Kent

Brexit no-deal: Kent schools told 'prepare for lockdown'

Children in a primary school Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Road congestion in the event of a no-deal Brexit may leave staff and pupils struggling to get to school, the report warns

A no-deal Brexit could lead to schools having to close in the event of staff shortages or reduced air quality, teachers have been warned.

Guidance issued by Kent County Council has suggested traffic congestion may disrupt teaching and exams.

Ian Watts, area education officer at the council, said: "It would be remiss to assume no impact."

Head teacher Alan Brooks added: "If we do have major congestion on the roads, we will struggle very badly to open,"

The guidance details the "logistical or organisational challenges" the county faces as host to major roads and ports, including the M2, M20, Dover and Sheerness.

This means the impact "could be greater than elsewhere in the UK", it warns.

It adds: "An increase in border checks at the Channel ports and Eurotunnel possibly resulting in a slowdown of operations and build-up of freight" could cause "severe network congestion".

'Worst case scenario'

It warns teachers to prepare for transport challenges for staff, parents and pupils; and suggests schools might even have to close.

It also warns of possible disruption to supply chains, including deliveries of food, fuel and medicines.

And it suggests schools plan for possible "lockdown" if air quality deteriorates.

Mr Watts said: "We cannot easily predict the eventual impact of the UK exiting the European Union, but it would be remiss to assume no impact.

"It is always the case in emergency planning that the worst case scenario should be planned for.

Mr Brookes said that even with preparations they could struggle to stay open.

"If the roads do clog, we will have real difficulties in getting sufficient teachers in to make it safe for the students to actually attend the school," he explained.

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