Health and Safety Failings In Schools Ofsted have found a string of health and safety failings in schools up and down the UK.
In particular, these health and safety failings have happened in illegal schools. Illegal schools aren’t often spoken about, and if they are, it’s usually negatively. High religious and cultural values or often held by illegal schools. They often bypass the legal requirements of having an english and maths curriculum, health and care plan.
How Can A School Be Illegal?
The health and safety in illegal schools can be dire as they aren’t registered with the local authority. Unfortunately, there’s a loophole and if a school doesn’t teach general classes of education, then it isn’t a school. For example, if an illegal school solely teaches religious education they can argue that they aren’t a school. However, faith schools account for 21% of the 500 illegal schools found, meaning they aren’t solely limited to religion.
This means that a large proportion of these illegal schools may have outrageous health and safety failings as they are able to operate without inspections.
Examples Of Health And Safety Failings In Schools
The issue of illegal schools is so prominent that Ofsted have created an unregistered schools taskforce. Taskforce inspector, Sue Will, was shocked at the health and safety failings witnessed. Failings include:
Portable buildings balanced on top of another Open sewers Rat traps Exposed wires Locked fire doors Teachers not undergoing pre-employment checks Unregistered teachers
Sue comments ‘Some of the buildings have been in a really poor state…I always find it so shocking.’
Illegal Schools Are Difficult To Find
It’s not a simple task finding an illegal school. Local authorities have been unwittingly sending children to illegal schools. A council paid £27,000 a year for one of its students to be educated in an unregistered setting, a case reported. With illegal schools being hard to find, it’s a tough task ensuring the health and safety of pupils.
How Can We Reduce Health And Safety Failings Within Schools?
Hundreds of children are injured at legitimate and illegal schools each year.
We spoke to our health and safety manager, Wayne Dunning, as we wanted to know how schools can improve their health and safety. “These figures are shocking and clearly not enough is being done to protect children in schools from what are, in the main, preventable accidents. The statistics emerging are only the tip of the iceberg and the total number of accidents occurring in schools across England and Wales no doubt runs into many thousands more”, Wayne comments.
“The fact that the health, safety and wellbeing of pupils in illegal schools has long gone unnoticed is worrying. But we can be thankful that Ofsted is trying to clamp down on such schools.”
Wayne concludes: “Health and safety can definitely be improved within the education sector in general, and many areas are being overlooked by school managers and teachers. Whether this is through the school’s own ignorance or because they haven’t got the required knowledge to keep on top of health and safety, much more needs to be done.”
Here’s How To Reduce Health And Safety Failings In Your School