The General Teaching Council of Wales has summoned a former primary school headteacher, Jill Evans, to a hearing after it was alleged that she placed pupils’ lives at risk. Children at Heolgerrig School in Merthyr Tydfil had been playing football next to a building site, when the caretaker spotted potential danger. Building work at school meant that panels had only been fixed to the school on a temporary basis. He believed this could be extremely hazardous, especially if the ball came into contact with masonry. The committee heard that the caretaker, Michael Vaughan, had expressed concerns that panels falling from 20 feet could inflict serious injury.
Mr Vaughan claimed that what made the situation worse was the fact that his warnings were completely ignored. Returning to school the following day, he discovered that pupils were playing football again in the hazardous area. After asking the teacher in charge why this had been allowed to happen, the caretaker was informed that Ms Evans had not passed on his instructions. Her failure to act on the worries of those immediately responsible for the children’s safety led to her being summoned to the committee. The builders also provided a statement that they had no doubts about the potential dangers posed by panels being loosened and falling masonry.
The hazards of falling masonry
Any building site poses a series of potential dangers to those immediately involved in the construction, and also to members of the public who might be in the vicinity. It is crucial that every part of the environment is risk assessed so that health and safety issues can be addressed. This operation is especially critical where the work is being undertaken in or around a school. Children are less likely to be aware of the potential hazards, so due care must be taken in creating segregated areas where pupil safety can be guaranteed.
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Date Published: May 11, 2015
Author: David Brown