Emergency Policy

The information has been put together by ELC Bristol’s emergency team with the guidance of Nigel Heritage and Kevin O’Donnell (safeguarding consultants). The format of ELC’s Emergency Plan was adapted from the Government template emergency plan


  1. Policy Statement
  2. School Emergency Management Team (SEMT)
  3. ELC’s Control centre
  4. Off-site emergency procedures and response
  5. On-site emergency
  6. Communication
  7. Documents and keeping records
  8. Training
  9. Emergency Plan

1) Policy Statement


  • To preserve life and to reduce the risk of serious harm by having an Emergency Management Policy in place which all staff and students are aware of.
  • To have an Emergency Plan in place which sets out the steps needed to ensure that the emergency/incident is dealt with by the EMT (Emergency Management Team) as efficiently and sensitively as possible.
  • To give guidance on the range of sources of information and support available during the incident and after the incident


An incident, either on or off site, where a student, staff member or anyone connected to the school has

  • suffered a life threatening injury or fatality
  • is at serious risk of the above
  • has gone missing for a significant, unacceptable period of time.

An emergency situation can occur as the result of an incident which has consequences beyond the normal coping mechanisms of the on site school staff or the team leading an off-site visit. It could be the result of a serious road or rail crash, freak weather, a crowd that has gone out of control (e.g.violent demonstration), a serious equipment malfunction / collapse, (e.g. at a theme park, or a gas explosion), a random violent attack carried out by a lone person – or a planned terrorist attack, a bomb scare in the school or in the vicinity of the school or if a suspicious package has been delivered. Emergency Procedures should aim to cover all eventualities.


  •  At ELC, we recognise the importance of carrying out risk assessments on every activity and visit and on our school buildings so that we can establish clear guidelines and strategies to react to any school related emergency.
  • We recognise the need for on-going training in emergency procedures for all staff and especially for those leading or participating in activities and on excursions. Initial training happens during inductions and staff are reminded of procedures regularly by the Director.
  • We recognize the need to ensure that there are always first-aid trained staff on every school excursion and on activities when deemed appropriate.
  • We recognise the need to ensure that administrative procedures are strictly adhered to including ensuring that we have all students’ mobile phone numbers and the emergency contact numbers for each individual student and member of staff and that excursion and activity leaders have access to this information.
  • Every member of staff must also be familiar with the school ‘NB’ lists so they are aware of which students are on medication or have other special needs and which students are under 18.
  • There is an ELC EMT (Emergency Management Team) and an established chain of command and all involved have clearly stated roles of responsibilities (See 9. Emergency Plan). This will ensure that actions, such as contact with staff, students, agents, homestays, other ELC Bristol stakeholders (HSBC), the media and any emergency agencies are handled correctly.
  • We recognise the need to keep accurate records throughout an emergency to show how things unfolded and how they were handled.

2) ELC’s Emergency Management Team

Emergency lead:

  1. John Duncan (Director)
  2. Andrew Edwards (Principal)

Emergency support:

  • Mark Calland (Vice Principal)
  • Pete Clark (DOS)

ELC First Aid Team

  • Mark Calland, Kate Jackson

ELC Mental Health First Aid Team

  • Pete Clark

3) Control centre(s)

When/if there is an emergency incident; there will be a designated control centre where the Emergency Response is managed. Which room is used as the control centre depends on when and where the emergency happens.

Can be: -

  • Director’s office + home
  • Principal’s office + home
  • Vice-Principal’s office + home

Control Centres need

  • landline, mobile, email (internet/wifi)
  • Lockable door, blinds (when necessary)
  • Student data hard copy * (in case wifi/internet is down).
  • ‘Emergency Plan’ file (online and hard copy)
  • Logs

And at weekends:

  • ‘Student visit data’. – see point 7. Details of who went on excursion (students and staff)
  • Transfer and arrival and new student details (Need info on the Friday)
  • Copy of relevant risk assessments

*The student data includes

  • Student name
  • Student photo
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Mobile
  • email
  • Medication/NB record
  • Homestay – name + mobile
  • Emergency contact details - parent, guardian next of kin – someone who speaks English
  • ETO – name + 24-hour emergency contact
  • ELC emergency team contact details

4) Off-site emergency procedures

Risk assessments are in place for all activities and excursions (checked by Risk Assessment Manager)

The Social Programme Organiser ensures specific risk assessments are signed off by the activity leader for each particular event before it takes place.

