School stabbings prompt safety review across Wales

Emergency services vehicles outside Ysgol Dyffryn Ama
Pupils were locked down for about four hours after stabbings at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Ammanford [BBC]

School safety procedures are being reviewed across Wales after two teachers and a pupil were stabbed at a comprehensive.

Teachers Fiona Elias and Liz Hopkin and a pupil were injured at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, last week, which led to the school being put in lockdown for about four hours.

A 13-year-old girl has been remanded into secure youth detention accommodation charged with attempted murder and she is due to appear at Swansea Crown Court next month.

Councils throughout Wales have contacted head teachers urging them to check emergency procedures are up to date in the wake of the incident.

Teachers Fiona Elias and Liz Hopkin
Teachers Fiona Elias and Liz Hopkin and a pupil were injured at Ysgol Dyffryn Aman in Ammanford [Family Photos]

Among them, Bridgend council said it had also asked head teachers to "ensure that teachers, pupils, staff and governors are all aware of what to do in the event of an emergency situation".

"While serious incidents such as this are, thankfully, rare, I want to reassure parents and carers that local schools have plans and procedures in place which can be quickly and efficiently implemented," said Jon-Paul Blundell, Bridgend's cabinet member for education.

The council is also due to meet headteachers to "confirm that all relevant plans and procedures are in place".

BBC Wales has asked other education authorities about their school safety procedures.

'Critical incident training'

Torfaen council plans to discuss lockdown arrangements with education leaders across the Gwent region on 13 May.

It will also look at how it manages fencing repairs and magnetic locks as students have been able to break these, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

In Wrexham, heads have been asked to "check and confirm their emergency lockdown procedures," the council said.

Denbighshire council has "contacted all schools to remind them of the protocols and procedures in place to lockdown should the need arise".

School leaders in Monmouthshire recently attended "critical incident training" and all its "secondary schools have appropriate systems and processes in place to respond to emergency incidents in school," the council said.

Caerphilly council said it has "robust policies and procedures in place to protect the school community" which can be "reviewed as appropriate to ensure they are up to date and reflect the latest advice and learning from emerging incidents".

Newport council said its procedures were up to date so "we aren't planning a review at the moment".

In Conwy school leaders have been asked to review safety procedures with all students and staff and to carry out practice if this has not yet been completed.

Gwynedd heads have been contacted to make sure all existing arrangements are "active and effective". The council said it will discuss plans and implementation with head teachers that need support.

Ceredigion council is reviewing its emergency and lockdown policies and all schools have been sent a presentation outlining the planning needed before lockdown.

It said schools are encouraged "to rehearse their lockdown plan" to make sure pupils and staff understand what to do if an event or attack happens.

Powys and Pembrokeshire schools have been contacted to review their policies.

Carmarthenshire council said "every school" in the region has "robust lockdown procedures".

At the start of summer term Flintshire schools were advised on emergency procedures, and the council said it will reissue this advice.

Schools in Rhondda Cynon Taf have been reminded to "revisit and test out their emergency response arrangements and lockdown procedures". The council said these policies are reviewed regularly and training provided when needed.

Schools in Blaenau Gwent have "well-established emergency planning arrangements in place and the resources needed to keep learners safe", according to the council.

The council said it has no plans for safety drills and is "always open to any recommendations" following incidents.

Cardiff council said schools have "comprehensive critical incident plans and procedures in place" and undergo "regular testing".

It added that is is reviewing the plans with head teachers.

All schools in Vale of Glamorgan were contacted to remind them of "the importance of having a well-structured and well-practiced lockdown policy" to keep pupils and staff safe, said the council.

What is a Code Red?

Ysgol Dyffryn Aman was put in a Code Red situation after the stabbings.

So what are these procedures?

Emergency planning advice from Carmarthenshire council said all external doors should be locked, pupils and staff should remain in or retreat to classrooms which can be locked or barricaded.

Blinds and curtains should be drawn, and mobiles put on silent.

A whole or partial school lockdown buys time for emergency services to intervene.

Related Stories