Function and Purpose of the environment or service offered. Needs of carers. Needs of carers. Health and Safety factors to consider when planning. Health and Safety factors to consider when planning. Age, needs and abilities of children and young people All children and young people have developmental milestones which tell us the approximate age at which most children are likely to develop certain skills and ways they are expected to behave. However, the individual needs of each child or young person needs to be taken into account when planning a safe and healthy learning environment as the needs and abilities of each ndividual will vary particularly if an impairment, such as a learning difficulty or a physical disability has been identified. The age, needs and abilities of children impact significantly on what is safe or unsafe for them to come into contact with. For instance an eight month old baby will be expected to pick up objects within their reach and put them to their mouth so when planning a safe environment for them it will be important to keep small objects that present a choking hazard out of their reach.
It is with this in mind that most practitioners will choose toys and materials safely. Before choosing toys they must be checked to ensure that they carry a safety mark which gives assurance that the products are safe to use as directed by the manufacturer. It is very important that toys and equipment are used in the way instructed by the manufacturer and not for any other purpose. All toys and equipment must also be assembled using the manufacturer instructions and age guidelines must be followed. E. g. “This product is not safe for children under 3 due to small parts”.
It is important to remember the specific needs and abilities of each child when allowing them to use toys and equipment as some children for example may have developmental delays and still put things in their mouth like younger children so exercising extra caution may be necessary. Choosing toys and equipment that is durable and will last longer is practical as they are more likely to withstand constant use and have less of a chance of breaking and becoming potentially dangerous to the children using them.
At St Cuthbert’s the needs and abilities of all children were taken into account when planning the outdoor areas, the school grounds and split into three different sections nursery and reception yard, year one and two yard and year three through to six have a separate yard. Each yard has been designed to specifically meet the needs of the children using i. e. smaller climbing frames for the younger children and larger ones for the old. The school building and grounds are all on one level and would be suitable for wheelchair users to access easily.
Specific Risk to Individuals Some activities or situations can present specific risks to individuals. It is important to have good knowledge and understanding of each child or young person we work with so that we can recognise the risks if and when they occur and reduce the risk to an acceptable level or offer a suitable alternative. * If a young person is pregnant some activities otherwise deemed safe for her will become more of a risk to her because she is pregnant i. e. Trampolining, therefore a more suitable form of exercise safe for her and the baby could be offered. If a child suffers with a visual impairment the risk associated with certain activities may be higher – learning to use sharp tools for example. Advice can be sought from a professional who may recommend the use of specially designed tools or offer advice on suitable methods of teaching. * A child or young person with asthma or allergies will be unable to work with dust, pollen or certain food so it will be important to remember this child when planning certain activities i. e. bringing flowers in from outside or giving the children food treat.
The needs of Carers Where relevant the needs of carers and parents are also a factor to consider when planning healthy and safe environments or services. For instance, a carer that uses a wheelchair will need sufficient space to move around safely and this should be thought of when planning the layout of furniture and facilities. The function and purpose of environments and services When planning a safe and healthy environment practitioners should take into account the function and purpose of the environment and services.
Activities and experiences offered in one setting may be less suited and ill-advised in another. For example, many sports centres offer holiday clubs for children and young people, the environment is specifically designed for sporting activities and the staff will be trained and know how to properly use certain equipment, therefore offering the same activities in an out of school club that meets in a school classroom would be inappropriate and unsafe. Desired outcomes for children and young people
The desired outcomes for children and young people are among the factors that influence what is appropriate, safe and healthy for them to do within the setting. When planning an activity the potential benefits to the children and young people need to be considered against the likelihood of harm occurring. Duty of Care When a parent or carer leaves their child in the care of a service they are in effect agreeing for the staff to care for their child whilst they are there. This means that staff has a duty of care to the child or young person in their care in line with provisions set out in the Children Act 1989.
The act requires those caring for the child or young person to promote the safety and welfare of each individual in their care. The level of this duty of care must be that of a ‘reasonable parent’. If you do not act as a ‘reasonable parent’ would do to keep the child or young person safe you are failing to meet your duty of care and can be seen as being negligent. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 also states that the setting has a responsibility to safeguard the safety and well-being of children and young people in its care.
