The answer is – extremely. The potential for a major incident is growing, from changes in weather and local storms through to challenges of data security and the dependence on I.T. to run a school.
Disaster can strike in many forms and at any time – consider the recent school closure due to a sub-contractor walking Asbestos dust through the main school building? Over 90,000 student days are lost each year from major incidents. 43% of schools have reported a fire in the last 3 years.
The impacts of an incident are more severe and the expectations on early resumption are greater than ever, so a school not only needs an effective plan, but to have tested it to know how it would work in a real incident.
Insurance is essential to enable re-build and recovery over time, but it is the management of the incident, impact on reputation and resumption of services, which are vital. This needs planning. When discussing the ideal time to recover with Heads and Business Managers, we are told 24 – 48 hours to restore teaching or sit examinations. However when reviewing school plans, they often fall so far short of being able to achieve this.
Continuity plans tend to be anything but plans – with some lists of contacts, incomplete information and no clear route to recovery, they lack commitment, engagement and substance. Plans must have aims and objectives, a clear purpose and considered recovery options with alternatives, which support the ethos and requirements of the school.
It is a huge challenge to think about restoring a whole school in 24 hours. School business continuity plans should be based on an Impact Assessment, which prioritises the activities, year groups and dependencies in the school. There needs to be a checklist to manage the recovery process with actions, which are timed and owned by the SLT and others. And then the whole plan and supporting content needs to be maintained and tested throughout the year.
Tried and tested
The creation and testing of effective business continuity plans for loss of buildings, loss of I.T. or loss of staff are key responsibilities of the SLT in every school, but it often needs a 3rd party to make it happen and introduce a tried and tested process to follow. We have a unique web based facility to help with the management and maintenance of continuity planning – www.bcp4schools.net
For more information or a free plan review, contact us on 0333 011 0333 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org