All location risk assessments have the name, address and phone number of the closest A&E hospital.

If someone goes missing and does not return to the meeting point at the allotted time, then the risk assessment will give guidance as to how long the activity leader should wait before notifying the Emergency Lead of the situation. The time will depend on the age of the student and the location (near water, busy city centre unknown to students etc).

When security threat levels are high, the Social Programme Organiser will check venue and local authority websites. For London they will check https://tfl.gov.uk/ (major works and events page) and will consider the destination/venues’ likelihood of risk also taking into consideration one-off events including demonstrations, extreme weather, major football match and concerts.

The Social Programme Organiser will consider alternative destinations when necessary and in case things have to be changed at the last minute, will have an alternative in mind.

We will always have an alternative meeting point identified and students will be informed of its whereabouts before/if they disperse.

Venues – if attending a venue (sports events, theatres, cinemas etc) the risk assessment identifies exits and a nearby emergency meeting point. Suitable safe refuges will include parks and hotels depending on the location.

If there is more than one member of staff running the excursion/activity, identify who takes the lead role and who has the back-up role – usually the lead will be taken by a member of the ELC emergency management team.

The activity leader will have a hard copy of the ‘student visit data’ for those students/staff on the activity/excursion), contact details of the Emergency Lead, a pen, a charged mobile, and a log report form.

Off-site – responding to an emergency

The exact response will depend on the situation, but if there is a terrorist attack, the aim is to preserve lives, so staff and students should all know to: ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ - in other words, get away from the danger, try to find a safe place (preferably that can be locked) and then call the emergency services (999)

The activity leader should

  • Make sure all group members are safe – check who is with him/her.
  • Determine if any members of the group are unaccounted for. Will need to check this against the ‘student visit data’ and may need to liaise with other activity leader(s) who may be elsewhere.
  • If anyone is injured, establish extent of injuries, administer first aid when possible, treat for shock by keeping warm and reassuring
  • May be necessary for activity leader to text all members of the group to give them instructions (simultaneously if possible) – see Communications 6
  • Contact relevant emergency services – they will want to know their name, the school name, location, type of emergency, number of injured, action so far
  • Contact Control Centre - school emergency number (Principal) or if you can’t get through, the Vice Principal
  • The Activity Leader or Emergency lead may need to contact all the students in the group and other staff members as quickly as possible, to advise them of the incident and the possible need to return to the original meeting point immediately, or to go immediately to the alternative pre-arranged meeting point, or to go to a safe refuge such as a known hotel. ELC has adapted its database and devised a system to send a text to everyone on the activity/excursion at the same time. See Communication – point 6.
  • Do not contact parents, agents or speak to the Media – the control centre will manage this.
  • Discourage students from taking photos or calling friends and family as misinformation and rumours can cause upset.
  • When safe, move away from scene of emergency to the pre-identified safer location
  • Start keeping records using emergency log. Record date, time, what happened and action taken, reported by and reported how (See template attached)
  • Maintain contact with control centre and emergency services (when necessary)
  • If casualties are going to hospital, ensure identified adult accompanies them, taking full medical information and any medication
  • Keep monitoring and reviewing the situation and keep Control Centre informed
  • Aim to return to group meeting place as soon as is practical.
  • Keep logging a detailed time record.

The Control Centre – the lead should:

  • Open Emergency Plan file and follow steps for particular incident.
  • Have Emergency Lead 1 assuming control. If not able, then Lead 2 should
  • Start real-time log of all events and communications showing time, names of those involved and actions taken. Log all incoming calls about the emergency.
  • Assess situation based on information given by leader - establish extent of any injuries
  • Confirm who exactly is with the excursion lead so you can determine who has not been accounted for.
  • Identify unaccounted staff and students and establish contact. Start first with staff members, (call initially then text or What’sApp). Establish where they are, who they are with, if they are safe, if anyone is injured (and the extent)
  • Make sure you have a complete list of whereabouts and possible injuries for everyone on the excursion/activity
  • Confirm which emergency services have been called.
  • Brief other member of ELC’s Emergency management team.
  • Determine what if any support is needed at scene of emergency. Are more staff needed to accompany casualties to hospital? How practical is it to get them there quickly? Consider calling the 24 hour emergency contacts for the other TEN schools (2 in London) or other contacts.
  • Go online to find and continually monitor information and help available in area of the emergency – for example the offer of beds, food, shelter and support.
  • Ensure everyone at the emergency site has enough sustenance to keep going.
  • Prepare for the return of the students – how will they get home? Bus, train, taxis?
  • Do they need food, drink, medication or cash? Decide how to get it to them.
  • Contact accommodation providers so they are at home and prepared to receive them
  • When everything is under control, inform all stakeholders including parents, emergency contacts, agents, other members of staff – focus on the many acts of kindness that happened rather than the unpleasantness
  • Consider emotional needs and arrange for counselling for students and staff which may be required immediately and/or later on – refer to ELC’s welfare and mental health teams and contact ELC’s native speaker counsellors (see attached list)
  • Collect all records and compile in a coherent way
  • Certain injuries and events have to be reported to HSE (the Government’s Health and Safety Executive). These guidelines are explained by RIDDOR (reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations 2013 - see: www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/reportable-incidents.htm 
  • Review emergency procedures – did those involved feel they had sufficient information, support and training
  • Share lessons with TEN and other ELT providers.

5) On-site emergency procedures

ELC has fire safety and emergency evacuation procedures in place for when students and staff have to exit the school buildings as quickly as possible on hearing the fire alarm. This could be in case of fire, or of a bomb threat to the school or of a suspicious package being discovered in one of the school buildings.

ELC also has ‘lockdown’ procedures in place for when we have to keep the staff and students safe inside our school buildings (Pembroke House, Abon House and our Summer Centre).

In case of a lockdown situation, there are panic buttons installed in the Abon House office. When staff press the panic button, the police are notified immediately and will come to the building within a few minutes.

The lockdown alarm sounds very different to the fire alarm. Staff and students are trained to know the diference. As part of the day 1 induction for all new students, the social programme manager plays the two alarms so students are also aware of the different alarms sounds and also know what they have to do.

Lockdowns fall into two categories:

  • Partial lockdown - when we have to secure the buildings and keep the students safe inside the buildings but not necessarily in locked rooms. A partial lockdown could occur in such cases as a bomb threat in the neighbourhood, freak weather conditions or civil unrest.
  • Full lockdown - when staff and students have to be kept safe in locked rooms within buildings. This could occur if one or more person seeks or gains access to our premises with the intention of causing harm to those inside

The alarm sound for partial and full lockdown is the same.

Partial lockdown

Background: To discourage random entry, the school has locked gates at the side of  Abon House which can only be accessed by entry code. The emergency exit in the Garden Room in the basement at Abon House can only be opened from inside. The main front door in Abon House is left open but there is also a secondary front door which is locked and which can only be accessed by entering a code (known only to students and staff) or by being buzzed through by the staff in reception. There is a CCTV camera installed in the building so staff can see who wants to come in.

In the Summer Centre, students can only enter at the rear of the building. Again there is a locked gate with an access code and then the main back door is kept locked with another access code.

If a partial lockdown is in place:

  • On hearing the lockdown alarm, staff and students must immediately lock the classroom and staffroom doors, drop the blinds and move away from the windows.
  • Admin staff shut the main front doors and close any open windows, blinds, shutters and curtains.
  • Identify the Emergency Management lead (Principal, Vice-Principal or DOS in Abon and the Summer Centre). Set up control centre and start log as time allows and when it is safe to do so.
  • Admin staff go to each floor advising staff and students that a partial lockdown is in place and that as it is a partial lockdown, they can unlock their classroom and staffroom doors but that they should remain in or return to their classrooms.
  • Students told not to collect personal belongings from other rooms at this stage.
  • At this stage, classroom doors should not be locked.
  • Students remain in their classrooms or return to their classrooms if the incident takes place in break times.
  • Teachers take a register of all students in their class. The names of anyone (staff or student) not in the school building must be noted and the crisis management lead in each building should be informed
  • Staff and students off site are contacted and told not to return to the Centre until advised otherwise.
  • Exit from the building should be discouraged – the name(s) of anyone insisting on leaving should be noted in the register
  • Lead determines whether students and staff should all move to a pre-selected areas (Top floor in Abon, common room in Summer Centre)
  • Lead liaises with the second lead and the other emergency support members in our other school buildings.
  • Notify the appropriate emergency services. Seek advice.
  • Go online to find updates of the situation in the area
  • In the event of a chemical emergency, turn off the heating.
  • Wait for the all clear from a credible source before advising staff and students that it is safe to go home
  • Notify stakeholders appropriately

Full lockdown

Full lockdown aims to restrict access to an intruder and prevent students and staff from moving into danger areas, thereby reducing the number of casualties and giving the emergency services time to respond.