Lines of responsibility and accountability It is very important for practitioners in all settings and services to be crystal clear about their own responsibilities relating to health and safety, or standards will slip and important welfare requirements may not be met. It is very important that practitioners monitor and maintain health and safety on an on-going basis and this will vary from setting to setting. At St Cuthbert’s Primary School Health and Safety is monitored primarily by the head teacher who is in charge of the overseeing of new policies and rocedures along with the school governors. All other staff members are responsible for their own safety and the safety of all of the children in their care whether it be their own class or the whole student population during break times. It is the role of the caretaker to monitor the health and safety of the school buildings and grounds and these are overseen on a twice a week basis. If the caretaker should happen upon a health and safety concern this will be immediately brought to the attention of the head teacher who will then decide on the best possible resolution.
It is also up to the caretaker to be in the yard first thing in a morning to ensure that all entry/exit ways to the school are securely locked making sure any unauthorised visitors cannot enter the school and ensuring the safety of the children. It is primarily the duty of the receptionist to check identification of visitors and providing them with a visitors badge and access to the school. When providing environments and services for children and young people it is important to comply with the laws and regulations set out by the government. The laws and guidelines set out by the government in England are: Health and Safety at work Act 1974 and 1992 This act is relevant for all places of employment not just those working alongside children and young people. Employers have a duty of care to ensure that the workplace and equipment within it are in a safe and useable condition and do not pose as a risk to the health and safety of anyone using it. Anyone working or volunteering in the setting have a responsibility to take care of themselves and others in cooperation with the employer. The Act also states that all employers must use the basic principles of risk management: 1. Risk assessment . Balanced control measures 3. Training The caretaker at the school I work in is responsible for checking the school buildings and grounds on a regular basis to ensure that all equipment being used is safe and does not pose a risk to any student or staff. Computers and other electrical equipment are checked on a regular basis by an outside company to make sure that there are no problems. It is the class teachers’ responsibility to ensure that their classroom and the equipment in it are safe for the children to use and this is taken into account when planning and risk assessing lessons.
All staff is required to take part in training meetings in which they have the opportunities to learn how to use any new equipment or in some cases how to deal with challenging behaviour of specific children, courses such as safeguarding, first aid and handling are compulsory. * Health and Safety (first Aid) Regulations 1981 Most settings working with children and young people with have specific individuals who are qualified to deal with first aid; there must be at least one person within the setting designated to first aid if an accident occurs. It is stated that by law all employers must keep a well-stocked first aid box.
At St Cuthbert’s all staff members are first aid trained although there are only five members of staff as designated first aiders; it is their responsibility to ensure that the first aid boxes are fully stocked and in good working order. * Food Safety Act 1990, and Food Handling Regulations 1995 This act refers to how food may be stored and prepared and how cooking environments should be maintained and how staff who prepare the food must be trained. Any member of staff within the school handling food has a basic food safety and handling certificate including the kitchen staff. * Fire Precautions (workplace) Regulations 1997
These regulations apply to all workplaces not just those who work alongside children and young people. Under these regulations settings must carry out a fire risk assessment addressing seven key areas: 1. Fire ignition sources and risk from the spread of fire 2. Escape routes and Exits 3. Fire Detection and early warning of fire 4. Fire fighting equipment 5. Fire routine training for staff 6. Emergency plans and arrangements for calling the fire service 7. General maintenance and testing of fire protection equipment All staff members at St Cuthbert’s are trained in emergency procedure and what to do in the event of a fire.
All fire safety equipment is checked once a month by an outside agency to ensure that alarms, extinguishers and other equipment are in good working order. * Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) Under RIDDOR, workplaces must ensure they have an accident book. All accidents which occur in the workplace or setting must be recorded in the book. Some types of accidents that occur at work – serious ones or those that result in someone being absent from work for more than three days must be reported to the Health and Safety Executive.
