From The Government Website Department for Education

Responsibilities and Powers

Health and safety responsibilities in schools derive from the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and associated regulations. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enforces health and safety law relating to the activities of LAs and schools.
Health and safety duties and responsibilities apply to employers of school staff and employees.
The health and safety of staff, pupils and visitors while on school premises or involved in school-organised activities (e.g. educational visits) must be protected as far as is reasonably practicable. Risk assessments should be undertaken of all activities and measures put in place to minimise or control risks.
Headteachers, heads of department, staff, governors and LAs all have roles to play. These are further explained in 'Managing Health and Safety in Schools' (available to purchase from HSE Books). (accessed Oct 2010)

Health and Safety Responsibilities

the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) site has some invaluable resources and key guides

Advice on organising educational visits can be found in the Department's 1998 good practice guide Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits, which is available to download from the right hand side of this page.
Supplements to the good practice guide were produced in 2002. The following components are available to download:
  • Standards for LAs in Overseeing Educational Visits sets out the functions of the educational visits coordinator in schools and the levels of risk management that LAs and schools could use.
  • Standards for Adventure is aimed at the teacher or youth worker who leads young people on adventure activities.
  • A Handbook for Group Leaders is aimed at anyone who leads groups of young people on any kind of educational visit. It sets out good practice in supervision, ongoing risk assessment and emergency procedures.
  • Group Safety at Water Margins is aimed at anyone who organises learning activities that take place near or in water, such as a walk along a river bank or seashore, collecting **samples** from ponds or streams, or paddling or walking in gentle, shallow water.
From time to time it may prove necessary to amend these documents. If you have any suggestions for improvement or additions, please email Martin Elliot (see contact details below).
Other documents you may find useful are also available to download:
  • Health and Safety: Responsibilities and Powers, was originally sent to all schools and LAs in December 2001.
  • Licensing Incidental Drivers of the School Minibus states that school staff driving the minibus are exempt from the D1 PCV requirement but should be given appropriate training.
While we recommend that school staff should seek to resolve internally any disagreement about health and safety management affecting pupils, we recognise that staff may believe a safety risk has not been adequately dealt with. Staff have a right, in such a circumstance, to raise such concern about risk management and not get into trouble for doing so. The law protects them when they make a disclosure if it tends to show, for example, a danger to the health and safety of an individual. Employees can disclose their concern to a manager, or their employer, or the Health and Safety Executive. They can even go to other outsiders in certain circumstances. For more information on whistleblowing in the workplace, follow the link on the right hand side of the page.

School Trips � Glenridding Beck

The Health and Safety Executive has produced a comprehensive report on the lessons learned from the tragic death of Max Palmer on a school visit to Cumbria in 2002. The report praises the professional care of most teachers and others when planning and leading visits. It also flags up the immense benefit of outdoor education when based on proper risk management.
The report speaks positively about the guidance published by the Department and which is available above and highlights ten vital questions that should be answered before an educational visit takes place. You can read the report on the HSE website. (Accessed Oct 2010)

Health and Safety on Educational Visits

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Health and Safety is an important side of ICT, which we all need to be aware and vigulent of.
A specific site to support internet safety is CEOP , Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre , which provides tips for different age groups and how to keep safe whilst on line. Additioanlly the site has a Teachers page with resources to support pupils in keeping safe, the resources are fantastic and available in a variety of download formats and languages.

Continuing with Health and safety Becta have a comprehensive list of how to work safely with ICT, which is listed below, giving clear guidance and outlines as an aid to memoire to ICT within schools:

How to work safely with ICT

ICT offers a range of benefits for teaching and learning, but all computers and devices need to be used with care. This material looks at the health and safety issues involved in using computers in general, in the classroom and in the ICT suite.
Computers and peripherals such as printers are electrical equipment, so there are some general points to consider:
  • Ensure that all electrical installations are carried out by a qualified electrician.
  • All equipment must be of a reliable standard and should be checked annually by qualified electricians.
  • Ensure that no cabling is trailing on the floor.
  • Ensure that seating is suitable for the size of pupils using it.
  • Ensure that benching is sturdy enough to withstand the weight of the hardware and additional equipment stored on it.
  • Follow health and safety guidance regarding the height, position and distance of monitors and keyboards from pupils when working.
  • If you are using a data projector, make sure that all leads are safely located, and that pupils don�t walk around the back of working areas which have cables.
  • If you are using an interactive whiteboard, ensure that all children can reach it without standing on anything.
  • If using data projectors or interactive whiteboards, ensure that pupils never look directly into the beam of the projector. If presenting to the class and entering the beam, pupils should not look towards the audience for more than a few seconds, and ideally should keep their backs to the beam at all times.
  • Children should be supervised at all times during the operation of data projectors or interactive whiteboards. Ensure that pupils never look directly into the beam of the projector, and if presenting to the class and entering the beam, pupils should not look towards the audience for more than a few seconds. Ideally they should keep their backs to the beam at all times.
  • If you are working with programmable toys such as floor turtles, create a clearly defined working area; use markers or seating to define the work space to ensure that pupils do not accidentally fall over equipment.

Working safely in the ICT suite

Pupils should be aware of rules for using the ICT suite. Ideally, they will be involved in devising these rules and may make posters explaining why the rules are necessary.
  • Fire exits must be kept clear at all times; do not allow them to be blocked by equipment or pupils� bags.
  • If pupils are going to be seated for extended periods, ensure that good-quality seating is provided which supports the back.
  • Seating should be height-adjustable so that monitors and keyboards are correctly positioned and pupils do not have to look up or down at the monitor for prolonged periods.
  • Check to see if there is too much reflected light on monitor screens, making it difficult for pupils to see.
  • Ensure that pupils can see displays adequately.
  • Make sure that pupils have room to make notes or use textbooks alongside the computer.
  • Ensure that the room temperature does not get too warm because computers are kept switched on for prolonged periods.
  • Ensure that there is enough fresh air circulating; installing a fan simply moves the warm, stale air about without renewing it.

Working safely in the classroom

There are some issues that are more relevant to working on computers in the classroom:
  • Locate the computers in areas where pupils can sit and work without distracting or disrupting others in the class.
  • Ensure that procedures for connecting peripherals (scanners, digital cameras, webcams, control technology equipment and monitoring equipment), adhere to school and local authority health and safety guidelines.
  • Ensure that additional equipment is situated where it will not cause a hazard such as trailing cables.
  • If you are using laptops, ensure that they are located on firm desks or tables.
  • Ensure that all electrical equipment is located away from water supplies, and that pupils have a sound knowledge of electrical safety.
  • Ensure that pupils don�t take drinks to tables if they are working with electrical equipment such as cameras, videos, laptops, computers or datalogging equipment.
If you have a number of portable computers in the classroom, you may want to set up a procedure to be followed when they are to be moved. For example, you could stipulate that only a small group of pupils should move at a time, or designate specific pupils to be responsible for laptops.

The Every Child Matters (ECM) initiative is additionally high on agendas at the mement, Chemainais (2010) succinctly tablises where the ECM fits into the curriculum.