Health and Safety Policy


The following document is split into two sections. The first section contains the GDST Health & Safety Policy Statement and this is followed by the Sheffield High School for Girls Health & Safety Policy and Organisational Arrangements.

GDST Health & Safety Policy Statement

The Council of The Girls' Day School Trust (GDST) (‘the Council’ and ‘the Trust’ respectively), and the Board of GDST (Enterprises) Ltd recognise and accept that under the Health & Safety at Work, Act 1974 (‘the Act’) and in particular The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (as amended) they have legal responsibility to provide, so far as is reasonably practicable, for the health, safety and welfare of all their employees and also that they have certain duties towards pupils, the public, and people who from time to time use their premises.

It is the policy of the Council and the Board, through a risk management approach, to meet its responsibilities under the Act, Regulations and approved Codes of Practice, and all other regulatory requirements and it will therefore take appropriate steps to:

  1. Provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, safe and healthy places of work; safe plant, equipment and machinery; safe systems and methods of work; safe methods of using, handling, storing and transporting articles and substances; and adequate facilities and arrangements for the welfare of all employees and pupils.
  2. Provide all employees with the information, instruction, training and supervision that they require to perform tasks in a safe and capable manner and recognise and manage risk.
  3. Develop risk awareness amongst all pupils so they are able to contribute to recognising and managing risk.
  4. Provide and maintain a safe environment for all visitors to Trust schools, Trust Office and other Trust premises, bearing in mind that these visitors may not be aware of all the risks arising from their use of the Trust’s facilities.

  5. Manage risks to all employees, pupils and others (including the public) in so far as they come into contact with foreseeable work hazards and endeavour to prevent personal injury and ill health to all employees, pupils and others.

  6. Consult and co-operate with partners working with the Trust in delivering its services to ensure that foreseeable health, safety and welfare risks arising from such working are suitably and sufficiently managed.

  7. Consult and communicate with employees on health and safety matters through the Executive Officers of the Trust, each school’s Head, Health and Safety Coordinator and Health & Safety Committee, and with staff at Trust Office.

  8. Continually improve the standards of health and safety in the Trust in line with good practice models by a regime of training, provision of guidance, reviews and audits.
  9. Ensure that this Policy can be used as a practical working document and that it is publicised and made available to all Trust employees.
  10. Keep the details of this Policy Statement and its associated Procedures and Guidance under regular review in line with changing safety practices and current legislation.

The Trust is determined that good standards of health, safety, welfare and risk management are achieved in all its schools. The Trust requires all schools to implement a ‘Health & Safety Improvement Plan’ with the guidance and support of the Trust’s H&S Advisers and attain the recommended standards set out in the ‘Health and Safety’ section on Oracle.

Sheffield High School for Girls Health and Safety Policy

1. Statement of Intent

Sheffield High School for Girls recognises that under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 the School has a legal duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of its:

  • Employees (teachers and all other staff) to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, their health, safety and welfare whilst at work;
  • Pupils to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety whilst in school, or during off-site school activities;
  • Visitors (e.g. volunteers, parents, pupils from other schools, peripatetic staff and coaches, contractors, members of the public) to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, they are not exposed to risks to their health and safety whilst on the school premises or involved in school activities.

2. Risk Assessment Policy Statement

The School recognises that risk assessments are one of the keystones of good H&S management which can make a significant contribution to promoting welfare and reducing H&S risks to employees, pupils, visitors and others who may be affected by the way in which the school operates. Risks assessments are completed for all potentially hazardous activities and situations and these are regularly reviewed at Departmental and School level.

The School maintains a Risk Register and associated Risk Assessment sheets. All issues concerning H&S are to be reported immediately to the H&S Coordinator or, in his absence, the Site Manager. In all cases action is required to implement controls necessary to reduce the risks to an acceptable level following the principles of prevention: eliminate the hazard at source, reduce the hazard, prevent contact with the hazard, implement safe systems of work, and employ personal protective equipment.

Risk assessments are retained on the Health & Safety drive (which all staff have access to) or relevant Departmental shared drives. The master set should be stored electronically, but paper copies can also be made available, e.g. in the staff room, Departmental office, or to take off-site, e.g. on an educational visit.

Each Department should list all their risk assessments on an index sheet. This should include the following information:

  • Name of risk assessment,
  • Date of completion / last review,
  • Name of person who completed / last reviewed RA
  • Date RA is next due for updating,

Each member of staff should have easy access to a copy of the index sheet so they know where to find the risk assessments.

Where a non-compliance has been identified, an Action Plan with clear deadlines must be agreed to resolve it and a designated Head of Department given responsibility for ensuring it is completed.

In all cases advice from a competent person/body such as the Trust H&S Advisor, local authority, fire service or HSE must be actioned.

