In the modern world of post-incident litigation, teachers increasingly choose to avoid organising activities with any form of risk attached in case something goes wrong. But life is full of risk, which we automatically compensate for. For example we walk on the same throughway as cars, which could be considered dangerous, but we mitigate against this by walking on the pavement, while motorists drive on the road. There is always the chance that a driver will mount the kerb but this is low risk with a high return if we carry out the activity. However, where there is a high risk with low return we would be foolish to proceed; for example wading across a crocodile-infested river in order to save ten minutes walking to a bridge upstream.
The sad thing is that today even low-risk and high-return activities are being avoided in order to make sure there is no comeback on a school or multi-academy trust. This is especially the case with academies, as they don’t have the safety net of a local authority taking some of the risk. The result is that our children are being denied character-building opportunities that would help shape their educational and social development. But this need not be the case; it’s just a matter of planning properly.
As a school governor with 18 years’ experience, I have been involved in putting business continuity and crisis/incident management plans in place at my two schools. Before becoming academies, the schools would have leaned on the local authority to sort our problems out, but now we are responsible for ourselves. I spent a year doing a full business impact analysis for every kind of possible incident – from a minor accident to a coach crash overseas with fatalities – and then created plans to deal with these at both strategic and operational level. These plans are fairly generic to any educational establishment, including multi-academy trusts, and can be adopted at a very low cost as the main work has already been done.
How it is delivered
I have also developed an incident management software programme for schools with the following features:
- Any number of users can log in from anywhere at anytime.
- Users can work on different plans at the same time.
- There is a separate decision recording area.
- Plans have tasks that allow comments to be added.
- All comments and decisions are time and date stamped.
- All entries are tamper-proof and can be printed off as a log for later use.
- Documents can be uploaded and stored.
- Staff contact list is uploadable via CSV and includes SMS and email notification facilities.
- Contact lists for other support services (emergency, stakeholders and suppliers) can also be added.
- Multiple ‘child’ systems can be linked together within a ‘parent’ system to allow a hierarchal set-up in a multi-academy trust.
- It is housed in a secure server.
I can provide the complete product – comprising full business continuity set-up, the housing software, subsequent training and any testing of the plans. My system will provide the evidence to protect you and your school against post-incident litigation. It is also so user-friendly that schools are using it for their day-to-day minor incidents, so that all such events are recorded completely.