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The School Business Manager 2019 Conference: A Recap

Vita Safety recently joined One Education to deliver talks at The School Business Manager 2019 Conference.

78 School Business Managers (SMBs) attended the event. All schools were represented from one form entry primary to high schools.

The conference’s aim was to provide a day of networking and discussions surrounding the growing challenges SMBs face.

Let’s take a closer look at the topics covered, how attendees benefitted from the event and Vita Safety’s discussion on health and safety in education.

A mountain of pressure for School Business Managers

SMBs are the glue that holds educational institutions together. Their core responsibilities are:

  • Strategic decision-making (e.g. the implementation of school policies)
  • Financial decision-making (e.g. developing budgets and managing existing resources)
  • Managing all school support staff (e.g. hiring staff and ensuring school policies are followed).

This makes for a highly rewarding role. But it’s also extremely pressurised. For example, a 2019 study by the NAHT found that:

  • 60% of SMBs work more than 45 hours per week
  • 63% said that their working hours have increased over the past 3 years

Giving SBMs the upper hand

The School Business Manager 2019 Conference acknowledged this overwhelming pressure. As such, it was focused on helping SMBs feel more informed and in control when it comes to their responsibilities.

Some fantastic speakers from various specialisms spoke on the key challenges SMBs face. Topics included:

  • Modern financial management techniques
  • National developments with Ofsted and the curriculum
  • Absence management and wellbeing
  • Managing your Governing body (delivered by One Education)
  • Health & Safety in schools (delivered by Vita Safety)

We’ve recently teamed up with One Education to provide educators with health and safety expertise.

One Education is a provider of business management services and pupil support for schools and academies. Its unparalleled knowledge helps us deliver specialist health and safety advice for educators.

Thanks to One Education’s support, we were able to deliver a valuable session for SMBs at the conference. Here’s what we covered.

Top investigation techniques to prevent harm

Robust investigation methods for accidents and incidents are an absolute must for schools. They equip you with the ability to:

  • Prevent repeat incidents: put measures in place, review control standards and analyse existing risk assessments to impede a recurrence.
  • Avoid harm and suffering: protect teachers, pupils, visitors, contractors and support staff by minimising the fallout of an incident by acting appropriately in the future.
  • Avoid legal penalties: carry out your legal reporting duties effectively and have all the necessary information to protect your school against civil claims or criminal convictions.

The do’s and don’t of accidents

Before you launch an investigation into the accident, your immediate actions are critical.

DO:

  • Get immediate medical help
  • Check for danger
  • Reassure your casualty
  • Gather information

DON’T:

  • Panic
  • Move a casualty
  • Rush in without checking the safety

You may already have emergency procedures in place to follow in the event of a major accident. Ideally, you should know these procedures by heart.

Investigating an accident will reveal how well equipped your school is to deal with such occurrences. If you discover any failings, address them quickly to minimise the consequences of an accident.

How to investigate an accident

The four steps to accident investigation are:

1. Gather information

The casualty: What happened? Do they take or need any medication? Do they have any existing health conditions? Who is their emergency contact?

Photographs or CCTV: Can you collect any visuals that will help you identify what happened?

Witnesses: Collect statements to build a story of the event from different perspectives.

Documentation: Gather training records, maintenance records, safe systems of work and any previous accident information to protect your school against legal investigations.

Keep a log of what happens after the accident: This will help you to recall the events with clarity and provide a useful record for the investigation report.

2. Analyse the information

With these facts in hand, you can look at the situation and consider:

  • The people, equipment, materials and environment involved
  • What facts did not contribute to the incident?
  • What was the direct cause(s) of the incident?
  • What were the possible indirect causes of the incident?
  • How can you prevent reoccurrence?

3. Identify risk control measures

Since you’ve gathered and analysed the essential information from the incident, you can pin-point what may have gone wrong. This gives you the knowledge to put specific measures in place to stop this accident from happening again. 

4. Create an action plan and implement it

The final stage is about creating a robust and clear plan that outlines:

  • What risks need to be controlled regularly
  • Who is responsible for what
  • How you intend to review your risk assessment
  • What emergency procedures must be followed in the event of a similar incident

For more information, check out the HSE’s guides on: 

Once you have created this plan, you need to communicate it at all levels to ensure it can be executed effectively.

Understand these responsibilities and your school will benefit from:

  • Better performance from teachers as they don’t have to concern themselves with potential risks in the classroom
  • Cost reductions due to a decrease in sick days and increased productivity
  • Bigger budgets as schools don’t have to account for sudden payouts from fines and legal expenses
  • Improved teacher and student wellbeing as their emotional needs are met

How safe is your school?

By partnering with One Education, we are equipped to help schools establish the right health and safety measures, policies and procedures to protect their staff, pupils and visitors.

To find out more about our new service, speak to a Vita Safety consultant today on 0161 486 5020. Alternatively, read our booklet: Health and Safety in Schools.

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