Schools have independently increased their lockdown and training drills as education bosses carry out their own review into lockdown guidelines after the March 15 Christchurch mosque shootings.

The Ministry of Education is carrying out a wide-ranging review of all processes relating to lockdowns after the shootings.

Several schools were placed in lockdown during the attacks, in which 51 Muslim worshippers lost their lives.

Just days after the mosque attacks, a person with a BB gun put multiple West Auckland schools in lockdown.


The Avondale schools were ordered to go into lockdown by police as a precaution.

href="" target="_blank">School lockdown review after Christchurch mosque horror
Focus Live: Armed police in West Auckland, schools in lockdown

Yesterday afternoon, Flat Bush School and Flat Bush Kindergarten in Otara were put into lockdown after gunshots in the area .

The Avondale and Otara schools involved in the recent lockdowns had been through prior training with Harrison Tew - a private company specialising in emergency procedures.

The company was set up six years ago by ex-police officers Wade and Julie Harrison and offers a programme to prepare schools for everything from shootings to medical events to swarms of bees.

The company now gives advice and training to more than 450 schools.

Wade Harrison said since the March 15 attacks, more schools had signed up and existing schools had called to review lockdown procedures.

Harrison said there had also been a remarkable change in the attitude from parents who were initially unhappy with lockdown drills.

"There were some families who did not think it was necessary or thought lockdown drills would alarm children so excused their children from class if they were running a drill," he said.

"That has now changed and people understand that we do not want to create anxiety or panic and children learn there is a procedure that is followed."

Katrina Casey says the Ministry of Education is reviewing guidelines of emergency lockdown procedures. Photo / Supplied
Katrina Casey says the Ministry of Education is reviewing guidelines of emergency lockdown procedures. Photo / Supplied

Auckland mum of two Audrey Henderson was happy there had been numerous lockdown drills at her children's schools.

"They always send out a few messages saying they are having a lockdown drill and then they will tell us when it is over and how it went," she said.

"It's great that schools are being proactive and making sure everyone is prepared if anything did happen."

Some schools were also using apps which alerted parents to when a school went into lockdown, an update during the lockdown and then notification when the lockdown had been lifted.

St Thomas's School in Kohimarama ran a full lockdown drill last week and principal Michael Maher said it could not have gone better.

"We have been with Harrison Tew for some time and see lockdown drills like we see fire drills and CPR training for staff," he said.

"We want our children to know what to do if there is a lockdown or evacuation situation."

Maher said parents and pupils were given advance warning and "a lot of information" about the lockdown procedure.

"We are fully transparent about the whole process so they know exactly what will happen and there is no panic.

"The children are very aware it is a drill but is also something they take very seriously."

The Ministry of Education said it wasn't surprised that while it carried out its own review that some schools were being proactive in the area.

Tauranga's Bellevue School in lockdown after a firearms incident in March. Photo / Andrew Warner
Tauranga's Bellevue School in lockdown after a firearms incident in March. Photo / Andrew Warner

"We have not provided any new advice to schools regarding lockdowns following the Christchurch terror attacks, however it is not surprising that schools are revisiting their procedures and/or practising their own emergency management procedures," said Katrina Casey, the ministry's sector enablement and support deputy secretary.

"Our guidance for planning and preparing for emergencies and traumatic incidents makes it clear that schools should run fire drills at least once a term and other drills as appropriate."

The Ministry of Education released in early April the terms of reference of its review into lockdowns in light of the Christchurch attacks.

Casey said the ministry was seeking a "diverse range of views".

"We are currently working together with Christchurch principal associations, representatives of the early childhood sector and the NZ Police to look at the whole of our system's emergency response," Casey said.

"We are looking at our existing guidelines, physical logistics, any processes that could improve lockdown practices, communications and procedures required for multiple lockdowns."

While the focus of the review would be on the response to the March 15 events, it would be applied to any potential future lockdown incidents.

"We expect to be updating our guidance and providing relevant information to schools once the review is completed," Casey said.

The review's terms of reference include "physical logistics" such as building design, toileting considerations, food, water and positioning of students during a lockdown.

The cut-off date for submissions is June 7, and the review's report is to be submitted to education bosses by the end of term in early July.