We ensure that children, parent/carers, families, contractors, visitors and staff members are kept safe at all times, and we are prepared to respond to emergency situations and emergency closures in a planned and safe way.
At Kea Preschool Ltd our priority at all times is to ensure the safety and well-being of all children, parents/carers, visitors, contractors and staff working in our setting.
Certain situations, such as the failure of essential services (e.g. heating or water systems), building damage, fire outbreak, severe weather conditions, or an illness epidemic may occasionally make it necessary for our setting to close to ensure the safety of all.
Planning for these situations is a central part of our policy on Health and Safety and Risk Management, and it is important that all staff, parents/carers and families are aware of the actions that will be taken should it become necessary to close unexpectedly, either during session times or outside of normal hours.
This procedure outlines the steps to be taken in case of emergency to ensure good communication and orderly conduct, so that the welfare of children, staff and other individuals is maintained. In a real emergency, it may be necessary for the person in charge to respond as they see fit and we recognise that this will be the case when dealing with real life situations. However, this procedure gives a common approach which should make coping with an emergency easier.
This policy is associated with the following policies: Fire safety and emergency evacuation, Health and safety general standards, Risk Assessment, Uncollected child, Managing children who are sick infectious or with allergies, Making a complaint, and Safeguarding children young people and vulnerable adults.
Emergency closure preparation
- All staff should be familiar with the emergency procedures as set out in the ‘First safety and emergency evacuation’ policy. All staff are trained in these procedures on induction and policies are updated and circulated to all staff annually.
- No child should be left in our care without the parent/carer providing key details and key contact numbers.
- Key details and contact numbers are easily accessible. The Office Manager is responsible for making sure all records are kept up to date.
- We have a work mobile phone to ensure that contact can be made with parents from outside the building if needed.
- Contact numbers for services such as Gas, Electric, Water are available in the office so that they can be quickly contacted.
Closing the setting out-of-hours (e.g. due to bad weather)
- If our preschool needs to be closed in the morning, a decision will be reached as early as possible by the Manager or Senior Practitioner in charge, with authority from the Directors of the Committee.
- The closure of the setting will be announced on our facebook page and our website where possible.
- An email will be sent to all parents and staff to inform them of the closure. Parents are responsible for ensuring that we have up to date contact details (especially email addresses) in this instance.
- We will follow the weather reports closely during the winter period and take advice and guidance from any weather warnings in place.
Closing the setting during a session
- The Manager or Senior Practitioner in charge will decide if the preschool needs to be closed unexpectedly (for example, due to deteriorating weather conditions).
- If the preschool needs to be evacuated in an emergency, the normal emergency evacuation procedures will be followed.
- Staff will make every effort to contact parents/carers (or authorised person nominated by the parent/carer) of the children that are in our care.
- If parents/carers have to be called to collect their children, children will be looked after safely by staff until they can be contacted. Depending on the emergency, this may be in preschool building, or in another place of safety, or it may be outside. If parents/carers cannot be contacted, the late/non-collection of children policy will be followed.
- Telephoning parents to ask them to collect their children will be the joint responsibility of the Manager, Senior Practitioners and other appropriate staff members as designated. Parents can be phoned using our setting landline, setting mobile phone, or personal mobile phones if no other phones are available.
Closing the setting due to sickness
- Parents/carers should inform the setting if their child has been diagnosed with any infectious illness so that we can inform parents, staff and visitors that we have had a case in the setting. This allows other parents to be on the lookout for the symptoms in their child.
- Special notices and updates are displayed in a visible place on the main entrance door or the cupboard doors in the entrance area.
- Children and adults who are unwell with an excludable disease or infection should NOT attend the preschool and they should NOT return until the risk of passing on the infection has passed. For more information on exclusion periods, please see the ‘Managing children who are sick, infectious, or with allergies’ policy or speak to a senior member of staff.
- If a child at the setting displays the symptoms of an infectious disease, the parents/carers should be contacted to take the child home and to seek medical advice. They should not return to the setting until they are symptom-free for 48 hours. This also applies to parents.
- Where there is a risk of an epidemic or pandemic in the community, we will at all times follow the official government health guidelines, including closing the setting if necessary to prevent the spread of infection. If the decision is taken to close the setting, it will be taken by Directors of the Committee and the Setting Manager in conjunction with the appropriate health authorities.
- When we are informed that a disease is notifiable, we will advise the necessary authorities including Ofsted.
Re-opening the setting after emergency closure
- The decision to re-open the setting will be taken by the Directors of the Committee or Setting Manager in conjunction with the emergency services if necessary. Staff and parents will be emailed to advise them that the setting has re-opened where necessary. We will also post updates on our Facebook page and website where possible.
- The reasons for closing the setting will be recorded in the Incident Book.
Payment of fees during closures
- Where we have had to close the setting in an emergency or due to circumstances beyond our control, parents will be charged half their normal fees as a good will gesture.