Sleepovers in schools

Students or non-school groups might want to have a sleepover at your school. As a board of trustees, you need a written agreement with the group having the sleepover, and any area used for sleeping must meet certain fire safety requirements.

Allowing people to have sleepovers at school

A community group may want to use your school hall or classroom for a sleepover. If you agree to this, you must have a formal agreement with them.

Use the Casual Use Agreement.

See: Leasing or hiring land and buildings to third parties.

Fire safety for sleepovers

Notifying the local Fire Commander

When there is a sleepover at a school, you must notify the local fire risk management officer to ensure that in the event of a fire, the Fire Service is aware that people may be in a building.

The sleeping area

There must be an automatic fire alarm system with smoke detectors wherever there is a sleepover at your school.

The automatic fire alarm system must include:

  • smoke detectors
  • manual call points, which allow people to push a button to set off a fire alarm.

If there are more than 40 people in a "group sleeping area" (hall, classroom or other area used for sleeping), there must be a sprinkler fire system and more than one means of escape.

If a "group sleeping area" does not have a sprinkler system, the area (fire cell) cannot include a kitchen (but may include tea making facilities).

A “waking watch” is not a substitution for automatic smoke detection.

These rules apply to:

  • all sleepovers – for students as well as outside groups
  • overnight stays – even where no sleep is intended, like the 40 Hour Famine.

Safeguarding against fire

Make sure:

  • That each person has access to wide unobstructed egress pathways to all exits
  • mattresses and other items are away from heaters and heating vents
  • powerpoints are not overloaded with heating or cooking devices
  • all emergency exits are clear and well lit
  • everyone is told where the exits are and where to meet if there is a fire
  • there are torches on hand.

The Ministry encourages schools to engage your local fire risk management officer to provide specific advice on what your school can do to make sleepovers safe.

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