Children should be free from “nonsensical” health and safety advice, says the head of the Health and Safety Executive, Dame Judith Hackitt.
She says the “excessive risk-averse” culture in schools is damaging children’s ability to cope in the real world.
Put ‘risk’ on the curriculum
In fact, Dame Judith wants to go a step further and include how to cope with risk and danger at the heart of the school curriculum.
She highlighted the case of one school that banned a girl from wearing frilly socks in case she tripped over them.
She is calling for people to be raised to look after themselves and take responsibility for risk and not leave it to others.
A recent survey found traditional playground games like tag and British Bulldog are banned in more than 1 in 4 schools, according to a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.
Children will ‘become a liability’
Dame Judith says such bans undermine HSE’s efforts to improve safety in dangerous industries, such as construction and farming.
She puts the blame on “overprotective parents” and “risk-averse teachers”, who aren’t allowing children to learn to handle risk. She says it will lead to young adults who are poorly equipped to deal with the realities of the world.
These people will become a liability in any workplace, she adds.
A spokeswoman for the HSE said it “absolutely supports Dame Judith’s position”.