STUDENTS had to hide under tables while doors were barricaded in Winnersh as they practised a school lockdown drill.

The Forest School trialled the procedure as part of its efforts to teach pupils what to do in an emergency.

Parents were notified ahead of the drill and students were told how best to respond in any sort of lockdown emergency.

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It took place on November 28, following the Department for Education's lockdown procedure guidelines in the event of an attack.

The guide states schools are to sound a school-wide alert, call 999, and direct all students to a safe location where possible.

Schools are advised to lock all windows and doors, and remain quiet, and for teachers to point out emergency exits.

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To end the procedure, all persons should wait until an all-clear has been given, unless emergency services tell them to evacuate.

A spokesperson from the Department of Education stated: "Schools have a duty to safeguard the health and wellbeing of pupils and it’s up to head teachers or the employer to have policies in place on security procedures, which may include lockdown procedures, but it’s not mandatory to do so.

"The department provides a range of guidance to support schools and colleges with their security plans, including guidance which provides advice on when it might be appropriate to put in place lockdown procedures."

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Shirley Austin, Headteacher at The Forest School, commented: "Parents and students were informed of the practise prior to events, as it is good practice to do so, and it was held so students can know what to do were there ever a need to have a lockdown.

"The lockdown procedure could be for anything, from a roaming dog to anything that could be considered more serious."