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Safeguarding our Children - Lockdown

With today’s world seeming increasingly unsafe, there is call for all schools to have a concrete protocol to be used in the event of a dangerous event happening on or near the premises.

Lockdown could be triggered if there is an urgent imminent threat, or as a precaution because of a threat in the vicinity.

A Partial Lockdown, also known as invacuation, is the process of getting everybody inside and safe, and securing the building. In most cases, pupils will be able to stay in their classroom and the school day can continue as normal, just with everyone staying indoors. This might be required if:

• There is local air pollution due to a nearby fire or chemical release (in this event keep windows closed). • There is a dangerous animal (usually a dog) in the grounds.

• There is an incident or civil disturbance in the area that might affect the school.

In the event of a Full Lockdown, everyone on the premises - staff, pupils and visitors are moved inside the building, away from the urgent or imminent danger and to a place where they can’t be seen from outside the building. The building is secured, occupied room doors and windows must be shut and locked, and the blinds or curtains drawn, with any lighting turned off.

A Full Lockdown might be implemented if:

• there is a terror incident or other unprompted attack.

• there is an aggrieved, disturbed or intoxicated person trying to gain access to the school (this could be a parent or a stranger).

• there is an intruder on the site.

• there is an internal threat from a pupil.

It is important to practise Lockdown procedures with pupils, in the same way that we undertake fire drills. It’s natural to worry that younger children may be alarmed by practising Lockdown Drills, but we make every effort not to frighten them. We keep the procedure simple, using terminology they are used to hearing day to day. Depending on the nature of the threat, children may be told to hide under their tables.

We would like to reassure parents that our lockdown drills are successful and run smoothly with little disruption to the pupils. We practice them with pupils each term.

When it’s not a drill…(it could really happen).

It is important that parents and carers know that in the event of a real Lockdown:

  • Do not try to contact the school - Calling the school could tie up telephone lines that are needed for contacting emergency services.

  • Do not come to school – children will not be released to you during a Lockdown. This could interfere with the emergency services access to school and may put them or others in danger.

  • The school will contact parents/carers when it is safe to come to collect your children.

  • Refrain from using social media during the incident

Following a spate of bomb hoaxes/threats made to two hospitals and one school in the surrounding Police force area by school age children, Assistant Chief Constable Bell has asked for this message to be shared with schools so that we can advise parents of the consequences of such actions.

Reporting a false bomb threat is treated extremely seriously and the wider implications of taking away integral resources for genuine requests. Bomb hoaxes can understandably alarm parents, carers other students and the wider community. West Midlands Police treat all reports of this nature extremely seriously, and anyone caught committing such an offence will be dealt with robustly. Making a false report could lead to a fine, a conviction for wasting police time or even a prison sentence for the more serious offence of perverting the course of justice. The offence carries a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment.

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