Bridgelea Primary School is open Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th July

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

As you will be aware, we are currently experiencing some very hot weather with this region being placed under a red warning and currently forecasted a red warning on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th of July. These plans could potentially change, as our weather is not always easy to predict, however they will be in place tomorrow and will continue until Tuesday 19th July, unless you have further correspondence from us.

Children cannot control their body temperature as efficiently as adults during hot weather because they do not sweat as much and so can be at risk of ill-health from heat. Heat- related illness can range from mild heat stress to potentially life-threatening heatstroke. The main risk from heat is dehydration (not having enough water in the body). If sensible precautions are taken children are unlikely to be adversely affected by hot conditions, however, teachers, assistants and all child carers should look out for signs of heat stress, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

What does heat stress look like?

Children suffering from heat stress may seem out of character or show signs of discomfort and irritability (including those listed below for heat exhaustion). These signs will worsen with physical activity and if left untreated can lead to heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

What does heat exhaustion look like?

Symptoms of heat exhaustion vary but include one or more of the following:

  • tiredness
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • hot, red and dry skin
  • confusion

What does heat stroke look like?

When the body is exposed to very high temperatures, the mechanism that controls body temperature may stop working. Heatstroke can develop if heat stress or heat exhaustion is left untreated, but it can also occur suddenly and without warning.

Symptoms of heatstroke may include:

  • high body temperature – a temperature of or above 40°C (104°F) is a major sign of heatstroke
  • red, hot skin and sweating that then suddenly stops
  • fast heartbeat
  • fast shallow breathing
  • confusion/lack of co-ordination
  • fits
  • loss of consciousness

 What would we do if a child presented with heat illness?

  • Move the child to as cool a room as possible and encourage them to drink cool water (such as water from a cold tap).
  • Contact the parent and carer to make them aware of concerns.
  • Cool the child as rapidly as possible, using whatever methods you can. For example, sponge or spray the child with cool (25 to 30°C) water – if available, place cold packs around the neck and armpits, or wrap the child in a cool, wet sheet and assist cooling with a fan.
  • Dial 999 to request an ambulance if the person doesn’t respond to the above treatment within 30 minutes.
  • If a child loses consciousness, or has a fit, place the child in the recovery position, call 999 immediately and follow the steps above until medical assistance arrives.

Bridgelea Primary School is open Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th July

The Department for Education issued a statement on 14 July providing information on how to stay safe during heat waves, but went on to add that they aren’t advising schools to close during the high temperatures. They did however advise that we can take any steps necessary to make sure children are safe and comfortable

Following DFE guidance, we have now initiated an emergency contingency plan for this weather to reduce the risk of illness for students and staff. This will mean the following adjustments will be in place this week.

Protecting children outdoors

During periods of high temperature, the following steps will be taken:

  • Children should not take part in vigorous physical activity on very hot days, such as when temperatures are in excess of 30°C. As this is the case on Monday and Tuesday there will be no PE or Forest School activities planned and access to outside will be limited and closely supervised.
  • Encourage children playing outdoors to stay in the shade as much as possible Children will not be able to access an outside break without sun cream and a hat and outdoor breaks will be limited to 15 minute sessions so children can return back into school to cool and rehydrate.
  • Children should wear loose, light-coloured clothing to help keep cool and sunhats with wide brims to avoid sunburn. Uniform will not be required to be worn on Monday and Tuesday. Please ensure that children do not wear flip flops. They are not appropriate footware for school.
  • Use sunscreen (at least factor 15 with UVA protection) to protect skin if children are playing or taking lessons outdoors for more than 20 minutes. We will ensure that we have spare sunscreen in school. Please be available on your phone on Monday and Tuesday to give verbal consent that we can apply sun cream if you do not send your own bottle for your child with their name on.
  • Provide children with plenty of water (such as water from a cold tap) and encourage them to drink more than usual when conditions are hot. Children always have access to water at school. We will provide additional drinks and ice lollies throughout the day. We will provide juice for any children that do not like water to support them to remain hydrated.

Protecting children indoors

During periods of high temperature, the following steps will be taken:

  • Opening windows as early as possible in the morning before children arrive. Almost closing windows when the outdoor air becomes warmer than the air indoors – this should help keep the heat out while allowing adequate ventilation.
  • Keeping the use of electric lighting to a minimum.
  • Switching off all electrical equipment, including computers, monitors and printers when not in use – equipment should not be left in ‘standby mode’ as this generates heat
  • Where possible, use those classrooms or other spaces which are less likely to overheat, and adjust the layout of teaching spaces to avoid direct sunlight on children.
  • Oscillating mechanical fans can be used to increase air movement if temperatures are below 35°C – at temperatures above 35°C fans may not prevent heat-related illness and may worsen dehydration.
  • Encouraging children to eat normally and drink plenty of cool water.

Will other activities this week be cancelled?

As it is the last week of term we have a number of activities planned. Luckily the majority of them are planned for later in the week and will be less impacted by the red weather warning. We will continue to review this and email any updates to parents. Please ensure that you are checking Class Dojo, School Spider and your emails.  The curriculum on Monday and Tuesday will be very relaxed and reflect the difficulties that children may have with concentration and exhaustion linked to the heat.

 

Monday

·     Ghyll Head Residential: Cancelled due to risks associated with travel in non air conditioned buses.

Tuesday

·     Ghyll Head Residential: Cancelled due to risks associated with travel in non air conditioned buses.

·     Middle Floor Celebration Assembly 10am-CANCELLED. This will move to Wednesday. We will plan to hold this in the hall but may move outside. We will review which is cooler on the day.

Wednesday

·     Middle Floor Celebration Assembly 10am We will plan to hold this in the hall but may move outside. We will review which is cooler on the day.

Thursday

·     Top Floor Celebration Assembly 10am We will plan to hold this in the hall but may move outside. We will review which is cooler on the day.

Friday

·     Withington Celebration Assembly 10am We will plan to hold this in the hall but may move outside. We will review which is cooler on the day.

·     Ground Celebration Assembly 12pm We will plan to hold this in the hall but may move outside. We will review which is cooler on the day.

·     Last day of the summer term. 2.00pm finish as usual.

I hope this helps to make you feel reassured that we take keeping your children safe extremely seriously at Bridgelea. I do however understand that as parents you may feel that your child being in school during the red weather warning will be too much for them and may increase the risk of their challenging behaviour and their difficulties with self-regulation. Some children may also find the changes in school related to the heatwave difficult to process for example needing to wear a hat outside or to reapply sun cream throughout the day. Some children may find the transport into school on the buses difficult due to the heat and the fact that many of the buses are not air conditioned. With this in mind we will work with parents to discuss individual cases and consider authorising absence in these exceptional circumstances.

Please contact the school if you wish to discuss your child and what is best for them in coming days.

Kind regards,

Kelly Eyre (Interim) Head Teacher

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