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HCC Advice: Responding to the current terrorism threat 25/05/17

Following the recent attack in Manchester, you will know that the level of threat of international terrorism published by British security services has been revised to ‘Critical’.  It is important that schools reassure staff to ensure they are alert, but not alarmed.  

Schools should take this opportunity to review their safeguarding and security arrangements, and be extra vigilant during the school day when there is a high volume of visitors to sites. 

Off-site visits

In the event that an off-site school visit is planned, any decision as to whether this should go ahead or not lies with the school, based on appropriate risk assessments being undertakenAt the current time it is recommended that Headteachers inform the Chair of Governors and Governing Body of the decision to either proceed or to cancel a planned off-site visit.  It is acknowledged that parents may take a personal view on whether their child should attend, and they are of course entitled to withdraw consent if they feel it necessary. 

If appropriate, schools should reflect upon their current risk assessments and make any necessary adjustments based upon the considerations below.

Please be aware that heightened security arrangements in central London and other major city centres may result in additional delays and that extra time should be allowed for this eventuality.  This may also be the case if travelling overseas too.

When planning trips, please ensure you consider areas such as (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Understanding coach operators emergency protocols (one of the learning points from the 7/7 incident was that coaches dropped off and then left London with the intention of driving back in later to pick up only this wasn’t possible);
  • Ensuring all group leaders are aware of actions to be taken in the event of an incident i.e getting to a place of safety and following the directions of the emergency services;
  • Ensuring the designated Emergency Contact “back at base” is contactable for the entire duration of the visit to ensure support can be provided;
  • Ensuring all members of staff on the visit have:
    • fully charged mobiles (and chargers available if necessary)
    • sufficient credit available for the duration of the visit
    • relevant contact details pre-programmed into the phones before the visit commences  
  • All staff must be in a position to answer their mobile phone at all times should contact need to be made.
  • More detailed information and guidance regarding off-site visits is available on The Grid here

A checklist of the roles and responsibilities of the educational visit leader can be found in section 2.8 of the example School Emergency Response plan template (available as an option for schools to use) which can be found on The Grid here

Some national websites that  provide up to date information and guidance are available at:

Should there be any need for you to take a decision to close your school, the information on the Everbridge school closure notification system is available here In schools only

At this point in time, no further communications to schools are anticipated unless the current situation in the country escalates further.

If you do have specific queries, please use the normal contact arrangements for advice and guidance as detailed here

 

Statement regarding visits to London and European Countries

Schools planning to visit London are advised to check the MI5 website for the current threat levels of terrorism in th UK.

Groups planning to visit European countries should expect delays due to increased security checks and may have to adjust their travel arrangements accordingly. Visit Leaders are advised to check with their tour operators and/or transport providers.

Any significant changes to advice given on the FCO website :