When looking for the right school for your child, the catchment area will obviously determine the schools they are entitled to go to. However, as loving and caring parents you will undoubtedly be as nervous as them for their first day (maybe a little more nervous, if you are honest, are we right?). That includes not just worrying that their teacher will be nice and get the best out of them or that they will make friends with the other kids in their class.
While these are important, they are not the only things you are concerned about. You will more likely than not, be concerned that they will be safe at their new school. In the following post, therefore, we are going to look at some of the ways you can tell the school your children are going to attend or already have started attending, is a safe place for them.
The Building and Grounds
First things first, you will want to make sure the building is in good condition and has been built following the regulations laid out by local authorities and governing bodies. Fortunately, schools have to meet certain guidelines and building regulations to be open and operational. You should also make sure that all the rooms are clean and bright and that the grounds themselves are free from any dark corners. Although in the summer it may be that dark corners don't exist, when the days get shorter and the light goes out earlier, you will want to make sure the school your kids are attending has sufficient lighting that is well-maintained, in and around the grounds and school buildings.
Protection Against Unauthorised Entry and Exit
Following on from the above point, it is important, if you are concerned about the safety of your children that a school has sufficient protection against unauthorized entry and exit. While it has now become the norm for access control technology to be implemented in the actual doors and entry/exit points of school buildings, to prevent people from just having access without prior permission, there should be some kind of barrier that prevents unauthorized individuals entering or exiting the actual grounds. This is why schools should have gates at any entry/exit points that lead into and away from the school grounds.
As other safety measures can fail, it has also become the norm for most schools to use CCTV throughout their buildings and grounds. Does your child’s school or prospective school have all the classrooms, other rooms, and corridors under surveillance always? If not, it could leave the pupils in attendance in danger.
Emergencies and General Safety
Find out the policy of the schools you are interested in. All schools should have plans of action in the event of an emergency. Are all the doors in the building able to be freely opened and accessed when hasty exits are needed if there is a fire or something similar? What are the fire safety plans for the school and where is the meeting point for your children when one does, if it does, occur? These are questions you need to ask the principal or representative of the school you make contact with.
You will obviously want to ensure that the teachers and other members of staff that will be working with and spending time with your children while they are at school have the right qualifications and clearances. It is not wrong to want to know that teachers and staff have had the relevant police background checks.
Nor is it unreasonable to expect a school to have a pupil to teacher ratio that means children in the lower classes receive the necessary monitoring and supervision. Or that anyone working in the school has the relevant first aid training. Further to that, it is also a good idea to make sure they have the capabilities to deal with life-threatening situations, such as children suffering head injuries, asthma attacks and choking on food.
There are many other things obviously, that you can check and speak to your child’s school to assess whether it is a safe environment for your child or not. This includes things related to the cleanliness and hygiene of the canteen, bathrooms and classrooms, corridors and the building in general. Speaking to the school directly is the best way to find out all you need to know, and if you have any doubt, you should consider looking elsewhere.