Increasingly, we are seeing more instances and more types of extreme weather, including snow, strong winds and storms, droughts and floods and extreme hot or cold spells.
If we ever do have to make the decision to close TWGSB, we endeavour to make the decision by 07:00. We will contact parents via MyEd messaging, and update the TWGSB website and social media. We also recommend that parents register for email alerts on the KCC website for further information about TWGSB and other local schools www.kentclosures.co.uk.
Every winter brings the possibility of extreme weather conditions with its associated widespread and prolonged disruption. There are various factors to be considered when we make our decision on school opening or closure. Safety, both travelling to school and once there, is our number one priority for both staff and students. Making the decision the night before is not always easy and not the preference of the Local Authority who like us to stay open. Making the sites clear and safe to enable lessons to continue is always a priority. As above, if we do make the decision to close TWGSB, we endeavour to make the decision by 07:00.
‘The roads are clear, why are you not open?’ is one of the questions often asked during snowy spells – the answer is site safety. In the event of snow, the site teams at Tunbridge Well and Sevenoaks are in before 06:00 and begin clearing and gritting pathways by hand. Frozen pathways and temperatures below freezing for prolonged periods of time make this a difficult task. Since the weather is unpredictable and weather forecasts not always accurate, it can be challenging for us to get it right every time. However, keeping a school community of over 1700 students and 130 staff safe across both sites is our priority and the appropriate time will be given to the decision.
If snow falls overnight and into the morning, travel issues are created for both students and staff, especially those who travel a significant distance to get here. We do not expect anyone to travel if it is unsafe to do so. If we are unable to get enough staff into school, we may not be able to supervise the students safely and would then be forced to close and send them home. For those students who leave before the school has been in touch, we ask that you as parents make the decision around the safety of your child travelling into school and whether or not to send him/her in.
If we experience significant snow fall during the day or are contacted by the bus and train companies that there are going to be issues, we will advise you of our intention for the rest of the day. Please do make sure that we hold the correct email and mobile numbers for you. It is always advisable for parents to have made a back-up plan with their children in the event of an early closure. This will enable staff to also leave earlier for their safety if the weather dictates.
As with snowy conditions, safety is always the priority for both staff and students, especially those who travel some distance. It is sometimes the case that students can get to school, albeit a little later, however we do not expect anyone to travel if it is unsafe to do so. Parents should make the call regarding their child's safety during extreme weather.
If school is open and a student is unable to get here because of extreme weather please note that our policy is to mark their attendance as 'unauthorised absence'. This is a blanket rule for all students and situations. An unauthorised absence in such a case will NOT attract any penalty.
In the event of a full school closure, teaching staff will place information on Satchel:One and, if appropriate, live lessons will take place using MS Teams. This will be clearly communicated to parents.
If school is open it is unlikely that staff who are busy teaching in school will be able to provide any work online for those students unable to get to school.