How can schools and Universities manage the safety of their students?

Students must be safe in school and Universities and when undertaking out of school chores and activities. The risk management when managing safety in schools in order to keep them safe needs to be proportionate to the nature of the activities.



Teachers have to be able to take students on exciting school activities and trips that encourage them and broaden their horizons. Students of schools should also be able to play in the playground and be able to play sports.

The independent of the school who acts as an employer for teachers will be accountable for the safety of school staff and students. The day-to-day running of the University or school is typically delegated to the head-teacher and the education centre management team. Usually, they are responsible for guaranteeing that risks are managed efficiently. This includes all safety as well as health matters.

Schools and Universities need to appoint a competent person to guarantee they meet their safety duties. A competent person is an individual with the adequate level of skills, knowledge as well as experience to provide sensible guidance about managing the safety risks at the University or school.

This can be a person appointed directly by the education centre, one or more of its staff, or the director of the centre may also arrange support from outside the centre. In most Universities and schools, the senior leadership team is able to manage the risks.



Commitment from senior management is vital for an efficient safety management. A strong leadership is essential too.

Schools and Universities need to have a proper health and safety policy. This must be an integral part of the centre’s culture, performance standards and values. The most important elements of the policy will be:

• set out the responsibilities of the risk management processes
• set out mechanisms in order to control risk
• set out control measures that will need to be implemented

In most schools and other education centres, the head-teacher is mainly responsible for implementing this aspect. Based on a risk assessment, they should keep it updated in order to reduce new risks. The risk assessment needs to cover the main risks to the safety of teachers and of other people (including students, of course) who are not workers of the school.

The assessment should be reviewed if:

• there is a legit reason to suspect that it‘s not valid anymore
• there is a significant change in related matters

Universities and schools must record significant findings of the assessment. They need to identify any group of workers identified by it as being particularly at risk.

If teachers or senior leaders feel the process is not fully appropriate, they will need to discuss it with the head-teacher or the employer.


Elements of a safety policy

Every safety policy must be separated into four main elements:

• Planning – the leaders must set the direction for effective safety management.
• Execution – implement management systems that guarantee risks are dealt with appropriately, responsibly, sensibly and proportionately.
• Review – reporting, tracking and monitoring.
• Action – a management review of the safety performance.

The policy needs to be proportionate and relevant to the education centre or school. The selected individual in the centre or school will work with the employer and its safety advisors to create the policy.

Mary Jones

Mary is a London-based copywriter. Her passions are the online world and music, and in her free time she enjoys reading her favourite books as well as playing chess and travelling.

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