Health and safety in schools shouldn’t be used as a barrier for fun education
I was really sad to read an article written on the Safety and Health Practitioner website just last week on ‘ Health and safety used as an excuse to avoid school trips, say MPs’ (you can read the full article here)
Basically the article highlights the fact that a lot of teachers who haven’t had the right level of training and support to organise work outside of the classroom are using the Health and Safety angle as the perfect excuse not to take the children in their care on school trips. These field trips are so important for the education in our children as it is ‘in the field’ where theory can be turned into practise and ‘real-world’ experiences are developed.
This got me thinking about what could be done to aid health and safety in schools where a field trip is concerned and although it is certainly good practice to have an alternative plan, should unforeseen circumstances such as hazardous weather conditions force a change of arrangements, on no account should ‘health and safety’ ever be used to as a reason to force the cancellation of a school trip.
The more positive action is that children should be involved in the risk management process to discuss what risk controls should be implemented to facilitate the event and thus add to the learning process.
Risk assessment is a tool that makes a management contribution – not something to be used as a barrier, the central question should therefore be what are the risk controls that need to be implemented to permit this event to proceed – safely?