Communication and Reporting: Are Your Compliance Procedures Working?
Compliance procedures keep our schools safe for all those working and studying in them. But what happens when those same compliance procedures don’t work?
While it’s undoubtedly the case that schools have a responsibility to protect their staff, students and visitors from harm, it’s also true that school leaders, governors and teachers are already dealing with mountains of work.
So how can you ensure your compliance and reporting procedures are working effectively?
Here’s our quick guide to making your life easier. Let's dive in!
Risk assessments: two words that can put the fear into most teachers and leadership teams. We all have to do them to ensure that every child in every school is safe and looked after.
Risk assessments ensure that you’re fully aware of any potential threats within your school and classrooms.
To ensure your risk assessment procedures are working, refresh your existing policies to reflect current societal or environmental changes that may impact your school.
The most glaring one right now is COVID-19 and the government’s advice to thoroughly review your risk assessments using the already established system of controls.
You can also ensure that the following risk areas need to be ticked off on your risk assessment list:
- Movement around the classroom (to avoid trips, slips and other accidents)
- Safe fixtures, fittings and furniture
- Safe electrical equipment
- Appropriate and secure manual handling
- Safe computer workstations
- Fire safety
- Appropriate heating and ventilation
- Guidance on any asbestos in your school
We know that risk assessments on top of an already demanding day job can feel a bit much. Use our Documentation Area to upload and store existing risk assessments and policies, and create your own quick and easy ‘Dynamic Risk Assessment’ from scratch.
Health and Safety Training
While it’s not necessarily the most exciting subject on earth, your school needs more than just a health and safety policy gathering dust in a far corner of the staffroom.
Your policy needs to reflect the way the school manages health and safety and which staff members are responsible for delivering it. You also have a responsibility to train staff on the details of that policy and on how to administer it.
Any training must cover government guidance on health and safety for schools. You also need to specify how your staff can meet their roles and responsibilities identified within your health and safety policy.
Health and safety training not only ensures you’re taking a proactive approach to compliance, but you're also giving your teachers the tools they need to keep their children and classrooms safe.
Ideally, you’ll incorporate this training into your staff induction process and run online refresher courses for those that need it.
Check out our iAM Academy for our Health and Safety courses including fire safety, working at height and asbestos awareness. We’ve also got something for leadership and HR teams.
Routine School Premises Tasks
Since you’re not likely to have to conduct risk assessments and health and safety training on a daily basis, there will be routine school premises tasks that you’ll need to carry out to ensure you’re working within your compliance procedures.
However, your first step is to either create or update your existing premises management strategy. You need to ensure every relevant member of staff is aware of its existence and what part they play in maintaining its more routine aspects.
If you want to keep your school compliant, then it’s essential you stay on top of all the different aspects involved in running your premises.
We’re talking about:
- Weekly fire alarm tests
- Lighting checks
- Cleanliness checks
- An annual boiler service
- Intruder alarm tests
- Water temperature tests
- Regular fire door safety tests
And so on...
Remember, the devil’s in the detail. That’s why we’ve created the iAM Premises Compliance Area. It gives you a gentle nudge, so you remember which tasks you need to do and when. You'll never miss a compliance deadline again!
Staff and Student Wellbeing
Health and safety law makes it clear that staff must take personal responsibility for their own health and safety and that of others affected by what they do at work. While this is true, it’s also the school’s responsibility to look after the wellbeing of its staff and students.
By demonstrating to your staff and students that you have a responsible approach to health and safety and risk, you’re telling them you’re concerned with their wellbeing. We’re not saying you have to teach students to be risk-averse, just more risk-aware.
To stay staff and student wellbeing-compliant, here are a few tips:
- Keep accurate records of any accidents at school or during school trips
- Ask for advice from the HSE
- Ensure you have a student and staff wellbeing and mental health policy
- Establish and promote a wellbeing program for staff and students
- Follow the guidance for student physical health and mental wellbeing
- Ensure your team are adequately trained to pick up on potential wellbeing issues of all students, but particularly vulnerable ones
Lastly, test the temperature with regular staff wellbeing surveys and communicate the results even if they do make for difficult reading. Ideally, you’ll be able to do this by giving good news like: “You told us this…. So here’s what we did…”
Local and National Compliance
There’s national statutory guidance on what schools, academies and local councils have to do to stay compliant and within the law. This includes compliance in areas that include but are not exclusively:
- Register of pupil attendance
- Staff capability, discipline, conduct and grievance
- Records of recruiting and vetting checks
- Child protection policies and procedures
- First aid
- Health and safety
While you may not have the time or inclination to wade through every area the guidance covers, it’s essential you familiarise, follow, and train your staff in it.
We’ve saved one of the big ones until last! As far as schools are concerned, staying GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) compliant is a given. We know that you work with vast amounts of personal data.
Most notably, this includes:
- Pupil names
- Medical details
- Teacher names
- Job applicants
- Governor and volunteer information
...And that’s just for starters!
Schools have to stick to strict guidelines as outlined in the GDPR legislation 2018. This means your school has to demonstrate that it is GDPR compliant by ensuring it has data protection policies in place.
Not only that, but you have to ensure that any personal data that you’re storing on:
- Databases (offline and online)
...are covered by GDPR. You can do this by conducting data protection impact assessments. This helps to ensure your tech can deal with personal data safely. Failing that, you may need to upgrade your software to ensure GDPR compliance.
You also need procedures for dealing with the unthinkable:
- A data protection breach such as server malfunction or hacking
- The accidental sharing of personal data
- Losing children’s contact information when on a school trip
Last but not least, everyone who works at your school has to be fully GDPR trained and aware of any updates to the legislation that may impact how your school’s data is stored.
Non-compliance can not only give you an almighty headache but also potentially hit you with a massive fine. Trust us — you don't want to go there.
Introducing iAM Compliant
Here’s where we come in. We’re a safety and compliance management tool that can help your school reduce its costs and the mountains of paperwork that comes with staying compliant.
In short, we take control of any compliance issues your school is facing. Our affordable and easy to use web-based platform helps you and your staff stay ahead of the compliance game.
We’ll give you guidance, updates and advice on all compliance-related issues. Not only that, but we can also train your team through a series of relevant and tailored online courses, how-to videos and blog posts.
Get started for free and see how iAM Compliant can help your organisation.
We’d love to hear from you, so contact us today for more information about iAM Compliant and how we can help your school, staff and students stay safe.