All schools, and particularly stand-alone academies, have a duty to manage the school’s resources with due diligence. The board of directors of an academy are expected to ensure that staff managing large amounts of money are suitably qualified and experienced, and that suitable and sufficient checks and balances are in place to monitor this. Sometimes the link between policy and implementation breaks down, as it did recently in a spectacular fashion when an Academy in Poole was scammed out of a million pounds after falling for a simple email fraud.

The money, earmarked for improvements to the Academy site, was lost after the Academy replied with their bank details to a fraudulent email. The fraudsters quickly withdrew the money which formed part of a £9.8 million loan from the Government.

The National Crime Agency and the Metropolitan Police have joined the inquiry along with local police. It is believed that this fraud is part of organised criminal activity which has affected other institutions in the UK.

For impartial advice on this and other health and safety matters within schools and academies sign up to Handsam Ltd by calling 0844 335 1737 or via info@handsam.co.uk.

The dangers of not checking for asbestos was again illustrated in a case heard by Bath Magistrates in March 2014. A building contractor exposed two of its employees to asbestos dust while working at a residential property in the city. The company allowed  workmen to demolish a basement ceiling without adequately checking for the presence of asbestos and sent the pair to work on other jobs without decontaminating their clothes when working at the property.

The two employees carried out the job using hand tools and pulled parts of the ceiling – made of asbestos insulation board – down by hand. When it was identified that the ceiling may contain asbestos, the employer sent the workers off to do other jobs without decontaminating their clothes or tools. It was later found the ceiling did contain asbestos.

HSE’s investigation found the contractors failed to make suitable and sufficient assessment for the presence of asbestos before work started and failed to prevent its spread.

The company was found guilty and fined a total of £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £637.

An HSE Inspector said after the hearing:

“The long-term effects of exposure to asbestos materials is the single greatest cause of work-related deaths in the UK and the exposure of these two workers to this dangerous substance was entirely preventable. A full survey of the area should have been carried out before work started and suitable plans put in place to deal with it.

For impartial advice on this and other health and safety matters within schools and academies sign up to Handsam Ltd by calling 0844 335 1737 or via info@handsam.co.uk.

If you are an existing customer of Handsam, further information about working on asbestos can be found within the Asbestos category on the Handsam Health and Safety system.

An Academy in Birmingham has been forced to hire security guards to deal with just 100 students.

The students, all aged between 13 to 16, attend the academy due to various reasons. This includes pregnancy, bad behaviour or because they are suffering from a long-term illness.

The security guards patrol the reception and corridors from the beginning of the day at 10 am. The school have also had to install security doors to prevent students smoking in a memorial garden on the school site.

The principal maintains that the guards are from a reputable firm and that none of the security guards are currently employed at nightclubs.

Do you have any questions on how to ensure a safe and secure environment within your school? For impartial advice on this and other health and safety matters within schools and academies sign up to Handsam Ltd by calling 0844 335 1737 or via info@handsam.co.uk.