Some Diseases that may be contracted by employees must also be reported i. e. HIV, Aids, Hepatitis and such like. At my school the accident and incident book is kept in the school office and all members of staff have access to this book, it is their responsibility to ensure that any accidents are recorded in this book however minor. If any concerns arise in relation to diseases and other contagious diseases then these are reported immediately to the head teacher who then takes appropriate action. * Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992
Under these regulations employers must provide equipment to employees needed to carry out their jobs safely. For example, someone working with young children will need an apron and rubber gloves supplied to them for when they are changing nappies or dealing with other body fluids and waste. * Protection of Children Act This law involves the protection and safeguarding of children. (See unit CYP core 3. 3 for more details) * Children’s Act 1989 This Act covers the equality of access and opportunity for children and young people in addition to health and safety. * Health and Safety (young persons) Regulations 1997
These regulations require employers to carryout special risk assessments for employees or volunteers under the age of 18, as they may be less aware of the Health and Safety issues then more experienced workers. * Children Bill 2004 Prior to this bill being passed there were concerns that children’s services were not working together effectively to protect vulnerable children from forms of abuse. This bill was passed to ensure the improvement of child protection for children and young people and to ensure that all agencies involved have better communication with each other regarding such issues.
At St Cuthbert’s meetings are held on a regular basis for the complete staffing team to talk about any issues or concerns they may have regarding specific children. Any immediate concerns are reported to the head teacher and they and the class teacher discuss which action to take. Safeguarding issues are immediately reported to the member of staff in charge of reporting incidents of abuse who will then take appropriate action such as ringing social services or other outside agencies. Any parents with concerns over a child are directed to this staff member who can then take the action needed to investigate further. Every Child Matters This is a government agenda which sets out five major outcomes for all children: 1. Be safe 2. Being healthy 3. Enjoying and achieving 4. Making a positive contribution 5. Economic well being The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) aims to meet every one of the outcomes listed above. * The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Welfare Requirements All settings to which the EYFS applies must meet all of the EYFS welfare requirements: Safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare. | The provider must take suitable steps to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
The provider must promote the good health of the children, take necessary steps to prevent the spread of infections and take appropriate action when a child is ill. Children’s behaviour must be managed effectively and in a manner appropriate for their stage of development and individual needs. | Suitable People| Providers must ensure that people working with children or having unsupervised access to them are suitable to do so. Adults looking after children must have appropriate qualifications, training, skills and knowledge.
Staffing arrangements must be organised to ensure safety and to meet the needs of the children within the setting. i. e. ensuring that the staff to child ration is correct. | Suitable Premises, environment and equipment| Outdoor and indoor spaces, furniture, equipment and toys must be age appropriate and safe and suitable for their purpose. | Organisation| Providers must plan and organise their activates and setting to ensure that all children are provided with enjoyable and challenging learning and development experience which is suited to meet their individual needs and abilities. Documentation| Providers must maintain records, policies and procedures required for the safe and efficient management of the settings and to meet the needs of the children. | Within a school environment there are policies and procedures in place which support staff in the management of situations that involve the safety and wellbeing of all staff and children. Some of these are: * The Health and Safety policy * The Bullying Policy * The Safety Policy * The Child Protection Policy * The behaviour policy * The O Tolerance procedure The Confidentiality Policy * The Equal opportunities Policy * Regulations and Requirements tell settings what they must do and what standards they must meet to ensure the health and safety of the staff and children within the setting but they do not tell the practitioners how this should be done. It is up to the settings to interpret the laws set out by the government and devises their own policies and procedures that explain how they will work within the law to promote the Health and Safety of everyone in the setting.
At St Cuthbert’s it is the overall responsibility of the head teacher to ensure that the health and safety procedures in the school are implemented effectively by all members of staff. New policies and procedures are discussed by the governors and before any new policy is written up the staff have a chance to add or remove anything they feel it needs or does not need; the final draft has to be approved by the Head Teacher before being implemented.
