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Virtual Snowstorm hits King Edward's Witley

Published Tuesday 15th of December 2015 02:17:22 PM

It was an early start on the morning of Thursday, 26th November, for the senior management teams of both the School and its caterers, Holroyd Howe, when, without warning, a virtual snow storm hit King Edward’s as a test of the School’s Disaster Recovery Plan for this essential area of School life. The scenario implemented was of heavy snow falling from 6 am, making catering deliveries and staff access impossible by 7.30 am. Following a normal breakfast service for some 275 boarders and day pupils who arrive early, the emergency planning went into overdrive. What stocks did the kitchens have of fresh and frozen foods? Which menus would need altering? Which staff due in on later shifts would not arrive? Which off duty on site staff would need to be called in? How many days could the kitchens provide catering for? Which events might be rescheduled because of the weather? Would meal service times need altering? Could kitchen staff be accommodated overnight? In accordance with the Disaster Recovery Plan, the School’s Response Team met to consider the information provided by the caterers, looking at the wider issues likely to arise in such a scenario, including contingency arrangements for the forthcoming exeat weekend. During the course of the morning, Helene Wood, the Catering Duty Manager, faced the additional challenges of an assumed loss to the kitchens firstly of electricity for half an hour during the lunch production and then of their main water supply. Against this backdrop, 525 lunches were successfully served with minimal impact on the School’s pupils and staff, albeit with a revised menu. The virtual storm ended at 2 pm, much to the relief of Helene who commented, “After the initial shock, and having been briefed, I responded to each aspect of the challenge and was impressed with how our staff worked together and supported ea The School’s Director of Finance & Administration, Andrew Lewis, commented that this was just one of the multitude of scenarios that the School has contingency plans in place for. The School always learns from such exercises and plans can be enhanced accordingly. The only unplanned casualty of the day was the lack of coffee for teaching staff at break time and Andrew would like to go on record to formally apologise for this!
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