With children returning to the classroom in September and the threat of Coronavirus beginning to fade with vaccines being rolled out, it’s looking like schools will be ensuring the safety of your children like they have for many years previously. Even though safety in schools has been under the microscope since the outbreak of Covid-19, there have been policies in place for many years that you might be unaware of, that keep the children safe.
Health and Safety
While at school your child’s safety is ultimately the responsibility of the head teacher and management staff. This is managed day to day by the health and safety policies that school are required to have. It is required that schools appoint a ‘competent’ person to ensure that these health and safety requirements are being met. The person appointed is essential that this person has the relevant knowledge and experience to fulfil this role and keep every child safe.
It is required by law that all school have a health and safety policy that is ingrained in the everyday running of the school. Within the policy there should be clear roles and responsibilities for members of staff and clear strategies on how to manage any risks and incidents. The responsibility of monitoring and updating this policy when needed is the head teacher.
Every school will have its own personalised security policy. Every school has different security and safety procedures because every school is in a different location, has a different layout and that comes with its own safety concerns. The policy will outline the roles of staff, students and the wider community if an incident occurs. Its common practice that a school will work with the police and Local Government will be involved with a school security and safety policy.
A security policy won’t just cover protecting students for external threats, but also protecting them for any internal risks. Internal risks can involve the welfare of students, including the potential for serious violent crime, drugs and child exploitation. All staff have the responsibility to be aware of the associated risks and understand the measure put in place to manage them.
External threats covered within the policy can include; school evacuation, bomb alert and treat procedure, lockdown template and terrorist incidents. Not only will there be policy in place to handle these situations if they arrive, but also aftercare policies. These can include; debrief and lessons learned plans and post incident support documents.
Schools often have security cameras on the premises, to monitor students as well as those entering and leaving the grounds. Most schools will have a main entrance, with a receptionist to meet any visitors, this also acts as a way ensure only people with permission enter the school building. Many schools also employ a fob based or coded entry system for staff, not only on external doors but on some internal doors as well. This means that staff can move freely about the building, while maintaining the safety of locked doors.
It may sound complicated, technical and a little bit scary, but all these policies are there to ensure your child is safe and happy at school. All eventualities are covered in these procedures, to ensure the smooth and effective reaction if a serious incident was to occur. If all staff and students are familiar with the safety measures put in place, then they are more likely to stay safe if anything untoward happens.
The government have stated that schools no longer need to have restrictions surrounding the coronavirus. They have laid out some new guidance for schools to follow.
Mixing and Bubbles
The government say that it is no longer necessary to keep children in the same groups or bubble. This means schools are able to be more flexible with their curriculum delivery, be able to return to traditional assemblies and don’t have to keep children separate at lunch. However there needs to be an outbreak management plan that includes the possibility of reintroducing bubbles if needed for limited time.
The government no longer advises that pupils in schools wear face coverings. The same goes for staff and visitors in classrooms or communal areas. However, as much as the government no longer requires face coverings to be warn, it does recommend that schools use their discretion and advises that face coverings should be worn in enclosed, crowded spaces, where students may come into contact with people they wouldn’t normally. This would include public transport to and from school or college.
All info from www.gov.uk
You may not have realised the amount of work that goes in to make your child’s school a safe environment. It’s reassuring to know that most eventualities have been thought of. In this time of Covid-19 it’s more important than ever that schools follow correct procedure to keep everyone safe.