It is the job of the caretaker to parole the school grounds and building twice a week to ensure that there are no health and safety hazards which could potentially harm the children and staff. If a member of staff comes across a hazard then it will be reported to the head teacher who then ensures the caretaker can solve/fix the problem or that the required services needed are contacted and the risk to students minimised. Sometimes children and young people may want to take risks that are inappropriate for safety reasons or inappropriate for a child or young person because of their age, needs or abilities.
As a practitioner it is important to remember that all children will want to take risks and we should not try to avoid risk altogether but allow children and young people to experience risk which will not harm them and which is suitable for their age needs and abilities. For example, a child of five may want to try and climb to the very top of a climbing frame, while this is risk taking and the child may be capable of doing this we must tell them of the risk involved and ensure that they stay safe whilst trying.
In the case of a younger child or a child with a physical impairment it would be inappropriate and dangerous to allow this child to try the same thing. There is a difference in allowing children and young people to take appropriate risks that are worthwhile in terms of their development when compared to the likelihood of injury, and allowing children and young people to do things that are likely to harm them seriously without a justifiable developmental gain or experience.
It is important as a practitioner to decide which risks are acceptable and unacceptable and to be able to minimise risk and harm to the children in their care. Before any activity takes place it is important to carry out a risk assessment and understand the settings policies and procedures for risk assessment and be able to follow them closely. There is a dilemma between the rights and choices that belong to children and young people in terms of the freedom to play and the health and safety requirements of a setting.
It is important to remember that children and young people have a right to choice and the freedom of play and its benefits to their learning and development and that children and young people should be allowed to experience and take appropriate risks during their play and learning, within the boundaries of the health and safety legislations. There are four types of hazard/risk that should be taken into account in terms of play and development. These are: * Physical Upturned carpets, stacks of chairs, scissors etc. * Environmental
Icy pathways/yard, water on a staircase, objects obstructing exits etc. * Emotional Emotional risk taking is a life skill. Children and young people take emotional risks when they pluck up the courage to do something that stretches them emotionally or that risks personal failure or rejection. E. g. speaking in front of a group of peers or adults, auditioning for a part in a production, not giving in to peer pressure, taking a physical risk in front of others. Activities that may feel like a risk to one child may come easily to another.
We must remember that each child is an individual and will be comfortable doing things that some children may not be comfortable doing. Every so often a child needs to come out of their ‘comfort zone’ and be encouraged to try new things for the first time. Those with good levels of self-esteem and confidence will find trying new things easier than those with low self-esteem and confidence. It is important to help children and young people feel equipped for emotional risk taking by providing opportunities for them to take part in activities which foster high levels of confidence and self-esteem. Behavioural Behavioural Hazards occur when children and young people behave in ways in which they could cause harm to themselves and others. A teacher may set up an activity in which blunt objects may be used for sculpting with clay, a behavioural hazard becomes apparent if a child then begins to use the tools provided in an inappropriate manner which could cause harm to themselves or others i. e. throwing the tools around, deliberately using them in a harmful way. The risk is therefore significantly raised to an unacceptable level and the practitioner must step in and take appropriate action immediately.
A child’s behaviour to another child may be classed as a behavioural hazard also, if a child is bullying or physically harming another child then this is also a hazard than needs to be dealt with immediately. At St Cuthbert’s children are involved in thinking about safety and are encouraged to tell an adult if they see something unsafe. One of the most effective ways of ensuring that the children think about safety is to explain to them why we think an activity, a situation or someone behaviour is potentially dangerous.
A more recent example of supporting children to manage and assess risk was when we had our safety topic week in school. This week was dedicated to having various health and safety professionals come into school to talk to the children and get them to think about their own safety in and outside of school. Some of the visitors included the fire service, police officers and a lollypop person. As well as giving talks to the children there were various activities throughout the week that allowed the children to think about and manage their own safety.
Other examples of this more recently was a cooking lesson given to small groups of children, not only were the children able to help in the cooking session they were asked to talk about things in the kitchen that could cause harm to them and how they should behave whilst using equipment and being in the kitchen. This activity allowed the children to understand that good behaviour and carefulness was needed to minimise the risk of harm to themselves and others.
