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MAKING THE GRADE

iHasco health and safety training for education sector

eLearning is a vital tool in keeping education professionals up to date on H&S compliance in a challenging sector says iHASCO’s Alex Wilkins.

Health and safety in education is a major talking point at the moment, and for a good reason. For extended periods of time, educators are entrusted to look after some of society’s most vulnerable members, across many challenging scenarios. It’s no secret, therefore, that it can be an incredibly testing job that demands extensive knowledge of health and safety best practice. Naturally, this responsibility can easily be overwhelming for education professionals. 

With the Department of Education (DfE) updating its guidance document, Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) every two years, education professionals must recognise that enhancing their health and safety expertise is a never-ending process. The most recent (2019) KCSIE update introduced many new changes and any schools that have yet to roll out training (and refresher training) really need to do so now.

Better inclusion
All education professionals must stop and ask themselves the same three questions. Firstly, are we training and refreshing our training to sufficiently high standards? Secondly, if we are asked to prove and document our health and safety training, can we demonstrate compliance to the required standard? And thirdly, are we reaching and appropriately training all of the staff members we need to?

While it is easy to focus on teaching and front-of-house staff, most schools and colleges employ people in less ‘obvious’ roles that can really make a difference to safety. Sadly, many of these workers – who may include lunchtime supervisors or library staff – can be overlooked or under-served when it comes to training, to the detriment of staff and students alike.

Tackling mental health
In recent years there has been a laudable focus on improving mental health, and this has reflected in government policy. Students’ mental health can often overlap strongly with their behaviour in and around school or college. This is a key issue addressed by the DfE’s new guidance from November 2018.

Of course, both mental health and associated behaviours fall under health and safety, too. Places of education have a duty to identify and respond to signs of mental ill health in their students. But what about their staff?

The levels of burn-out and stress among teachers and other educators is well documented, education is a stressful business, with up to 47% of professionals experiencing anxiety or panic attacks as a result of their work. Health and safety at work legislation applies to educational institutions as much as any other workplace, and this often generates a need for training.

The good news here is that if institutions develop a reputation for genuinely supportive and insightful behaviour around mental health (including training), it can give them an advantage when they need to recruit.

From theory to practice
Due to the demanding nature of the industry, health and safety compliance is more challenging in education than in many other sectors. Furthermore, the landscape is constantly changing, and it can be hard for staff to keep their knowledge up-to-date.

Yet any failure to comply with health and safety training may have catastrophic consequences. It can be an overwhelming situation for schools and colleges when choosing their training partner. But taking the time to select the right provider will always pay off in the long-run.

That’s why it’s essential to partner with a provider that uses engaging, video-based eLearning in its education-specific training. Through the latest advanced learning management systems, modern eLearning expels this traditionally tedious and time-intensive process and offer educators the chance to remove the worry of monitoring and demonstrating legal compliance.

www.ihasco.co.uk

 

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