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Are you prepared?
The recent news that 17 schools in Edinburgh have been closed due to safety issues highlights the need for schools to have an adequate disaster recovery plan in place.
Academy Trusts are responsible for school buildings but also have an obligation to provide continuing education for pupils whilst any building may be unsafe to use. The Local Authority might be able and willing to assist by offering places in surrounding schools with spare capacity but ultimately it is the trustees’ responsibility to have planned for such eventualities. Secondary schools will also need to be mindful of their obligations to deliver suitable exam facilities where necessary.
Academies should ensure that their disaster recovery plan deals with occasions such as this. Local sports centres, churches or community buildings could all be considered as alternative venues in the short term; portable buildings on the school site are likely to be a more long term solution assuming the space is available.
Insurance is also key. Academy trusts should ensure that they have adequate insurance (to the full reinstatement value of the site) so that buildings can be repaired and restored. This should cover the costs of site clearance and the costs of temporary school accommodation.
For more information on academies generally please contact Tozers charities and school team, our staff include members of the Charity Law Association (CLA), the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and a number of other organisations. Two partners are recognised leaders in the charities field, and several others have practical, hands-on experience as governors or trustees of a wide variety of schools and other charities.