The policies and procedures at St Cuthbert’s in response to accidents, incidents, emergencies and illness are hugely important as they can mean the difference between life and death should a serious situation occur. It may be necessary to evacuate the setting in the event of: * Flood * Gas leak * Fire * Identification of a dangerous substance To ensure the safe evacuation of the setting in an emergency: * All staff must know how to raise the alarm, where the exits are and where the assembly point is. * All staff is aware of their roles in an emergency such as taking the register, dialling 999 and checking rooms are empty. There must be regular opportunities to practice the evacuation procedure. These should be taken seriously and any difficulties should be resolved. The sound of the alarm may upset some children so it is important to be sensitive and help them to settle after the drill. * Evacuation drill notices must be kept in view at all times and give details of where the fire extinguishing equipment is kept. * Fire alarms, smoke detectors and emergency lighting should be regularly checked and maintained and staff should know where they are and be trained in their use.
Details of all checks should be kept written in the log. * Emergency exits should not be obstructed At St Cuthbert’s the emergency drill is practiced with great care once a month. It is up to the class teacher to ensure that their class evacuates the building in a safe and calm manner and assembles at the meeting point. In the event of a real fire it is up to the receptionist to call the emergency services then make their own way to the meeting point where they will distribute the registers to the class teachers so that they are able to ensure that all children are accounted for.
All registered settings must have written procedures regarding what practitioners must do if it was discovered a child was missing. It is important for all staff members to know these procedures and act quickly. At St Cuthbert’s an immediate search of the setting including outdoor areas is undertaken as well as finding out when the child was last seen and where. If the child cannot be found then the search would be widened to the local area around the school whilst the head teacher raises the alarm with the police and the missing child’s parents or carers.
Sufficient staff remains on the premises to ensure that the other children are still taken care of and surplus staff such as the caretaker and teaching assistants may join the search until the police arrive and the search is controlled by them. The incident should be logged in the incident book by the initial member of staff whilst all details are still fresh in their head and later Ofsted will be contacted and the incident logged with them as an immediate review of the setting will be required.
All children at some point in their lives experience illness and it is important that all staff recognise the signs and symptoms of illness in a child or young person to be able to take appropriate action in line with the settings policies and procedures. It is a legal requirement of all settings to have written guidelines for the management of illness within the setting. It is not the job of the practitioners to diagnose the illness this should be left up to a health professional, it is also not the role of the practitioner to care for a sick child and those who are ill should not attend the setting until they are well.
There will be times when a child’s symptoms develop whilst they are at school, at St Cuthbert’s the procedure should this occur is as follows: * A member of staff will recognise promptly when the child or young person is ill using their knowledge of childhood illnesses to determine the seriousness of the illness. * The member of staff will respond to the symptoms in line with the schools policies, such as cooling a child down if they are suffering a temperature or administering a child’s asthma inhaler. * The member of staff will monitor the condition to ensure the condition does not become worse and a record kept. . e. when the child was last sick, their temperature or what time their inhaler was given. * The staff member will arrange for the child to be collected as soon as possible in the case of minor illness. In the case of accident or major illness then an ambulance will be called before the child’s parents or carers are contacted. When contacting a relative the child’s file will be looked at to determine the first point of contact in the event of an illness. It is important to be in control when ringing the parent or carer and ensure that they are not unnecessarily worried.
In the event that an ambulance has to be called before the parents it is important that all details of the child’s symptoms are given correctly so that the emergency services know what they are dealing with and if needed advice can be given to keep the child comfortable until the ambulance arrives. A practitioner will then accompany the child to the hospital until their parents arrive. * A record of the child’s symptoms and the procedures carried out will be logged in the incident book. All settings have a legal requirement to ensure that logs and records of incidents are kept up to date.
When a child becomes ill at St Cuthbert’s or an accident or illness occurs the time and date is logged and any symptoms and signs of illness are written down. A practitioner’s response to a child’s illness is logged, making note of details like medication or first aid given and by whom. There are 4 designated first aiders within the school and it is their job to ensure that all first aid kits around the school are fully stocked and in good working order. It may be necessary for the first aider to be called in the event of an accident or incident and it will be their role to keep the incident book updated.