HSE urges school leaders not to wrap kids in cotton wool
As the new school year begins, HSE is reminding school leaders to strike the right balance in their approach to health and safety risks.
Some of the cases ruled on by the HSE’s Mythbusters Challenge panel include bans on children wearing frilly socks, hot drinks on school trips and “dangerous footballs”, all of which have been described as “over zealous” and disproportionate decisions made in the name of health and safety.
HSE has published new web-based guidance designed to support school leaders to strike the right balance and encourage them to avoid being risk averse. Whilst children need to be kept safe, they also should be able to learn through experience and play conkers without wearing goggles!
Geoff Cox, Head of HSE’s Public Services Sector said:
“Our myth busting shows that schools sometimes go over the top in their efforts to get health and safety right – but in some cases they don’t go far enough. “We want to encourage school managers to use this guidance to find their own Goldilocks approach – not too much, not too little, but just the right balance. Real risks need to be managed, but that doesn’t mean wrapping children in cotton wool.”
HSE’s Public Services Sector consulted with local government and education stakeholders, the teaching unions and schools health and safety managers to develop the guidance.
For more on common health and safety myths in schools and striking the right balance see: