Cold Weather Precautions - December 2021

During the winter period, it is important that sensible precautions are taken to avoid unnecessary damage to buildings and services. There are several issues that should be considered to minimise the risks associated with cold weather. Whilst schools may have established routines, a reminder at this time may be helpful for schools to review these plans in the event of a cold-weather alert.

The Councils Cold Weather Plan revised January 2020 includes an Education Action card which gives a brief outline of recommendations of actions schools are advised to take.

Water Supplies

There is a likelihood of severe weather over the next few months, therefore all reasonable steps should be taken to ensure that water supplies are maintained, and toilets kept in use. This could involve:

  • Regular inspections of water tanks and cisterns and the use of a little hot water on ball valves etc. to prevent major problems.
  • In exposed areas turning off toilet system stopcocks and draining down systems if there is the possibility of them becoming frozen up.

General Precautions

In addition to the normal guidelines, the following additional checks could help to avoid problems occurring with plant and equipment when the external temperature drops to, say, 5° above freezing:

  • Draw up a procedure for checking the plant and other equipment as indicated, and have any repairs dealt with as soon as possible
  • Inspect boilers and check that gauges and valves are operational.
  •  Check that safety cut off valves are in good working condition.
  •  Inspect boiler(s) for any water leaks.
  • Inspect pumps for leaks and any unusual noise
  •  Check all drive belts and where twin set pumps are installed, ensure that a weekly changeover is undertaken.
  • Check the feed & expansion tanks are not running and that the boiler altitude gauge is showing its normal reading when the heating is on.
  • Where practical check water tanks, cylinders, lagging, surface pipework, radiators and valves for leaks or damage.

About this time of year schools should check and that they have adequate supplies of rock salt/sand and ensure and that these stocks are maintained at the right level to deal with cold snaps:

  • In icy conditions, the salt should be spread sparingly on all access paths to and between buildings to reduce the danger of pupils and staff falling.
  • In the event of snowfall, priority should be to clear all access paths. Schools should check that they have the equipment available for this purpose. 
  • Once the worst of the snow has been removed salt or sand should be applied to all paths, playgrounds, etc and re-applied according to need.
  • Such clearance work, wherever possible, should be carried out before staff and pupils arrive and are repeated during the day as necessary.

Several schools have experienced flooding in recent months, school should have a flood action plan in place and ensure that their Business Continuity Plan has been updated to include potential flood damage and how school will mitigate the risk of flooding


  • Provide a copy of this sheet to your Site Manager and agree with them any specific works required
  • In the event of school, closure please notify Waltham Forest Council via text message to the emergency telephone number 07760 165076. The information provided MUST confirm the name of the school, the volume of closure i.e., partial, full or set years/areas of the school and the emergency contact name for the day of closure.
  • Contact the Schools Asset Management Team
  • Ensure you have the details of your technical advisor available in the event of an emergency


Angela Ferdinand-Sergeant  Schools Asset Manager 0208 496 8081                                      

Health and Safety Team – 0208 496 6931

NPS London

Building Services

 020 8523 6262