Paul Slater, Vice President – Health, Safety and Environment at GEMS Education gives valuable pointers for teachers to keep their classrooms safe to avoid unnecessary risks.
A safe classroom is at the centre of creating an environment in which students have a safe space to learn and develop. In order to support this at GEMS Education, we must ensure that there are robust health and safety policies and procedures in place, and that on-going health and safety training is provided.
Teachers play a critical role in the development of students which includes their emotional and physical well-being. Therefore, it is imperative that we provide a classroom environment which reduces the risk of injury to students and raises awareness with students of how to recognise and contribute to keeping safe. From a teacher’s perspective there are several measures which can be taken to help ensure that their classrooms are safe.
- Walk through and check your classroom prior to students entering each morning, looking out for any sharp edges on tables and chairs, any damage to flooring which could represent a trip hazard.
- It is imperative that your students are familiar with the school’s emergency procedures, especially fire drills and lock downs. Key stakeholders should ensure that these are practiced by the entire school at regular intervals throughout the year.
- You will need to ensure that nonauthorised areas for students without supervision are identified and secured. Examples could include science laboratories, swimming pools, storage areas, etc.
- Organise the physical space within your classroom so moving around is as easy as possible, with clear pathways to exit routes.
- Check the cleanliness of any adjoining washrooms in FS/ early year’s areas, check first aid boxes are available and stocked, check for safe storage of any chemicals etc. Ensure that you report any concerns to your facility teams. If you have a physical checklist to use, this would be even better.
- Openly discussing health and safety and encourage students to raise and challenge any health and safety concerns that they may have.