Yesterday I woke up to snow. I love to see snow. Less love driving it in and very much less love it when it falls on a working day. When I was a child in Birmingham we’d wake up to hear which schools were closed on BRMB radio, mine was hardly ever never read out and we would all trudge to school in our wellies with all our friends.
We live in a different time and whenever show falls we should be mindful as managers of the impact snow has on those who use our settings and those who work in our settings.
So what can we do if we wake up to snow?
- Communicate with parents whether they will be staying away, less children equals less staff required to work with those children during the day.
- If you occupy a site within a school, will the school be open, and if not what impact does that have on your parents and staff?
- Reassure and communicate with your staff. Some will have children suddenly off school and be really concerned about how they will find childcare at short notice. Remember your staff will have a right to unpaid time off for family emergencies when care arrangements break down. They have the right to exercise this right when they suddenly learn that school is closed for their children.
- Some people do not drive in snow. This is actually fairly common and if someone is nervous driving in the snow it’s better to reassure and ask whether you can collect them or arrange with a colleague to car share. In my experience partners and relatives are all prepared to help out when someone needs to get to wokr in the snow. Remember many people work from home now who can help out.
- Will it be safe to open the setting? Only you and the senior leadership team can determine whether it is safe to open. If you do close then the staff will have the right to be paid as you have prevented them from attending work. Parents will not be able to be charged for the service as you didn’t provide it. You should check with your insurer as to whether you have inclement weather insurance?
- Can you offer a flexible start/finish for parents and/or staff. Would this help? The later you open the more likely the roads will have cleared and the safer the journey. Rushing to work can be unsafe. If more snow is forecast then closing before it is dark might also help. Do a risk assessment and decide what is best.
If we can be of any assistance, when managing the impact of snow on your early years setting, give the team a call on 01527 909436.