Background: In the classrooms in Abon we have had special locks (with bolts) fitted so that all classroom and staffroom doors can be locked from inside (without a key, by turning a handle). We also have put blinds in every room which can be drawn down so that someone outside a classroom cannot see if there is anyone inside the room. When we considered the risks involved, we realised that the danger might come from within a classroom, either from one of our students or from someone who has already gained access to a classroom. We therefore have a master key which can unlock all doors from the outside. This key is kept in a hidden place in the Abon office. Similarly, all rooms in the summer centre can be locked from the inside and opened from the outside with an official staff lanyard.

Full lockdown procedure

  • If an intruder attempts to come in through the main door and has been identified by the office staff who can see what is happening on the CCTV, a staff member will then press one of the panic buttons, which immediately sounds the lockdown alarm and notifies the police.
  • If the intruder has accessed the locked internal door (either a student has let him in or he has been mistakenly buzzed through by the office staff), then again office staff push the panic button which sounds the lockdown alarm immediately and notifies the police.
  • Students and staff are trained to keep in mind the stay safe principles of Run, Hide and Tell, so if they become aware that there is an intruder, if possible, they should get away through another exit door or a window (if they are on the ground floor or basement), otherwise they must go to the closest classroom and lock the door from the inside and drop the blinds.
  • Lights should be turned off and mobiles put on silent – everyone should be as quiet as possible and remain there until notified it is safe to come out by known staff
  • When possible, members of ELC’s emergency management team notify the other school building by text or email to give more information about the emergency situation which must be immediately relayed to the Police.
  • The person responsible for declaring the lockdown reversal (normally a member of the emergency team) should only do so having consulted the police
  • Staff should provide reassurance to students at this stage.
  • The lead should fill out the emergency log as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.
  • Together with the other members of the emergency team, the lead should consider the emotional needs of students and staff and should arrange for counselling – refer to ELC’s welfare and mental health teams and contact ELC’s native speaker counsellors.
  • The lead should inform all stake holders including parents, agents, homestay providers and all staff whether or not teaching at the school at that time. See guidance given in ‘Communication’

6) Communication

How we communicate and who we communicate with is key for the reputation of the school and the welfare of those affected by the incident. We need the communication to be professional, supportive, appropriate, factual and speedy. The detail of what is communicated will depend on who you are communicating with. Prepare factual and reassuring (if possible) statements. No conjecture. No personal opinions. No rambling - brief communication is better.

During an excursion/activity. To enable an activity leader to send an urgent text message to everyone on an excursion simultaneously, he/she cuts and pastes all the student mobile phone numbers from the ‘student visit data’ stored on our database onto the social programme mobile iphone (it doesn’t work on other phones). To check it is working, the leader sends a text before the excursion reminding students of the departure time and not to be late. This way the group phone numbers for any particular excursion/activity are all stored on the school i-phone in advance so everyone can get an urgent message immediately without the need to input the numbers again.

After an incident, the telephone is the best method for the Emergency Lead to commincate with key stakeholders, particularly with the families and agents of those involved. Email can be used to communicate with stakeholders not personally involved.

Be prepared to give regular updates.

Emergency lead will need assistance from the other members of the Emergency team to disseminate information.

Who to contact? (preferably in this order)

  • Directors, the Principal , then the Vice Principal - make sure they are informed immediately, then inform all members of ELC’s Emergency Response team as you will need their help.
  • Next of kin + ETOs (agents) of any serious casualties
  • Next of kin and agents of non-serious casualties
  • Email to all other agents whose students were not involved. All staff - quick email giving need-to-know information – tell them not to talk to any outside organisations and always refer the press to the emergency lead
  • Students – all students in the school at the time
  • Homestays
  • Residential staff
  • For all students in their own accommodation, inform their house mates.
  • Email to other schools, English UK forum, TEN, IALC and QE.
  • Carefully worded messages on ELC’s social media

The Media

The Emergency Lead (the Director) must be prepared and ready to communicate with the press. In the absence of the Director, the following chain of responsibility will be followed:

1) Principal, 2)Vice Principal

With the press, it is very important to be factual and positive (if possible). Remember - no conjecture, no personal opinions, no rambling - brief communication is better.

