School forced to close after pupils drenched in emergency drill

The new head teacher at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School Mr Anthony Smith
The new head teacher at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School Mr Anthony Smith
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Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School has been forced to close its doors after pupils stood for 30 minutes in the pouring rain as part of a safety drill.

The school was evacuated as part of a combined training operation by the school, ermergency services and Calderdale Council.

However, the heavens opened once the pupils were outside soaking them and prompting management at the school to take the decision to close the school and send all pupils home to dry out.

Executive headteacher Anthony Smith said: “There were no injuries on site and the pupils were stood outside for no more than 30 minutes.

“We operated our normal closure procedures - similar to when there is heavy snowfall. We contacted parents and made sure all students were accounted for and had somewhere to go. The school buses came early to make sure everyone got home.

“Some pupils have had to remain in school this afternoon after we were unable to contact their families.”

Calderdale Council issued a statment regarding the incident. Here it is in full:

An emergency response training exercise took place at Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High School this morning to test response in accordance with emergency practices. The exercise involved partners from Calderdale Council, West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue and is one of a number of exercises partners have delivered at high schools across Calderdale.

The training exercise started when the alarm was raised to a fake ‘incident’, at this time the weather was dry. In response to the raised alarm the school invoked its emergency evacuation procedure and all 1500 pupils and 200 staff were evacuated safely and calmly. After the exercise started it began to rain. When the weather worsened the decision was taken at the earliest opportunity to cancel the exercise to ensure the welfare of the students. The staff and students were outside for no more than absolutely necessary and the welfare of students was paramount at all times.

A text to parents was sent informing them school was closing and that they would be informed in due course as to how buses and transport would be facilitated. Some parents arrived on site expecting to pick up their children within minutes which wasn’t possible as part of the building was out of bounds.

Students with parental permission to leave were either collected by parents or put onto buses in line with normal school closure practice. Those students whose parents had not given permission to go home are being looked after on the premises until normal school closing time this afternoon.