This year more than ever, schools are having to think about how to protect their staff and students from risk. Returning to school during the Covid-19 pandemic means planning for year-group or class ‘bubbles’, social distancing and more frequent deep cleaning. But there’s another element of health and safety that may at first glance be overlooked. At times during their average working week, many staff members in education work alone, remotely or out-of-sight of colleagues. From maintenance and caretaking staff, through to teachers staying behind late to write a lesson plan, many people in schools work alone. At the start of a new academic year, this blog looks at how Safe Hub protects lone working teachers and school support staff.
Teachers and support staff face aggression
In November 2018, there were nearly a million staff at state-funded schools in England according to government data. Of these, 48% were teachers, 28% were teaching assistants, and 24% were other support staff. If you factor in the school workforce in the other countries of the UK, together with the private education sector, the UK school workforce is at least 1.5 million strong.
Sadly, incidents of violence at schools in the UK are reported to be on the rise. Data from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) in 2016 showed 40% of teachers had faced aggression from pupils in the previous year. Additionally, over 25% had also experienced it from parents or carers. Even if most such incidents occur when there are other staff members on site, they may still be out of sight.
Attacks in UK schools are not restricted to teachers, as support staff are also under threat. Research by the trade union GMB in 2017 showed 54% of teaching assistants have been physically abused, assaulted or attacked at work. And 18% of assistants polled say they are attacked at least once a week, with almost a quarter also saying they are verbally abused. Teaching assistants are rarely alone within the working day but may be alone when retrieving their car or accessing public transport.
Stepping up to protect lone working teachers and school support staff
Education-sector employers can take proactive steps to protect their staff against such physical and verbal abuse. Whether it’s local authorities, academy chains or private-sector institutions, they all have responsibilities as employers. It’s vital to ensure that the sector is sufficiently staffed to provide learning support for all young people with special educational needs and disabilities. It’s also helpful to provide training on dealing with challenging behaviour and conflict resolution.
Another key action is to implement a lone worker safety system such as Safe Hub. This can provide a vital source of support to deal with everyday scenarios of abuse and violence in schools. Safe Hub’s Red Alert provides lone working teachers and school support staff with discreet access to emergency help if they need it. And the Worker Down feature offers impact and fall detection for staff who slip, trip or fall while on school property.
Naturally, schools are usually portrayed as learning environments for the young people being educated. But it’s no less important to think about schools as a workplace. Lone working teachers and school support staff need everyday protection from abuse, violence and other risks. Working Safe Hub into their everyday safety timetables helps schools move towards this goal.
Contact Lone Worker Solutions and the Safe Hub team today to find out more about how Safe Hub protects lone working teachers and school support staff
Post by Georgia Parsons Georgia is an Account Manager at Lone Worker Solutions (LWS). She introduces new clients to Safe Hub, our award-winning system to protect and monitor lone workers. Safe Hub is a package of emergency, buddy, proactive, reactive, broadcast and virtual barrier protection for lone workers. The system supports lone and remote workers on the widest possible array of BS8484:2016 Gold Certified devices, including Android, Apple and Windows smartphones, BlackBerrys, standard mobiles, PCs, intrinsically safe devices, specialist personal safety devices and satellite phones. Lone Worker Solutions is now a Totalmobile company, strengthening the group’s market-leading Field Service Management offering | Read More