Health and safety in education
Health and safety responsibilities in respect of schools.
The law places duties on a number of organisations and individuals in respect of protecting the health, safety and welfare of employees and others who use or visit schools. What does this mean in practice?
- the employer (*) of school staff, is responsible for ensuring that they operate in such a way as to protect the health, safety and welfare of school staff and of pupils and visitors, both within school and during off-site activities.
- Persons controlling school premises (Governing Bodies and Head Teachers) have a duty to ensure that the premises are safe and without risks to health of visitors and pupils.
(*) In the case of Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools the employer is the LA whereas in Academies and Voluntary Aided and Foundation Schools the Governing Body is the employer as well as having control of premises.
The employer is also responsible for risk assessments of activities and introducing measures to control those risks.
The 'Risk assessment - appeal judgement' article under related downloads gives an example of how implementation of quite simple measures can enable the employer to meet their legal obligations whilst still allowing activities that carry some risk to take place.
Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools
- Bexley Health and Safety Policy statement and a model local Policy statement and Organisation can be adapted by each School
- Guidance and model documents including risk assessments are available for ensuring that the school's aims and objectives for securing a safe and healthy working environment, as set out in each School's policy statement, are achieved
- Latest information on Health and Safety is published as 'Health and Safety Bulletins' (usually for safety alerts and other urgent matters) and regular 'Newsletters'
- Senior School staff and Governors are also briefed on particular issues
- Health and Safety is regularly audited within Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools within Bexley, and the proformas used, published after each year's Audit round
Academies and Voluntary Aided and Foundation Schools
The governing bodies and head teachers of these establishments need to have their own Health and Safety policy and set out their own organisation and arrangements for ensuring health and safety. Whilst free to use the information on this website, including the section on Governor Briefings, they should take their own independent advice.