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Health and Safety

There are two main elements of our work on health and safety in school – what we do to try and keep our community healthy and safe from harm and what we teach to enable our pupils to keep themselves healthy and safe throughout their lives.  Often of course there is a significant overlap.

As the health and safety of everyone in our community is Our Lady’s number one concern, we do rather a lot of work on it and we can only mention a few elements of our work here.

One of the most worrying aspects of modern life is the capacity for social media to be used in harmful ways. Every February during national E-Safety week the whole school in general and the IT Department in particular, teaches our students how to use and enjoy social media without allowing it to threaten their wellbeing. 

The theme of this year’s E-Safety week was ‘Create a safer internet together’ and our pupils were taught how to optimise their use of social media to enhance their lives as well as how to recognise, avoid or take appropriate action about such internet nasties as online bullying and sexting.

By including E-Safety week  in our annual timetable we hope to not only keep abreast of the fast-changing world of the internet but to make the safe use of social media second nature to our pupils.

The first week of the summer term was the school’s Healthy Living Week. The Amy Winehouse Foundation and Addaction came into school to make presentations to the pupils about drug and alcohol abuse and Years 9 and 10 completed workshops about how to respond to peer pressure. The school nurse warned of the dangers of smoking using her ‘tar jar’ and offered help and advice with any health matters including simple but important things like how to sleep better.

We took care that it wasn’t all scary stuff however, and the PE Department offered prizes for the most exercise done during the week and Mrs Eakhurst and Mrs Kitchen delighted everyone in their usual way – by providing delicious food – but this time especially ‘healthy’ flapjacks and banana cakes.

From time to time a particular threat to our pupils emerges and a few months ago we recognised through our reporting system that there was a growing number of young people who were self-harming . The reasons for self-harming are as numerous and varied as the young people it affects and there was therefore no simple strategy for remedying this terrible situation.

Members of staff began by attending courses to learn more about the problem. From that they began to investigate the particular circumstances of individuals or groups of individuals before deciding on tailored courses of action.  Students were supported with a mix of one- to- one professional counselling, staff counselling and awareness meetings and resources for parents.  Taking the trouble to consider every case individually, greater problem awareness and persistence has worked and there are presently no reports at all of self-harming incidents in school.

The same reporting systems also reveal that accidents often happen because of simple thoughtlessness and we are preparing a series of Assemblies to show how by just a moment’s consideration of the possible results of our actions we could avoid so many day to day accidents and injuries.

Finally, we take care of our school environment. The site team work tirelessly and undertake an immense number of checks and repairs to make sure that there is nothing within our school environment that can harm our community. Their dedication and attention to detail was evidenced by our last Health and Safety Audit that could not identify anything at all that they had not checked, recorded, repaired, replaced or otherwise kept as safe as possible.