In times of severe weather conditions, the safety of pupils is the first consideration.
It is the responsibility of parents or carers to decide if a pupil should attempt to travel to school, by transport or on foot, in adverse weather conditions. The Council encourages full attendance at school but in severe weather conditions the safety of pupils is much more important. Parents and pupils are often concerned that important examinations may be missed, but this should not over-ride good judgement. Schools normally make alternative arrangements for missed examinations.
For all pupils who live within the school area:
It is unusual for the school to close – parents should assume that the school is open unless otherwise advised by the media, as detailed in this letter.
For pupils using school transport:
Please note that the final decision on whether it is safe to operate rests with the driver of the school transport vehicle. Therefore there may be occasions on which a school is open but some routes, or parts of routes, are unable to operate.
In extreme circumstances, it may be inadvisable to allow pupils to set out from home.
Please tell your children how long they should wait at the pick-up point for their transport. This will depend on the prevailing weather conditions and the availability of shelter at the pick-up point. During adverse weather conditions no pupil is expected to wait longer than twenty minutes past the normal pick-up time.
Morning journeys may be delayed by an hour if road conditions are unsafe at the normal journey time but have improved within the hour. Before pupils return to a pick up point parents should check the school’s telephone information line for updated messages from their school’s Head teacher. Please note that for some routes the transport operator may contact the parent directly.
If during the school day the weather deteriorates sufficiently to cause concern about conditions, parents should contact the school in order to discuss either early release of pupils or alternative emergency arrangements.
Parents should note the different conditions under which drivers of contract vehicles and public service vehicles operate.
- Drivers of contract vehicles (for this school, specially contracted taxis) are advised that they should not drop off children where there is any doubt about their reaching home or some other acceptable place of shelter. In most cases, this should not be a problem since pupils are normally conveyed directly to the home.
- Drivers of public service vehicles, however, must travel by specified routes in accordance with scheduled time-tables and cannot make special provision for individual needs. Both the Foyers and Whitebridge buses fall into this category. However in the event of an accident or breakdown we have been assured that the drivers can make contact with the school and all members of the Senior Management Team.
Parents should make every effort to have the pupils met at the drop-off point if prevailing conditions so dictate. Where parents are sufficiently concerned about conditions at ‘drop-off’ points, they should contact the school as early as possible.
The most difficult situation to deal with is one where pupils have to be sent home early because of weather deterioration during the school day. In this circumstance we rely on advice from the bus company for the Foyers and Whitebridge buses. However, the difficulty is letting parents know of this. We will endeavour to update our school sites with information and also encourage the pupils to contact home. We would advise you to regularly check our school website, facebook and twitter pages.
There is no objection to parents contacting the school or the bus company to enquire about the likelihood of pupils being sent home early if weather conditions appear sufficiently threatening.
As per Highland Council guidelines we are required to ask parents to advise the school of an alternative address, as close as possible to the school, which may be used by their children in extreme weather conditions.
Local Radio Stations will issue news and weather bulletins on traffic conditions and school closures. Whilst it is recognised that such transmissions may not cover all households, and may be subject to re-scheduling, they will be helpful to many families. Parents are therefore advised to remain ‘tuned in’ to ongoing road, weather or school information updates.
Radio Stations request that, since telephone lines are busy at such times, parents should not telephone in for advice but listen to appropriate broadcasts.
BBC Radio Highland:
6.30 a.m. 7.30 a.m. 8.30 a.m. 12.30 p.m. 4.30 p.m. 5.30 p.m.
In extreme conditions Radio Highland will interrupt Radio Scotland transmissions, usually on the hour, to carry emergency bulletins.
Moray Firth Radio:
Local news on the hour from 6am – 6pm
In severe conditions normal programmes will be interrupted to carry emergency bulletins.
Telephone Information Service
Schools also have a dial-in service if there is a risk of closure due to adverse weather. This allows parents to listen to a recorded message from the school, normally from the Rector. This service is in addition to the other methods of giving out information, such as radio broadcasts school website, Facebook and Twitter.
How to use the service:
- Dial Highland Council’s access number 0800 564 2272
- Now enter the school’s pin number 04 1100
- You have two attempts to enter the pin number and you will be disconnected after a second failed attempt. If this happens, check the number and redial. If you still have a problem check with the school.
- You will now hear the school’s name. Ensure that this is correct before going on.
- You will now be taken to the MAIN MENU where you will be given options:-
- Press 1 to hear your school’s message about the adverse weather for example whether or not the school is to close or if transport arrangements have been affected.
Press 4 to enter the pin number for another school within the authority. Parents may have children who attend different schools. This option allows you to move from one school’s message service to another without having to dial in again.