3. Employee Responsibilities

The Health and Safety at Work Act and Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also places duties on employees. All Sheffield High School for Girls employees must:

  • Take reasonable care for the health and safety of themselves and other persons who may be affected by what they do, or fail to do;
  • Co-operate as necessary to enable the Trust to carry out its statutory health & safety duties;
  • Not interfere with, or misuse anything provided in the interests of health or safety, e.g. fire doors, fire extinguishers, personal protective equipment, safety guards on equipment;
  • Use machinery, equipment, dangerous substances, transport equipment, means of production and safety devices in accordance with any relevant training and instructions;
  • Inform the person responsible for H&S in the organisation (normally the person’s manager, or the H&S Coordinator), and where appropriate, fellow employees, of dangerous work situations, shortcomings in the safety arrangements, or if they consider the condition of buildings, grounds, furniture or equipment to be unsafe.

In addition, all employees must:

  • Report to their manager, and record, any accident in which they are involved whilst at work. All accidents must be reported whether or not an injury has occurred.
  • Make themselves familiar on a continuing basis with means of escape, fire alarm systems, evacuation procedures and other emergency procedures.

Health and safety is a responsibility at least equal in importance to that of any other function of the School. Primary responsibility for ensuring that Sheffield High School fulfils its health and safety duties must fall to the employees of the School.

4. School Objectives

Sheffield High School’s health and safety objectives will be:

  • The creation of an Organisational Structure and a positive health and safety culture which supports risk control at all levels within the School, particularly at Senior Management level.
  • To identify and control risk as an effective approach to injury, ill-health and loss prevention.
  • To maintain safe and healthy working places and systems of work and so far as practicable to protect all employees, pupils and others including the public in so far as they come into contact with foreseeable work hazards.
  • To provide and maintain a safe and healthy teaching environment for all employees and pupils with adequate facilities and arrangements for their welfare.
  • To provide all employees and pupils with the information, instruction, training and supervision that they require to work safely and efficiently.
  • To develop an understanding of risk control and safety awareness amongst all employees and relevant pupils and, as a result of this, create individual responsibility for health and safety at all levels and be responsive to internal and external change.
  • To ensure effective control of the activity of all outside contractors when on School premises.

5. Organisation for Health and Safety

5.1 GDST Executive Officers

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Trust is responsible to the Council for the overall implementation of the Health and Safety Policy. The CEO, through the Trust Health & Safety Committee, will monitor the effectiveness of the Policy and its implementation at all levels and will bring to the attention of the Council any necessary modifications that are required by changes in legislation or arise from the experience of implementing the Policy.

The CEO is also responsible for ensuring that, through the Executive Officers of the Trust and the Heads of the schools, the work of the Trust is carried out according to this Policy, the legal requirements and any system of work laid down by the Trust.

On a practical day to day basis specific specialist advice will be provided by the GDST Health & Safety Advisers, the Director of People, the Estates Director, and the Human Resources Director.

5.2 Health & Safety Organisation at Sheffield High School for Girls

5.2.1 The Head

The Head, or in their absence the Deputy Head, (both named in the Trust Directory which is updated annually) is responsible to the CEO for the health, safety and welfare of the employees, pupils and where appropriate members of the public and others in relation to the running of the school, the school’s premises and the activities carried on. They are also responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the Trust’s H&S Policy are implemented in their school. The Head will be assisted in this by the Executive Officers and the Trust's Health & Safety Manager and Advisers, all or any of whom may from time to time visit the school.

Taking this assistance into account, the Head will monitor the effectiveness of this Policy and its implementations at all levels. Where significant modifications are considered necessary the Head will, through the Executive Officers of the Trust, bring these to the attention of the CEO. To achieve this the Head must have the co-operation of her staff at all levels.

5.2.2 The Director of Finance and Operations

The Director of Finance and Operations (DFO) is appointed as the main ‘Competent Person’ for Sheffield High School for Girls.

The DFO will monitor the effectiveness of this policy and he will report back to the Head as appropriate. In a line management function, he is responsible for the safe operation of administrative and other support staff of the School.

The DFO will ensure that all those employees who report directly to him are fully aware of their health and safety responsibilities within their own spheres of operation, are familiar with the relevant parts of the Health and Safety Policy and that they ensure that those who work under them are similarly familiar and instructed in their responsibilities.

The DFO, in conjunction with the Site Manager and the GDST, is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all maintenance is kept up-to-date. Examples include boiler maintenance, fire alarms, emergency lighting, etc.;
  • Ensuring that the health and safety credentials of all contractors are checked before they are engaged and monitored thereafter for example by demanding copies of contractors’ Safety Policies at the Tender stage, where appropriate;
  • Ensuring that the ‘fabric’ of School buildings is maintained in a sound and healthy condition;
  • Ensuring that fixed electrical installations on the School’s premises are subject to at least 5-yearly inspection and test to demonstrate their ‘maintenance’ under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. Copies of these inspections and tests will be kept readily available by the Facilities Manager for inspection;
  • Ensuring that Legionella Risk Assessments of all School hot and cold water systems are completed and that the necessary management schemes are introduced;
  • Ensuring that the School has had an ‘Asbestos Survey’, including Risk Assessments, completed to determine the presence of asbestos and the necessary management plan to be implemented;
  • Selecting outside maintenance contractors and monitoring of their activities on School premises and in this context liaising fully with the School’s architects;
  • Ensuring that suitable Risk Assessments are completed and maintained covering all processes and activities carried out and the health and safety of all employees while they are at work and others who may be affected, as required by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

5.2.3 Health & Safety Coordinator

At Sheffield High School for Girls, the role of Health & Safety Coordinator is undertaken by the DFO.