Points to note when dealing with the media

  • Consult with English UK Helpline before making any comment or releasing a statement
  • Try to have another person with you, to monitor the interview
  • If possible, agree an interview format i.e. establish what the interviewer wants to ask
  • Be prepared to think on your feet, but try to decide beforehand what you want to say. Do not read it out from a script
  • Remember you could be quoted on anything you say to a journalist, even if it is not part of the formal interview
  • Be prepared to say you cannot comment
  • Do not over elaborate.
  • Refuse requests for photographs
  • Check where the interview/camera team go when the interview is over.

For more guidance, see Emergency Plan file for guidance - section 3.33 and appendix 6

7) Documents and keeping records

Vital so that emergencies can be handled effectively. Kept in the ELC s-drive. The Emergency Leaders also have a hard copy at home. Activity Leaders have a hard copy of the ‘student visit data’ with them when they go on an excursion/activity.

Emergency Plan

adapted from Nottinghamshire County Council Government Template Emergency Plan includes the following documents -

  • Brief description of ELC Bristol
  • Emergency contact details. Includes staff emergency contacts (next of kin), native speaker contacts, Embassies and Consulates, emergency contact details for other TEN school directors
  • Risk assessment summary including staff student ratios policy
  • Outline of ELC’s Emergency Team. Lines of command and roles and responsibilities
  • Procedure reminder for lead in case of off-site emergency
  • Response procedures for full and partial lockdowns
  • Procedures/ guidance for evacuation, lockdown, school closure, bomb threats, suspicious packages, log keeping
  • Student visit data – summary of hard copy information held by activity leaders and emergency leads for excursions/activities includes student name, student reference #, dob, nationality, mobile, medication/NBs, emergency contact details, accom contact details.
  • 24 hour contact numbers for TEN (the English Network) schools’ directors in London and Cambridge (WSE, Excel and CAE)
  • Emergency contact details – staff emergency contacts (next of kin), Embassies and Consulates
  • Arrangements for additional staffing if emergency goes on for more than 4 hours
  • HSE (Health and Safety Executive) RIDDOR document (regulations for reporting)
  • Emergency Response Risk Assessment and Action Plan

Pre-visit Documents – hard copy information given to staff before going on activity (and held by the emergency lead)

  • Risk assessment for specific visit (includes nearest A&E information)
  • Student visit data
  • Emergency Log blank template – records kept in the s-drive (password protected)
  • Emergency management document for off-site staff – summary of section 4 – guidance for activity leaders during off-site excursion/activity
  • Emergency contact details


8) Emergency Response Training

  • Emergency Lead attends English UK Emergency Management training with Kevin O’Donnell
  • Emergency Lead runs training session with Emergency Management Team
  • Vice Principal rolls out Emergency Training to all teachers in Friday Teachers meeting and with all new teachers as part of their Induction.
  • Director (Emergency Lead) runs Emergency training session with all Admin staff)
  • Admissions Officer runs through Emergency Management with all new Admin staff
  • Emergency procedures are an insert in school files given to new students on day 1
  • Social Programme Organiser plays the 2 different alarm sounds to new students as part of their induction on day 1. (Fire Alarm – for evacuate and Emergency alarm for lockdown). Everyone must be able to recognise the difference and to know to follow different procedures.
  • Emergency procedures and students and staff awareness of what to do in an emergency situation are audited annually by Nigel Heritage as part of ELC’s annual safeguarding audit. Training adjusted according to results and new requirements.
  • Annual Emergency refresher training for all staff.
  • Annual refresher training for ELC’s 2 First Aid trained staff and 1 Mental Health First Aid trained staff

9) Emergency Plan

There are 4 copies of the Emergency Plan. 2 are kept in files in the offices of the Director and the Principal and the Vice Principal (the Emergency Leads) and are also kept in their homes.

The plan is a detailed documents and guidance about procedures to follow in case there is an emergency.


Policy procedures and documents reviewed annually, or after an incident, by ELC’s Emergency Management team and by Kevin O’Donnell (Safeguarding consultant)

Covid-19 GuidelinesRead more