Health and Safety Month – important advance notice of dates and activities and sign up details for webinars

To help empower NEU members, reps/health and safety reps and local officers and boost the skills and knowledge needed to help us ensure that we keep our schools and colleges are as safe as they can be, during the pandemic and beyond, we have designated November as ‘Health and Safety Month’.   

During November an extensive programme of webinars and training programmes – open to all members, reps and officers – is on offer. 

Health and safety week promotion.mp4 Further information is contained in this short video, which you can use to promote the month-long initiative among members.
During November, there will be opportunities to take part in a wide range of online training courses:

  • ‘Becoming a Health and Safety rep’, which is the three-part health and safety reps training course; 
  • a new three-part training programme for all those new to the role of h&s officer/adviser and as a refresher for those who are more experienced; and
  • a new course ‘Work-related stress as a collective issue’.  

Registration and dates for these will be available shortly and information will be shared with you as soon as possible.
As far as the webinars are concerned, these are listed below.  For most of these, registration is available now, via the links shown.  In a couple of cases, the webinars have not yet been set up and we will share the joining links asap.  Information about the courses and the webinars will be published soon on the website but I hope this advance notice is helpful in terms of arranging time off where necessary.

Thursday 5 November 

2.00 – 3.00pm – A View from the Regulator – Andrew Kingscott – HSE Head of Public Administration, Education and Volunteers. 

A discussion about the role of the HSE and its expectations of schools and colleges with the opportunity to ask questions about particular areas of concern

4.00 – 5.00pm – Thinking of becoming a Health and Safety rep?  Join us to find out more about what the role involves and share experiences with our panel of recent recruits. An opportunity to hear from NEU health and safety reps who took on the role during the COVID-19 crisis, including their challenges and achievements.

Friday 6 November 

1.30 – 3.00pm – On-line Safety and Impact of Covid-19 – Karl Hopwood, Online Safety Expert, esafety Ltd 

The session will look at the latest trends and developments in online safety including the impact of COVID-19. It will consider the latest research and summarise the latest guidance for schools.

3.30 – 5.00pm – Climate Anxiety -including a presentation from student Climate Ambassadors introducing Youth Climate Summit Week  

Chair – Ian Watkinson, NEU Executive member and chair of Health and Safety Organising Forum   Further details to follow.

Tuesday 10 November  

1.30 – 3.00pm – Yes, pupils can do practicals! – Ensuring activities in science, D&T and art are COVID safe – Steve Jones, Director, CLEAPSS 

Ensuring that staff and pupils stay Covid- safe presents some particular difficulties in practical subjects. This session will explore how CLEAPSS advice aims to ensure that pupils still get to experience important hands-on learning, whilst still making sure that schools comply with the latest guidance from DFE. Topics discussed will include social distancing for pupils and staff and the requirement for ‘meticulous cleaning’ of equipment between bubbles.

4.00 – 5.00pm – Asbestos – death, denial and concealment – investigating and taking action – Hank Roberts, NEU Executive 

We have known that asbestos kills since the Roman times where slaves mining it were dying. Why are people in the UK still dying from exposure to it, including in schools and colleges? More importantly still, what can we do about it? This session is designed to take on and expose the deniers, those covering up and those in the asbestos trade.   We need to increase the pressure to end this outrage.

4.30 – 5.30 Introduction to Eco Schools – Lee Wray-Davies, Eco-Schools Manager: Keep Britain Tidy Further details to follow

Wednesday 1November 

3.45 – 4.45pm – Learning through Landscapes 

This webinar will explore a variety of primary curriculum-linked opportunities for learning outdoors in a typical school grounds. It will consider creative ways to use the tarmac, grassland, trees and other school grounds’ features to support meaningful learning experiences and then look at the simple enhancements and ways that they can be implemented to increase impact. 

 This webinar will be run by Learning through Landscapes a leading UK charity dedicated to enhancing outdoor learning and play for children and a reputation as the UK’s leading school grounds educational charity. They help children and young people to connect with nature, become more active, learn outdoors and have fun.  

Friday 13 November 

1.30 – 2.30pm – COVID is not an excuse to abandon other preventative measures for workers or students – Tim Tregenza, Network Manager: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work. 

The pandemic has placed new demands on Europe’s education system. Maintaining a healthy and safe educational establishment in times of COVID means addressing both the public and occupational health needs and recognising that the presence of COVID does not mean that other hazards and risks have gone away. This challenge can only be met though an effective risk assessment and management process with the full engagement of workers.

3.30 – 4.30pm – MSDs and Covid19 – challenges for teachers and pupils at school and home – Lorna Taylor, Physiotherapist at Jolly Back 

With Covid19 restrictions impacting staff and pupils working from home and in schools and colleges throughout the country, latest research will be discussed with practical solutions shared to improve the musculoskeletal health of education staff and pupils. This session will also launch our new musculoskeletal health guidance for those working in early years and primary.   

A comprehensive session with practical advice and a Q&A with physiotherapist, Lorna Taylor to improve health and ergonomics for home working and in schools and colleges.

Tuesday 17 November 

1.30 – 3.00pm – Domestic abuse- a trade union health and safety issue – Karen Carberry, Lead Equality Organiser for Women – Organising and Learning and Sandra Bennett, Legal Officer: Law and Rights at Work – 1.30 – 3.00pm 

This session provides H&S activists with an overview of the impacts of domestic abuse in the workplace. Discussion on how employers should respond, what reps and health and safety reps can do to support members and how activists can raise awareness using NEU resources.

Tuesday 24 November 

2.00 – 3.00pm – Air Pollution – A Trade Union Issue? – Hilda Palmer – Manchester Hazards Centre 

Levels of air pollution across the UK are at unsafe and illegal levels. Over 2,000 schools and nurseries in England and Wales are located in areas with illegal levels of pollution. Faced with this threat to health what can trade unions do to protect pupils and staff?

Thursday 26 November 

3.30 – 4.30pm – Round up of Health and Safety Month – Question time panel chaired by Amanda Martin, Past President NEU

An opportunity to reflect on the events that have taken place over the month, share good practice and seek advice from a panel of experienced lay officers and other experts on outstanding health and safety questions.