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Principals go online to make schools a safer place

Principals go online to make schools a safer place

A Belfast Principal has praised a new online resource that will make schools a safer place for pupils, as well as saving valuable staff time by cutting “through the confusion of health and safety legislation”.

Karen Hancock, Principal of Mitchell House School, was speaking at the launch of the new Schools’ Risk Assessment Package, developed by the Belfast and South Eastern Education and Library Boards.

“The previous system of risk assessment in schools involved a formula that was difficult to work out, it took up a lot of staff time, was too confusing and at times over-complicated,” said Mrs Hancock. “This new approach cuts through the confusion of health and safety legislation, simplifies the whole process to a simple five-point plan that can be tailored to an individual school, and identifies the risks that are most commonly found in the school environment.”

The Risk Assessment Package is available online via the Education and Library Board’s health and safety portal and training has been delivered to almost 200 schools throughout the Belfast and South Eastern ELB areas. The resource is presented in a number of sections which means that schools need only access the parts that are relevant to them, saving on time and print costs.

“The completion of risk assessments is a requirement of a considerable range of health and safety legislation, and is an issue that was increasingly being raised by schools,” said Gavin Boyd, Interim BELB Chief Executive.

“The South Eastern and Belfast Education and Library Boards have developed a school-friendly package that will help teachers and Principals through a process which has traditionally been viewed as cumbersome and time-consuming. They can now go online, access easy-to-use, practical information that will make their school a safer environment for pupils and staff.”

Dr Bryon Monson, Deputy Chief Executive, HSENI added: “Risk assessment is an important part of ensuring the safety of pupils and staff and tools which simplify this process are to be welcomed.”

The Schools’ Risk Assessment Package was launched by Gavin Boyd, BELB Interim Chief Executive and Gregory Butler, SEELB Chief Executive, at SEELB headquarters.