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Schools: How to prepare for the September return

Teachers sat at their computers

Currently, the Government's stance is that all children, of all ages, will be returning to school in September 2020 in England. COVID-secure measures will stay in place to help reduce the risk of transmission and schools will be asked to encourage older children to keep their distance and keep class/year group “bubbles” in place. However, they have also advised that class size limits (originally limited to 15 pupils) could be increased so that all children are able to return to school.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "determined to do everything" he could to get all children back in school from September.

So what do you, as an Education professional, need to think about upon returning to school in September?

Government Guidance

The Government has set out guidance for the full opening of schools, broken down into 5 sections. (There is separate guidance for early years, further education colleges and for special schools).

The 5 sections comprise of 

  • minimising the Coronavirus risks, 
  • school operations, 
  • curriculum, behaviour and pastoral care, 
  • assessment and accountability
  • and contingencies for outbreaks. 

Section 1, public health advice to minimise coronavirus risks looks at the risk assessments, a system of controls and proactive measures to take. These measures include; 

  • Those who are unwell, remain at home
  • Hand and respiratory hygiene measures in place
  • Enhance cleaning
  • Engagement with the NHS test and trace 
  • Considerations of how to reduce contact and maximise distancing where possible and “minimise potential for contamination so far as is reasonably practicable”. 

This guidance also places responsibilities on schools to revisit and update risk assessments as well as following the system of controls set out to reduce the risks and create a safe environment, these controls are grouped in preventative measures and the response to any infection. 

See the full Government Guidance, including sections 2-5, for the opening of schools in September, here.

Risk Assessments

As part of planning for full return in the Autumn term, it is a legal requirement that schools should revisit and update their risk assessments (building on the learning to date and the practices they have already developed), to consider the additional risks and control measures to enable a return to full capacity in the autumn term.

DfE guidance for Schools openings

Schools should share the results of their assessments with their workforce and should also display it on their webpage to display the measures they are taking to parents/carers/pupils (HSE would expect all employers with over 50 staff to do so).

Risk Assessment Tool

Our FREE Risk Assessment Tool allows you to create unlimited risk assessments for your organisation. This tool prompts you to consider the risks in your schools and what measures you need to implement to control risks identified. 

Risk Assessment Training

Risk assessment should not only ever be conducted to help stop the spread of Coronavirus. Risk Assessments are crucial in working to ensure that employees are protected from harm and that workplace risks are eliminated or reduced where possible. Our Risk Assessment Training Course provides you with knowledge of what risk assessments are but how and when to perform them. 

See further guidance for Health and Safety Risk Assessments for Schools here.

Returning to Work Training

While some people in the Education sector may not have stopped working during the pandemic, some may have had to take some time off due to ill-health, childcare, or shielding. So, for a large number of Education professionals, September might be the first time back in the workplace for a number of months. 

Our Returning to Work (during & after COVID-19) Training looks at the things that might be considered before returning to work and what employees can expect on their first few days back at work, including any returning to work interviews and risk assessments, policies, and procedures.  

Health and Safety Training

It is important to remember the basics of Health and Safety as staff return to work for another school year. Regular Health and Safety and HR training should not be neglected upon the schools reopening in September. 

This will include employees mandatory health and safety training such as Fire Awareness, DSE and Essential Health and Safety Training. 

And for those in Education, you might want to also consider...

Safeguarding Training

Safeguarding Training should be completed to help employees recognise signs of abuse and harm in children in their care and know how to report concerns so that any issues are addressed. 

KCSIE 2020

All members of staff in Schools are legally required to read part one of the Keeping Children Safe in Education Document. At iHASCO, we offer an online version of Part 1 of KCSIE for free when any other Education Course is purchased. This way training administrators are able to track who has and hasn’t read the guidance. 

Not too sure where to start? 

If you’re not sure where to start or you would like to start with a free trial of any one of our courses then please get in touch today to speak to us about what training your school needs to help you, your staff, and your students remain safe & healthy during COVID-19.

We aim to respond within 30 minutes

* 14 day free trial use and 1 day course previews subject to our terms & conditions of use

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