a decision is taken to close early, parents/guardians will be informed through the school’s GroupCall messaging system, which will give a voicemail alert of that decision. However, no system is failsafe and we do expect pupils to let their class teacher or the office staff know if they are unable to go home due to lack of adult supervision. Staff will get in touch with the emergency contacts given on the Annual Pupil Update form to make alternative arrangements.
The decision as to whether a pupil should attempt to travel to school in adverse weather conditions, whether by transport or on foot, lies with parents or carers. While recognising that education should be interrupted as little as possible, the Education Authority accepts that in severe weather conditions, pupil safety is paramount. Where there is any doubt, the pupil should remain at home. The full policy is on our website.
Information on unplanned closures and road / weather conditions in the local area will also be available to parents on the Council website: www.cne-siar.gov.uk
In certain conditions, particularly high winds from a westerly direction, it may not be possible for buses to cross the Scalpay Bridge. Below is a note of the operational protocol agreed between CnES Technical Services and Hebridean Transport to be applied when high winds affect vehicle movements on the bridge.
- If the message reads “High Winds Slow” then the bus may proceed to cross the bridge at reduced speed with caution.
- If the message reads “Bridge Closed to High Vehicles” then the driver of the vehicle must use his discretion to decide if it is safe to cross.
- If the message reads “High Winds Bridge Closed” arrangements will be made for pupils to remain in school, until it is safe for them to travel home.
If the bus is unable to cross in the morning to collect pupils then the driver of the vehicle must inform the bus operator, who will in turn advise the school and a contact in Scalpay (telephone 01859 540 309) that the bus will not be collecting pupils.
If in the afternoon the bus has collected the pupils from Sir E Scott and is unable to cross the bridge then the driver of the bus must return the pupils to the school and alternative arrangements must be made for their transport when conditions improve.
None of the foregoing affects the rights of parents to make alternative arrangements for transporting children to and from school when weather prevents buses from operating normally.