Schools chief rails against over-cautious safety rules

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  • Teachers must stop trying to wrap children in cotton wool with over-the-top health and safety policies, the chief inspector of schools has said.

    Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Amanda Spielman said it stopped the children developing resilience and grit.

    She wants the education watchdog Ofsted to prepare new guidance for schools inspectors in England.

    Ms Spielman said making pupils wear high-vis vests on trips made them look like mini-builders minus the hard hats.

    She said schools had developed an over-cautious culture that made it difficult for young people to cope with everyday events.

    It's about time some sort of common sense was brought back into letting children take the odd risk. This protectionism probably has its roots partly in little Wayne tripping over and Mummy and Daddy demanding thousands in compensation. But we should let kids be kids, climb, run, jump etc. even if they do get a bruise or two otherwise we are simply creating a nation of wimps who will need Health and Safety courses to learn the best way to put their shoes on without injury.

    I do like the lady's sense of humour though - Ms Spielman said she looked forward to seeing more eager young faces on trips in the next school year but hopes "fewer of them will be auditioning for Bob the Builder".

  • I agree, in part, Morgan, that kids need to be free to explore the world around them, but the reason all those rules came in in the first place was because of so many accidents.

    If children are taken to anywhere that involves water, then teachers (or whoever) must risk assess the possible dangers and plan for them then. Same with any dangerous situation like caves or mountains.

    During the week, a group of army cadets ran into trouble on a Northern Ireland mountain when the weather suddenly changed. Some of the kids got injured. That's poor risk assessment. Anyone with half a brain knows that mountain weather can change suddenly and they are extremely dangerous environments.

    As I mentioned before I have a primary school near me and whenever the kids leave school during school time they are all made to wear high-vis jackets, so I can confirm that's not a rubbish story, but a true one however ridiculous it may sound.

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