Health and Safety in Schools, Is your school managing it correctly?

You may have seen in the news a few weeks ago the details of a very sad court case about a woman who died after she fell during a visit to a school. This sad case raised concerns over the health and safety in schools.

When Health and Safety in Schools goes wrong – Prosecution Case

Peterborough Magistrates’ Court heard that on 17 February 2017, a family member attended The Leys & St Faith’s Foundation School in Cambridge to watch an evening performance. While walking towards the hall the woman tripped over a small retaining wall and fell to the ground sustaining a serious head injury. She died six days later in hospital.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the school had failed to ensure the area was adequately lit. A pedestrian site safety assessment failed to identify the risk of tripping over the wall and did not take into consideration the lighting conditions or potential effect of poor lighting on pedestrian safety at night.

The Leys and St Faith’s Foundation School of Fenn Causeway, Trumpington Road, Cambridge, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They were fined £52,800 and ordered to pay costs of £10,040.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE inspector Graham Tompkins said: “This tragic incident was easily preventable, and the risk should have been identified.

“The school should have taken measures to improve lighting and install a handrail on top of the wall to increase the overall height.”

Protecting students, staff and visitors from harm is not only a legal responsibility for health and safety in schools – it is also seen as a measure of their success as it forms part of their Ofsted rating.

Health And Safety In Schools

What should you consider for health and safety in schools?

There are a wide range of issues to consider when it comes to health and safety in schools. A standard – though far from exhaustive – list of things for schools to be on top of when it comes to health and safety in schools including:

  • Line management responsibilities
  • Arrangements for site inspections
  • Arrangements for consulting and involving employees
  • Staff health and safety training
  • Recording and reporting of accidents to staff, pupils and visitors
  • Dealing with emergencies
  • First aid for staff and pupils
  • Managing asbestos in school buildings
  • Occupational health services.

However, this list doesn’t even begin to cover a wide variety of things that are integral to the day-to-day running of schools such as policies and procedures for residential visits and school-led adventure activities, policies for physical education and, more recently, Covid-secure and social distancing measures.

It can be daunting for headteachers and school managers to get to grips with the health and safety in schools requirement placed upon them. To put it into context a quick search of the HSE website for health and safety in schools advice returns nearly 4,000 results.

How can you get help with your health and safety in schools?

At Acorn Safety Services, our Health and Safety Consultants have experience in all aspects of health and safety in schools and have supported businesses across a wide variety of sectors, as well as all types of educational facilities. We do everything from risk assessments and gap analysis to training, policy writing, site audits and fire risk assessments.

Our track record is second to none and as a result, any organisation that works with us – including schools, colleges and universities – can be confident that we have the expertise, knowledge and experience to assist them.

Now is a particularly good time for educational establishments to get in touch with us as the long summer break provides an ideal time for any physical health and safety work that needs to be carried out on site.

If you have links to a school, college or university that needs health and safety advice they are welcome to visit our website at or contact us at or on 01604 930380 today.

More Health and Safety Articles

Acorn Safety Services - National Forklift Day

What is the impact of a forklift truck accident?

Today is National Forklift Safety Day, a day that aims to raise awareness of the dangers of forklift trucks and the importance of forklift training. Kevin Burt, who joined Acorn Safety Services in April as our new Health and Safety ...


Understanding RIDDOR

Understanding RIDDOR is crucial for maintaining a safe workplace. This comprehensive guide explains the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, detailing its history, purpose, and steps to ensure compliance. Learn about your legal obligations, how to report incidents, and the importance of accurate record-keeping. If you need help understanding RIDDOR or think you have a RIDDOR case, contact Acorn Safety Services for expert assistance and support.

Cases of fire

Understanding the Different Classes of Fire

Understanding the different classes of fire is crucial for effective fire safety. This comprehensive guide covers Class A, B, C, D, Electrical, and Class F fires, detailing how to extinguish each type. From residential to industrial settings, knowing the right extinguishing methods can save lives and property. Dive into practical advice, historical context, and actionable tips to enhance your fire safety knowledge. Stay informed and prepared with Acorn Safety Services.

The team from Acorn Safety Services celebrate their success at the SME Northamptonshire Awards

Reflecting on our success at the SME Northamptonshire Awards

THE team at Acorn Safety Services was delighted to attend the SME Northamptonshire Awards earlier this month – a unique celebration of some of the brightest and best businesses in Northamptonshire. Just four years after its launch, Acorn Safety Services ...

12342 Next