Threats to safety of Calderdale pupils discussed by education chiefs

Local Elections. Jenny Lynn, Megan Swift and Holly Lynch
Local Elections. Jenny Lynn, Megan Swift and Holly Lynch

Business managers and senior staff from schools across Calderdale and the county have come together to discuss potential hazards and threats to children in schools.

The ‘Evacuation-Invacuation-Lockdown’ seminar and workshop was hosted by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS).

The event was organised by the West Yorkshire Safer Schools Forum (WYSSF), which is made up of representatives from local authority planning and health and safety teams, as well as the emergency services.

The aim of the event was to share information, advice and provide practical tools and templates for schools to enhance their plans to keep schools safe.

Emergencies which were discussed ranged from external threats, such as animals in the playground, environmental hazards to internal threats, such as a violent parent, child or intruder.

Schools Inspector Robert Nowak, for WYFRS, said: “The WYSSF was set up following the relaunch of national guidance on keeping pupils and staff safe in an emergency. WYFRS felt a need to offer assistance, clarity and support to the councils, schools, colleges and all other educational establishments, to establish consistency across the county.

“I met with the five councils to find out if they needed help with formulating their procedures.

“From this initial meeting, it was unanimously agreed that a working group should be formed (WYSSF) to take this forward.

“The emergency services take a co-ordinated, regional response to incidents; therefore we felt it would be beneficial for local authorities to do the same.

“The event was the fourth event hosted at WYFRS headquarters and it was extremely well received and useful in terms of sharing expert advice and showcasing best practice. The public can be reassured that councils, schools and the emergency services across West Yorkshire are taking the safety and security of their children very seriously and that they are prepared for all eventualities.”

Councillor Megan Swift, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People’s Services, said although there is no intelligence to suggest that people need to be alarmed in Calderdale, it’s always better to rehearse certain situations as a precaution.

“The training with schools, which was developed in January 2016 and has been carried out a number of times with schools since then, has covered a whole range of possible scenarios and is about making school staff and students aware, prepared and confident with procedures for staying safe in an emergency,” said Coun Swift.

“We are always here to support schools whenever they need our help, and we’ll be following up the training with further sessions for all Calderdale schools, to ensure a consistent approach to procedures across the borough.”