Outline of legislation in relation to Unit and assessment criteria Children Act 1989
This Act allocates duties to ensure children are safeguarded and their welfare is promoted, with an emphasis on children being best looked after within their family. Schools have a greater duty of care, including ensuring there is no risk from the adult supervision within schools, one method to help ensure this is the data barring checks (DBS, formerly criminal records bureau, CRB). School policies and guidelines are used to implement these requirements. In respect of behaviour within school ‘adults need to be aware we all have different ideas and expectations.
Children Act 2004 / Every Child Matters
This amendment was brought about following the Victoria Climbie inquiry, it created clearer accountability, promotes partnership, more focus on safeguarding and inspection. The ‘Every Child Matters’ Green paper introduced the role of local Directors of Children’s Services responsible for overseeing all local government elements of children’s welfare and education. It supports improved collaboration between universal services (e.g. schools) and local services (including specialised services) and encourages schools to offer extended services. New processes have been introduced to assist including the Common Assessment Framework. School have implemented a range of policies to aid compliance including safeguarding and health & safety. Schools are expected to work alongside local authorities to implement the Act and, as part of the Ofsted inspection framework, are inspected against the 5 ECM outcomes (be healthy, stay safe, achieve & enjoy, make a positive contribution, achieve economic well-being).
COSHH Regulations 2013
‘COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health’. These substances include those used or created as substances or mixtures of substances. The level of hazard to health should be determined and where possible no / low risk options should be chosen. The level of risk can be determined through data sheets from suppliers and carrying out risk assessments. Where it is not possible to use no / low risk options then control and prevention methods must be used including providing information, instruction, training and safety equipment or personal protective equipment (PPE). Schools must abide by all of the above with reference to not just the school environment but also that of any external sites eg. trips, visits and offsite classrooms (including playing fields / swimming pools etc.).
Race Relations Act 2000
This Act makes race discrimination unlawful within employment, education, training, housing and the provision of goods, facilities and services along with any listed public authority in any of its functions. It emphasises 3 definitions direct discrimination, indirect discrimination and victimisation. There is a general duty on schools to promote race equality whilst eliminating unlawful racial discrimination and to promote good relations between people of different racial groups. It is mandatory for schools to have a written race equality policy and to record (in writing) any racially related incidents.
Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education 2007 This document replaces multiple dated guidance sheets, it sets out the responsibilities of all local authorities, schools and Further Education colleges in England to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. It sets out best practice for recruitment, some built on legislation, within schools, local authority, and Further Education sectors. It is also applicable to other educational and training facilities for those under 18 funded by the Learning and Skills Council, contractors working on educational sites where there are under 18’s, and supply agencies for staff in the education sector. Special Educational Needs & Disability Act 2001
Following the issue of the governments’ white paper ‘Valuing People’, this Act was created to help establish legal rights for disabled and special educational needs children in compulsory and post-16 education, training and other student services. Schools, colleges, universities, adult education providers, statutory youth services and local education authorities were all included in the Act to ensure that disabled people were offered the same opportunities as the rest of society. Where possible disabled people should also have the right to fulfil their potential and work.
Health And Safety At Work Act 1974
All employers have a duty of care to look after their own and other’s health and safety, employers and school staff also have a duty of care (under common law) to take care of pupils in the same way a prudent parent would. The act states that ‘Children should be able to experience a wide range of activities. Health and safety measures should help them to do this safely, not stop them. It is important that children learn to understand and manage the risks that are a normal part of life’. The Act requires that assessment of risk to the health and safety of staff, visitors and pupils by their activities is carried out (though this does not always require a written copy). A common sense approach should be undertaken, and the understanding that not all risk can be removed. Written parental consent is not required for pupils to take part is most offsite activities, however it should be sort for activities which carry higher risk or take place outside of school hours. Schools must set out health and safety arrangements in a written policy.