Emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children’s social care settings

How educational and childcare settings should plan for and deal with emergencies, including significant public health incidents and severe weather.

Applies to England



This guidance applies to:

  • early years
  • wraparound childcare and out of school settings
  • children’s social care
  • schools
  • further education settings
  • higher education settings
  • alternative provision settings
  • special educational needs and disability (SEND) and specialist settings

This guidance does not apply to:

  • nannies or au pairs, as they work in the child’s or children’s family home

It includes guidance on:

  • making an emergency plan
  • prioritising education
  • supporting staff, children, pupils and students during and following an emergency in your setting
  • severe weather
  • significant public health incidents
  • workforce issues
  • insurance
  • emergency alerts
  • building local partnerships

And providing the following during an emergency:

  • remote education (including recording attendance)
  • free school meals
  • education for vulnerable children and young people
  • education for children of critical workers
Published 1 April 2022
Last updated 10 May 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'Emergency planning and response for education, childcare and children's social care settings' with information on emergency alerts, building local partnerships and recording attendance for remote education. Also added links to additional resources, templates, and checklists.

  2. Updated contact details in 'Emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children’s social care settings'.

  3. The guidance has been updated to include 'extreme heat' as an example of severe weather on pages 4 and 7.

  4. Updated Department for Education incident support email address.

  5. Updated DfE incident support helpline hours to Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.

  6. Updated guidance for children's social care providers, Critical workers annex and advice to check and register with Ofsted.

  7. First published.