Schoolchildren could practice drills in case of a classroom terror attack 

Schoolchildren could do drills to help prepare them for a terror attack. Picture: PA
Schoolchildren could do drills to help prepare them for a terror attack. Picture: PA
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Schoolchildren could carry out security drills in preparation for potential terror attacks in their classrooms, under Government plans.

Lockdowns and evacuations may be practised to protect against other incidents including flooding and chemical and biological emergencies.

The Department for Education (DfE) has issued draft guidance for schools to help them respond to a range of threats.

A consultation published on Monday warns that no school can afford to ignore the risk and impact of having to deal with a range of security related incidents.

As a result the DfE is proposing to publish new school security guidance that will provide them with access to a range of information and tools that will help to develop sensible and proportionate policies and plans.

There is currently a range of guidance available to schools to deal with incidents like violence in the workplace, taking action to educate and deter young people from getting involved in knife crime and how to respond to a an emergency incident.

But following calls from the profession, the DfE has collated the guidance to make it easier for schools to consider potential risks and work with local partners.

The advice has been developed with organisations like the Home Office, the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, the Outdoor Education Advisers Panel, the Health and Safety Executive and others.

School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said: "Our schools are safe places and thankfully serious incidents are extremely rare.

"It is, nevertheless, important that schools remain vigilant and prepare for potential risks.

"This proposed guidance will help schools to identify such risks and how to ensure measures are put in place to prevent or mitigate the effect of incidents occurring, whether that is a terrorist attack, knife crime or other dangerous threats."

On the more serious end of the scale security threats could include terrorist attacks in the form of improvised explosive devices, gun or knife attacks, and vehicles being as a weapon.

It suggests that preventative measures could included effective screening of staff, pupils an visitors to schools for prohibited items, and effective building controls including the ability to lock down parts of the schools.

Depending on information from local organisations, schools could be advised to carry out drills to practise what to do in case of an emergency.

The guidance also includes preventative measures for threats coming from cyber security, information security, personal security and crime.

The schools guidance sets out the importance of developing a security policy that draws on advice from local experts.

It is also aimed at helping them identify the likelihood of a particular threat occurring and provides help to develop plans to manage and respond.

The draft guidance emphasises the importance of creating a culture where staff and pupils recognise the need to be vigilant about their own safety and that of others.

The DfE is inviting headteachers, teachers, staff, governors, local authorities and the proprietors of independent schools to respond to the guidance via a consultation that runs until February 18 next year.