Friday, 8 July 2011

Heath and Safety: Advice on Training, Reporting, LA powers & EVC


Employers must ensure that staff are given the health and safety training they need for their job. This certainly doesn’t mean that all employees have to attend a training course. It may simply mean providing them with basic instructions or information about health and safety in the school. Staff who do work which involves a greater element of risk, such as using woodworking machines, will need more training. There is more information available at abroad Schools in England, Wales and Scotland will need to comply with their duties under health and safety law when planning trips abroad.

Any injury to or death of a member of staff or a child outside Great Britain may be subject to the law of the land in which the injury/death occurred.

A school could still be liable under civil law for injuries to children that happen abroad as a result of negligence on the part of the school or its staff.

Reporting injuries and accidents

Serious work-related injuries to a member of staff or a child must, by law, be recorded and reported. The employer is responsible for this, but staff may be asked to prepare the report. What, how, where and when to report is explained on the HSE website at

Employers must report:

• deaths

• major injuries

• over-3-day injuries – where an employee is away from work or unable to perform their normal work duties for more than 3 consecutive days

• where there is an accident connected to the work activity which causes injury to pupils, members of the public or other people not at work and they are taken from the scene of an accident to hospital

• specified dangerous occurrences – where something happens that does not result in an injury, but could have done;

The requirements are found in the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR).

Adventure activities using licensed providers

When planning an activity that will involve caving, climbing, trekking, skiing or watersports schools must currently check that the provider holds a licence as required by the Adventure Activities Licensing Regulations 2004. These regulations apply to adventure activities that take place in England, Scotland and Wales but these arrangements may be subject to change in the future.

School staff driving the school minibus School staff can drive the school minibus without any special licence, as long as their employer agrees and as long as the following conditions are met.

• The staff member obtained their car driving licence before January 1997; OR

• The staff member obtained their car driving licence later, but has held it for at least two years, AND is not being paid to drive the minibus (because exemption depends on no consideration being received by the driver); AND the minibus weighs no more than 3.5 tonnes and is used not for hire or reward Parental consent to off-site activities

Written consent from parents is not required for pupils to take part in the majority of off-site activities organised by a school (with the exception of nursery age children) as most of these activities take place during school hours and are a normal part of a child’s education at school.

However, parents should be told where their child will be at all times and of any extra safety measures required.

Written consent is usually only requested for activities that need a higher level of risk management or those that take place outside school hours. The Department has prepared a “one-off” consent form which schools can ask parents to sign when a child enrols at the school. This will cover a child’s participation in any of these types of activities throughout their time at the school. These include adventure activities, off-site sporting fixtures outside the school day, residential visits and all off-site activities for nursery schools which take place at any time (including during school holidays or at the weekend).

The form is available at

Parents must be told in advance of each activity and must be given the opportunity to withdraw their child from any particular school trip or activity covered by the form.

Local Authority Powers

Where the local authority is the employer (community, voluntary controlled, community special schools and maintained nursery schools), it may give a direction concerning the health and safety of persons (including pupils) on the school's premises or taking part in any school activities elsewhere. Under section 29(5) of the Education Act 2002, governing bodies of such schools must comply with any such direction from the local authority.

Role of the Educational Visits Coordinator (EVC)

There is no requirement to have an EVC. The EVC typically liaises with the local authority’s outdoor education adviser and helps colleagues in schools to manage risks.

More specific advice can be found from the Outdoor Education Advisers Panel (OEAP) which is made up of expert practitioners from local authorities and is one of several organisations that offers training. The OEAP’s website ( also provides schools with details of local authority outdoor education advisers.


Sometimes aggressive or abusive behaviour from a parent can present a risk to staff and children. School premises are private property and parents will generally have permission from the school to be on school premises. However, in cases of abuse or threats to staff, pupils or other parents, schools may ban parents from entering the school.

It is also an offence under section 547 of the Education Act 1997 for any person (including a parent) to cause a nuisance or disturbance on school premises. The police may be called to assist the school in removing a parent but local authorities and governing bodies may also authorise a person to remove a person if they have reasonable cause to believe that the person is causing a nuisance or a disturbance.

Schools should have a written policy setting out the behaviour expected of parents on the premises and the procedures that will happen when the school wishes to restrict a parent’s access to school premises. A parent who has been banned from entering school premises is trespassing if he or she does so without permission.


Legislative links and for information on transport legislation affecting schools

External links

• Health and Safety Executive
• Outdoor Education Advisers’ Panel
• provides advice on science safety
• Association for Science Education
• Association for PE
• Council for Learning Outside the Classroom

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