Health and safety in schools – Qualities of an unsafe school


Health and safety in schools is one aspect that has been overlooked. Safety doesn’t end in companies, it is also very important in schools at different levels (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary).

Health and safety in schools should be considered both by the school management and parents who send their children there.

Some parents are care free about this aspect, we just need a school with good academic reputation; other times we send our children to schools because a friend, a colleague or our role model children attend that school. We do not take time to find out if it is a safe school for your child.

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This article aims at highlighting what you should look out for before you choose a school for your child in order to keep them save. At the end of this article, you will understand some criteria you should look out for, or ask of before you settled for a school for your children.

The article will cover nursery schools and secondary schools; Both day and Boarding.

I know someone will ask:

What qualifies a school as unsafe?

This question will be answered in few seconds.

Take a sit, relax and follow this article to the end. You can thank me later with a cup of coffee.

Qualities of an unsafe school


  • No induction for new students and staffs
  • Unsafe clothing for student in terms of their approved school uniform. Have you imagine choosing a jacket as a compulsory school wear, but housing the student in a class room with no air conditioner nor fan? They will sweat from head to toe. As far as they are not comfortable in the dress code, they cannot assimilate anything from the class.

Poor transportation system:

  • Some schools pack children in a bus like sardine because of limited resources for transportation. This affect the comfort of the children; they can’t sit well and no good ventilation because the vehicle has been over-loaded.
  • Some drivers of the school buses are so reckless and rough, they don’t know anything about defensive driving.
  • The vehicles are not well maintained. Some do not have all the necessary safety accessories like the fire extinguisher, some no side mirrors in their vehicle, etc.
  • No speed limit within the school compound.

No emergency preparedness plan:

  • No emergency plan in place for emergency situations like fire emergency, health emergency, no evacuation plan.
  • No first aider’s

No/Poor health facility:

  • No clinic
  • No trained health personnel
  • No drugs
  • Limited space and facilities to accommodate sick children
  • Poor disposal of health care waste
  • Indifference in children health status
  • Poor treatment protocol for sick children; i.e, after initial treatment, no follow-up to check if the student is responding to the treatment or not. In boarding schools, after initial drug administration, no follow-up to ensure that the student is taking the drugs base on prescription.
  • Poor hygiene within the school compound.

Poor security structure:

  • No perimeter fence round the school compound.
  • Perimeter fence installed but gate is always left open.
  • No checking of vehicles entering in and out of the school premises.
  • No sign-in and out register.

Poor canteen/Dining hall structure:

  • Selling/giving non-hygienic food
  • Unclean environment
  • Poor diet

Poor welfare facility:

  • No good water in the school environment.
  • Pore holes not treated and tanks not washed nor flushed for a very long time.
  • Poor bathing facility and toilet
  • No cleaner to ensure that the toilet, bathrooms are properly washed and dis-infected.
  • Over-grown weeds within the school compound and even around the hostels.
  • Neglecting fumigation of the compound as stipulated by professionals.

A colleague published an article on “How to choose a safe school for your child” You need to read it. Parents have to read this. You have a duty to keep your children safe.

Health and safety in schools should be encouraged and enhanced.

How to enhance your health and safety in schools:

First thing that should be done is to either pick a Health and Safety consultant or employ a Health and safety representative.

They will draw out a Health and Safety plan for your school.

They will carry out risk assessment and proposed a risk management plan.

With the HSE plan in place and fully implemented, you can be sure that your school is safe.


See other suggested Articles

The 4 elements of the emergency management plan

Fire extinguisher service; how it is done


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