Accessibility in winter

As the UK is covered in a blanket of snow this week, a lot of schools have had to close. Schools must always be prepared for the possibility of snow disruption during the winter and poor weather conditions. Schools now have a duty to post their ‘Snow and Extreme Weather Procedures’ policies online.

The schools must check that the site, if it remains open, is safe and adequately staffed. The priority must be to assess whether the site can be made safe enough for both the adults and the children, and this must include access for those with physical disabilities.

Snow that appears ‘slushy’ can be compacted very quickly making it very dangerous for children to walk on. It is also extremely hazardous for those children and visitors with mobility issues. Schools must have their own stock of salt and grit, ensuring that main entrances, steps, pathways and car parks can be treated.

Pupils with disabilities may find that the snow interferes with the features that make the school accessible. For example, wheelchair ramps leading into the school building must be clear enabling easy access. Another very common problem during snowy weather is the blocking of accessible parking spaces, making it very difficult for those with mobility issues.

EA Audits hopes all stay safe in the snowy weather!