Why is Health and Safety in school important?

Health and Safety is an important part of school life and keeping children and adult's safe is essential within our teaching and learning environments. 

 

Pupils should be safe in school and when undertaking out of school activities. The risk management to keep them safe should be proportionate to the nature of the activities.

 

Teachers should be able to take pupils on exciting school trips that broaden their horizons. Pupils should be able to play freely in the playground and be able to take part in sports. 

 

The employer  is accountable for the health and safety of school staff and pupils. The day-to-day running of the school is usually delegated to the headteacher and the school management team. In most cases, they are responsible for ensuring that risks are managed effectively. This includes health and safety matters.

 

Schools must appoint a competent person to ensure they meet their health and safety duties. A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to give sensible guidance about managing the health and safety risks at the school.

 

This can be someone appointed directly by the school, one or more of its staff, or the employer can arrange support from outside the school. In most schools, the senior leadership team can manage risks. 

 

Commitment from senior management is essential for effective health and safety management. Strong leadership is also vital. 

 

Schools must have a health and safety policy in place. This should be an integral part of the school’s culture, values and performance standards. The key elements of the policy should:

  • set out the roles and responsibilities within risk management processes
  • the mechanisms to control risk
  • specific control measures that need to be implemented

 

In most schools, the headteacher is responsible for implementing this. Based on a thorough risk assessment, they should update it to reduce and reflect new risks. The risk assessment must cover the risks to the health and safety of employees and of persons (including pupils) who are not employees of the school.

 

Risk assessments identify measures to control risks during school activities. Health and safety law requires the school to assess risks and put in place proportionate control measures. The law also requires it to record details of risk assessments, the measures taken to reduce these risks and expected outcomes.