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You are here:home > Learning > Schools > School closures

School closures

In an emergency, schools and early years centres may have to close suddenly. The most common reason for this is because of bad weather, such as snow.

If a school is forced to close we will update this page as soon as we are able. If you think that a school may be closed and cannot find it here, there are other ways to get the information you need:

  • visit your school's website
  • or visit our Twitter account, LearningInSoton, or our Southampton Parents page on Facebook (both linked on the left).

All schools will open if they can but they may find this impossible. If schools do open in the morning, they are sometimes forced to close half-way through the day if the weather gets worse. This is to make sure that pupils and staff can get home safely.

Frequently asked questions about school closures are listed below.

School closures frequently asked questions

1. Why might my child's school be closed?

Schools will always make every effort to open if at all possible, but there may be times when they are forced to close. This is not a decision which is taken lightly and it will be based on whether it is safe for staff and pupils to come to school or work at school.

The most common reasons for enforced school closures are:

  • Severe weather – heavy snow and ice or strong winds which have, or are likely to cause structural damage or disruption to safe travel to and from the school, or in some cases around the school site

  • Damage to buildings – caused, for example, by strong winds, fire, flooding or criminal damage

  • Utilities failure – for example, a burst water main, issues with the toilets or a heating failure

  • Shortage of staff – this will only happen if circumstances such as severe weather or significant illness has meant that there are not enough staff in school to ensure the safety of pupils

  • High levels of illness – in very rare cases, significant illness amongst staff and pupils may lead to closure if there are insufficient staff to open the school safely, or if the school requires deep cleaning and/or if public health advise closing for a short period of time

  • Industrial action – there may be rare occurrences that unions call teachers to take strike action. If enough teaching staff do choose to strike, schools may have no choice but to close.

2. How will I know my child's school is closing?

In an emergency situation, schools will often have little or no warning that they need to shut.  If poor weather is forecast, schools may send a letter or other communication to parents advising how they would communicate a decision to close if this proves necessary. 

If schools need to close, there are a number of ways you may find out:

  • Phone tree or text message - most schools operate a phone tree or a text-messaging service which enables them to contact parents easily.  For more information please contact your child's school.

  • School website - many schools put information on their websites, particularly if the closure is due to poor weather, so make sure you know their web address.

  • Southampton Online - schools will contact the City Council if they are closing, and details of closures will be listed on this webpage. 

  • Twitter - you can join the Council's Twitter service from Children's Services, which will tweet announcements of school closures directly to your mobile phone or email. This can be found at https://twitter.com/LearningInSoton

  • Facebook - you can like the Southampton Parents page, which will be updated with school closures. This can be found at https://www.facebook.com/southamptonparents

3. What can I do to prepare for school closures?

There are a number of things you can do to prepare for school closures. These include:

  • ensuring your child's school has up-to-date contact details for you

  • asking your child's school how they will inform parents about school closures

  • making sure you know your child's school's school website address

  • making sure having the web address for the City Council to hand

  • putting in place emergency childcare arrangements so that if the school closes, both you and your child know what will happen. Double checking these from time to time is a good idea.

4. How can I prepare for severe weather?

The most common cause of enforced school closure at short notice is bad weather.

Schools do stay open when they can, but whilst inconvenient, they absolutely do need to be confident that they have sufficient cover in school and mobility around the school site to ensure the safety of children and staff. 

Some schools will open in the morning, but are then sometimes forced to close part way through the day if the weather gets worse or if developments on roads and public transport start to mean that staff and pupils who got into school may not be able to get home safely.

You can prepare for this by:

  • being aware of the weather forecasts

  • ensuring childcare arrangements are in place if the school is closed for the whole day

  • knowing what you will do if the school closes part-way through the day and making sure your child knows where to go or who will meet them if this happens

  • making sure your child wears a warm coat, waterproof shoes or Wellington boots, a hat, scarf and gloves to school

  • making sure your child has enough money to catch a bus and that their mobile phone is fully charged and has credit, where appropriate.

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