The Health and Safety Coordinator is responsible for:

  • Ensuring that:
    • Heads of Departments monitor the standards of safety in their departments, and undertake appropriate remedial action if shortcomings are identified;
    • Heads of Departments implement the GDST’s arrangements for Health & Safety (contained on the GDST HUB, Circulars, and other communications) including:
      • The completion and regular review of area (e.g. classrooms, laboratories and offices), activities (e.g. educational visits or drama productions in schools, or conferences at Trust Office) and hazard specific risk assessments (e.g. manual handing or use of DSE);
      • Taking appropriate action where significant risks are identified;
      • Identifying H&S training needs and arranging appropriate training.
    • Heads of Departments advise / inform the Head through the Health & Safety Coordinator, of:
      • The measures needed to carry out work safely if deficiencies are identified;
      • Any breaches of the safety regulations;
      • If any new or special hazards are about to be introduced into the school/Trust Office.
  • Co-ordinating:
    • Annual completion of the Departmental H&S Self Evaluation Forms and Action Plan and submitting to the Trust H&S Advisers.
    • The review of department risk assessments.
  • In conjunction with the relevant Head of Department or SME:
    • Investigating all serious accidents, incidents, dangerous occurrences and significant ‘near misses’; ensuring appropriate remedial action is taken; and ensuring they are recorded on the SPHERA/RIVO Safeguard incident recording system;
    • Investigating complaints/concerns by employees regarding health, safety and welfare matters and ensuring appropriate remedial action is taken;
    • Reporting ‘notifiable dangerous occurrences’ to the HSE within the required timescales.
  • Disseminating safety advice given by the GDST H&S team, specialist advisers or enforcement officers to the appropriate Heads of Department in order that they can take appropriate actions;
  • In liaison with the Head completing Risk Assessments for members of staff with disabilities and ensuring that relevant information is cascaded to the relevant people and departments, e.g. surveyor (if physical adaptations are required to the building), school nurse (in case emergency assistance is required), caretaker (if ramps, etc are required), ICT (if specialist ICT equipment is required) in order that appropriate action can be taken.
  • Liaising with the Trust's H&S team and surveyors on matters where advice or assistance is required, or information is requested by the Trust;

2.2.4 School Health & Safety Committee

The Health & Safety Committee is chaired by the Head. The Committee will meet at least once a term and its brief is to consider all matters relating to health and safety in the school. One of the Trust’s Health & Safety Advisers and the school Surveyor will attend at least one meeting of the school's Safety Committee each year, and the Head may invite Executive Officers of the Trust, or their representatives to attend. The meeting will monitor the performance and effectiveness of the H&S provision for the school and SMEs are required to report on their areas.

2.2.5 Line Managers

For the purposes of the School’s Health & Safety Policy and Procedures the term Line Managers includes: members of the Leadership Team, Heads of Faculty, Heads of Department, Subject Co-ordinators, etc. These Line Managers are responsible to their immediate Line Manager or the Head and/or the DFO for:

  • Ensuring that his/her Department is run in safe manner meeting all statutory requirements and school policies.
  • Ensuring that all staff working underneath them understand the practical aspects of this Policy and the various legal requirements that apply within their areas of responsibility;
  • The preparation and maintenance of Risk Assessments related to their department, workplace or area of responsibility;
  • Ensuring that their staff are aware of the degree of priority that these matters carry and that, where appropriate, they should be provided with both time and encouragement to pursue such matters;
  • Notifying the School Health & Safety Co-ordinator of any matters relating to health and safety within the School which they feel are beyond their competence to deal with;
  • Reporting to the School Health & Safety Co-ordinator any accidents, incidents, near-misses or damage for appropriate investigation;
  • Where appropriate, ensuring the adequate supervision of pupils, both while at the School during normal teaching activities and also on trips away from the School;
  • Ensuring that staff for whom they are responsible, co-operate fully with any fire practices, fire alarms and other emergencies as specified in the individual School Procedures.
  • To report all accidents, incidents and damage to their immediate Line Manager, the School Health & Safety Co-ordinator, the Director of Finance and Operations or the Head, as appropriate.

6. Training

All staff are to attend the H&S training session at the start of the school year. It is understood that there will always be some individuals who cannot attend this session, such as those who join the school during the academic year, and these individuals are to undertake a one-to-one session with the H&S Co-ordinator at the earliest opportunity.

Any requirements for specific H&S Training is to be identified to the H&S Co-ordinator who will investigate the most effective way of receiving the training that meets the requirements. This may be GDST delivered training courses, GDST H&S e-learning and/or external training providers.