Health & safety is damaging learning

Bookmark and Share

Nearly half of teachers believe the health and safety culture in schools is damaging children's learning and development by being too restrictive, according to a survey by Teachers TV.

Some 585 individuals were interviewed by the television channel Teachers TV, with respondents answering questions via a questionnaire.

Among the bizarre guidelines facing teachers in terms of ensuring that both they and their children remain safe was to make sure that safety goggles were worn when using Blu-Tack.

Meanwhile, a primary school removed a three-legged race from its sports day programme because of the potential dangers it may cause.

In all, 45 per cent of respondents thought that health and safety precautions were a hindrance on a child's development and learning, while also having a negative effect on teachers.

Just over 10% of teachers surveyed thought accidents in schools had increased during the last five years.

56% said they had had to deal with a situation where they suspected a child was being abused.

More than two in five said they were afraid to be alone in a room with a pupil in case they were falsely accused of inappropriate behaviour.

Furthermore, four in ten admitted that trips had been cancelled due to safety concerns.

Other rules revealed by teachers were that PE lessons were cancelled when the grass was wet and children were not allowed to eat sweets in case they caused them to choke.

Chief executive of Teachers TV Andrew Bethell said: "The more extreme examples [of health and safety] are thankfully not the norm but schools still need to take into consideration the workforce's concerns when trying to protect pupils.

"It is worrying that almost a third of the education workforce feel under-prepared to deal with the very complicated issues surrounding abuse and potential abuse."

A spokeswoman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: "We urge schools to take a common sense approach to keeping safe.

"Health and safety should not be a major burden and it shouldn't stop pupils from learning and playing. A small amount of risk is part and parcel of growing up."