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Safer Schools Bulletin September 2014

Accidents/Incidents Advice:

Between April 2013 and March 2014 there were 86 accidents to staff. 37 of these were for slips and trips this equates to 43%.

Slip and trip accidents in education premises happen for a number of reasons.  They typically involve:

  • members of staff or pupils/students running or carrying heavy or awkward items,
  • wearing unsuitable footwear,
  • poor lighting - particularly where there are uneven surfaces and changes of level
  • contamination - both from wet surfaces - caused by water, and fluid spillages; and slippery surfaces - caused by contaminants e.g. food, litter etc.
  • Obstructions - particularly bags and trailing cables

In order to reduce these we need to raise the profile of slips and trips.  Health and Safety will be focusing on this area utilising the HSE slips and trips assessment package - including the new 'Mapping Tool'.

Policy Update:

Asset Management Notification Procedure:

Why is the procedure being introduced?

The purpose of the procedure AMD Notification262.5KB is to notify Asset Management and Health and Safety in advance of construction work when the School Management arrange the works independently.

Using the procedure will allow Asset Management to ensure that any works completed do not impact on other safety critical areas and help Schools plan works and fulfil their legal duties.

What are the responsibilities/duties?

Both South Tyneside Council (STC) and Schools have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure the safety of staff, pupils and others:

Asset Management must ensure that STC properties are managed and maintained to current regulations - Gas Safety, Asbestos, Electricity, etc. In order to do this they need to be informed of changes/alterations within the school that may impact on fabric of the building.

Example A - Asset Management would not need to know if you are changing internal door handles, but if you were to take out the doors and the frames and replace with new this may impact on asbestos and fire safety - replacing with the correct fire rated door.

Example B - When installing ICT equipment and cabling in a school this may impact on asbestos and fire safety (damaging the fire breaks in the ceiling void).

School Heads, Governors, Federations, etc. that step outside of the SLA/Asset Management control must ensure they complete any works within the school safely and to current regulations. Schools take on client responsibilities when initiating construction works where projects are commissioned independently of Asset Management.

What is a Client?

A client is an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out, e.g. the Head Teacher and Governors at individual schools.

By definition, a client is someone who has substantial influence and control and who:

a) Ultimately decides what is to be constructed, where, when and by whom.

b) Commissions the design and construction work.

c) Is at the head of the procurement chain and makes appropriate resources available, including time and money.

d) Engages the contractors.

e) Initiates the work.

On all projects clients will need to:

  • Check competence and resources of all appointees
  • Ensure there are suitable management arrangements for the project welfare facilities
  • Allow sufficient time and resources for all stages
  • Provide pre-construction information e.g. location of Asbestos, gas, electricity, to designers and contractors

Where projects are CDM notifiable (30 working days or more or involve more than 500 person days of work) under CDM 2007, clients must also:  

  • Appoint a CDM co-ordinator and principal contractor
  • Make sure that construction work does not start unless a construction phase plan is in place and there are adequate welfare facilities on site
  • Provide information relating to the health and safety file to the CDM co-ordinator
  • Retain and provide access to the health and safety file

Examples of when the Head and Governors will be classed as the client are:

Example A: the Head and Governors have decided to have an extension built onto an existing room. The request for the work is being raised by the school. In this case the Head and Governors will be classed as the Client.

The project is estimated to last 45 days therefore a CDM Co-ordinator and Principal Contractor must be appointed by the Head/Governors. The CDM Co-ordinator has the responsibility of notifying the Health and Safety Executive of the works although the Client must sign the notification document.

Example B: a room within a school requires re-plastering. The school has requested the work. It has been estimated that the job will take, two people, nine days to complete, giving a total of eighteen person days.

Although CDM still applies to this job there is no requirement to notify the HSE or appoint a CDM Co-ordinator due to the length of time the job will take.

However the client, in this case the Head and Governors, are still responsible for ensuring that all those involved in the process are competent to carry out their particular role and relevant information is passed to the contractors i.e. location of asbestos.

Why 4 weeks?

Many of the minor works will not require this, some larger works may require more. We need to ensure that Asset Management are aware of the works so other professionals are alerted to offer advice - Health and Safety, Fire, Electricity, Gas, Asbestos, etc. You also must take into account Planning and Building Regulations which can add time onto a project.

Surveys may need to be commissioned from external providers which will take time to procure and deliver the reports.

If Asbestos works are required, these take several weeks to arrange and may then need separate 'notification' to the HSE which immediately incurs a further 2 week period of delay. These timescales are governed by the Asbestos Management Regulations 2012 and apply to all contractors - not just Asset Management.


  • The procedure allows Asset Management to ensure that any works completed do not impact on safety critical areas and help Schools plan works and fulfil their legal duties.
  • STC and Schools have responsibilities under the HASWA 1974 to ensure the safety of staff, pupils and others.
  • A client has substantial influence and control over the construction project.
  • Health and Safety and Asset Management need time to assess your project to ensure that the right level of advice and support is provided and contractors have sufficient time for each stage of the project, from concept onwards.

Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions

What is this new requirement?

From September 1st 2014 Section 100 of the Children and Families Act 2014 places a statutory duty on governing bodies of maintained schools, proprietors of academies and management committees of PRUs to make arrangements for supporting pupils at their school with medical conditions.

In meeting the duty, the governing body, proprietor or management committee must have regard to the guidance issued by the Secretary of State under this section.

The non-statutory advice is provided to assist and guide:

  • schools, academies, (including alternative provision academies) and PRUs
  • local authorities
  • clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHS England
  • anyone who has an interest in promoting the wellbeing and academic attainment of children with medical conditions, including alternative provision, e.g. independent schools
  • parents/carers and pupils
  • health service providers

'Supporting pupils at school with medical conditions' guidance was issued by the Department for Education on 30 April (updated 23rd June), replacing 'Managing medicines in schools and early settings 2005'.

Schools already have procedures in place for dealing with pupils' medical conditions using the current Individual Healthcare Plan (IHP), the new Act and guidance establishes a robust framework, steering schools and Governing Bodies towards a more joined up approach.

What are the Key points?

  1. Pupils at school with medical conditions should be properly supported to ensure full access to education, school trips and physical education.
  2. Governing bodies must ensure that arrangements are in place to support pupils at school with medical conditions.
  3. Governing bodies should ensure that school leaders consult health and social care professionals, pupils and parents to ensure that the needs of children with medical conditions are effectively supported.
  4. Ofsted will be assessing the schools policy to ensure that it is put into practice effectively.

What does the guidance include?

  • Development and regular review of a policy;
  • Policy to be made available to staff and parents;
  • A named person with overall responsibility should be identified for implementing the policy;
  • Liaison with parents, medical professionals, and (where appropriate) pupils, to put in place an IHP;
  • Procedures to be:
  1. followed when a schools are notified that a pupil has a medical condition;
  2. put in place to manage medicines on school premises;
  3. established for dealing with emergencies;
  • Written records are to be kept of all medicines administered to children; and
  • That staff are appropriately trained and supported to deal with the medical conditions of pupils.

What help and advice is available?

Medical Conditions at School website offers information to help schools and school healthcare professionals support all pupils with medical conditions.

PLEASE NOTE: The materials and information within the Medical Conditions at School website are currently being reviewed. This is to help schools and school healthcare professionals ensure that they meet the duty of care for children with medical conditions as detailed in the Children and Families Act 2014. This site will be updated once this review has been completed.

Help and Feedback:

If you have any questions about the issues raised or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to contact me.

We would also welcome your feedback generally on this publication and any key topics you would like to see in the next edition.

Further information: 

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