Wednesday 29 June 2022

Health, Safety, and Welfare (Term 1)

Term 1 2022 Review Summary  

Here at SchoolDocs, 2022 has been a year of significant growth and change so far. Our aim is to help schools have confidence in their policies, and this year we introduced a spruced-up review schedule to support that goal. The updated schedule groups related topics and encourages feedback from the whole school community. 

As we near working with two-thirds of all schools in Aotearoa, we’ve also welcomed five new team members who are proving invaluable in supporting the implementation of an even more robust review system. You might also notice a few changes to our look – we’re working on keeping SchoolDocs an engaging space for all users. 

Our updated review cycle starts with an in-depth review of health, safety, and welfare. As content that concerns the whole school community, we were pleased to receive a wide range of responses in term 1. Review topics were divided into the sections of Health and Safety Management, and Emergency, Disaster, and Crisis Management. Insights from schools into both of these areas showed how committed schools are to creating a safe space for students, and supporting the health and wellbeing of all school personnel. We’d like to thank all those that have engaged with the review process and provided feedback on both the content and our new schedule.

Commentary across both sections showed that schools were looking for greater clarity in their health and safety procedures. We’ve addressed the need to make information clearer by working on format and readability throughout these topics. Making sure we’re up to date with all relevant resources has been central to this review, and we’ve tried to consider the section as a whole when reflecting updated guidance. 

Health and Safety Management

For the health and safety management topics, a significant change has been to align our wording with the Health and Safety at Work Act. Previous versions of these topics used “teacher” or “staff member”, but we’ve changed this to “worker” where applicable. This change recognises that the policies refer to a range of workers on school sites, and health and safety is a shared responsibility among all parties. 

We’ve made changes to allow schools to include greater detail in their risk management and hazard register procedures. Documents in this section have also received an updated look from our design team, and will be available for use when we roll out the topics to all schools.   

Emergency, Disaster, and Crisis Management

We’ve strengthened policies in this section to support schools in extreme and challenging scenarios. While we hope that emergency, disaster, and crisis procedures are infrequently called into use, it’s important to have a reliable framework in these circumstances. The changes throughout this section are interlinked, and updates to specific information are reinforced by corresponding changes in related sections of the document set.

In our updates to this section, we’ve tried to balance the need for clear guidelines that apply to all schools, while creating more space for school-specific information. We’ve reinforced information that is most relevant to the school community, recognising that greater detail can be provided through school emergency plans. If you haven't already, add emergency preparedness as a standing agenda item to board and staff meetings, along with general health and safety reports.

To help schools have confidence tackling emergency situations, we’ve strengthened content that applies to a range of scenarios, such as evacuation procedures, communication during an emergency, and what happens after an event. Our new After an Emergency, Disaster, or Crisis topic brings together recommendations from a number of sources to help schools navigate the challenging time that may follow an unexpected event. We’ve researched and revised this content to provide what we hope will be a valuable resource for schools.

What next?

We encourage you (if you haven’t already) to compare our proposed changes across these sections with content on your own site. We realise there's a significant amount of information to absorb. On the Demo site, we recommend looking out for the Action column and checking where we might need input from you. Thanks again from the team for working with us through our transformation phase. We’re here to find what works best for schools, and we’re committed to making those changes.

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