Health and Safety
Collegiate High School for Girls’ is committed to providing a safe, secure and supportive learning environment for all pupils, staff and the school community. This commitment includes the welfare of teaching staff and pupils as well as the protection of property, resources and information.
Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 9 Act 108 of 1996, states “a learner has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their wellbeing. It is a constitutional right of every learner to enjoy education in a harmonious and carefree environment.” The purpose of this policy is, so far as reasonably practicable, to give meaning to Section 24 of the Constitution by:
- Establishing and maintaining a safe and healthy environment throughout the school;
- Establishing and maintaining safe working procedures among staff and pupils;
- Making arrangements for ensuring safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances;
- Ensuring the provision of sufficient information, instruction and supervision to enable all employees and pupils to avoid hazards and contribute positively to their own health and safety and they have access to health and safety training as appropriate or as and when provided;
- Formulating effective procedures for use in the case of fire and for evacuating the school premises;
- Laying down procedures to be followed in case of an accident.
All members of the school community must work towards achieving the school’s vision of excellence through a holistic education by:
- Being fully aware of their own responsibilities for maintaining a safe and healthy environment;
- Being familiar with all instructions and guidance of safety within the school;
- Using common sense at all times to take responsible care for their own safety and the safety of others;
- Reporting any unidentified hazards to the Principal immediately.
3.1 School Governing Body
- Must establish a Safety and Security Committee;
- Ensure adequate resources for health and safety are available;
- Monitor and review school safety policy;
3.2 School Safety and Security Committee
- The SGB of the school shall establish a Safety and Security Committee and it shall be a sub-committee of the SGB;
- Ensure that safe work practices and procedures are applied within the school;
- Ensure that School Safety Inspections are undertaken once a term;
- Establish a system for the reporting, recording and investigation of accidents and ensuring this is applied rigorously;
- Ensure members of the school community are aware of their own responsibilities;
- Take responsibility for the development of and implementation of the school health and safety policy;
- Monitor and review the policy and update when necessary;
- Ensure all staff are familiar with the policy;
- Facilitate the training of staff where needed or required;
- Take active steps to ensure that equipment, buildings and grounds are safe, secure and well maintained and any damage is quickly rectified (funds permitting);
- Ensure arrangements are in place for the speedy evacuation of the buildings in case of fire or other emergency, and that firefighting equipment is available and maintained;
- Ensure first aid boxes are acquired and maintained.
The School Safety and Security Committee consists of the following members:
- Head of Security
- Estate Manager
- Front Office Representative
- Representatives from the contracted Security Company
- Collegiate Junior Representative
- SAPS Liaison Officer
The Safety and Security Committee’s organisational and composition is as follows:
The Safety and Security Committee will regularly discuss security at committee meetings that will be held once a term (and when necessary).
The duties of the Committee Members in terms of evacuation procedures are as follows:
- Head of Security
The Head of Security will be the Chairperson of the Health and Security Committee and is to ensure that:
- Comprehensive evacuation planning is undertaken with the assistance of the Health and Safety Committee and such planning is recorded in the form of a written Evacuation Plan;
- Evacuation planning is reviewed regularly and updated when necessary, in order to be optimally effective;
- All educators and pupils are adequately trained to perform their duties and that all facets of the Evacuation Plan are practised regularly;
- Communications are effective and that instructions can be given to emergency personnel in any part of the school within the minimum loss of time;
- The safety of all educators, pupils and visitors is planned for;
- Emergency situations are effectively and efficiently managed;
- Emergency personnel are identifiable;
- Drills are practiced at least twice a year;
- Assumes overall command during emergencies;
- The secretaries are trained to summons the emergency services, when authorised to do so, without delay;
- Delegates the responsibility to the school secretaries to ensure that vital movable valuable records and documents are afforded priority ratings for salvage purposes in the event of fire, etc.
- Determination of the safest and most effective fire escapes and evacuation routes;
- To ensure that evacuation routes are kept clear;
- The training of educators and pupils in the correct method of reacting in the case of an evacuation
- To determine the safest possible evacuation route – determined after consultation with the Senior Management Team;
- Evacuation routes (and alternatives) should be clearly displayed in all venues and in the school diary;
- Ensure that the secretaries keep a record of all handicapped staff and pupils and special arrangements made for their assisted evacuation;
- Remind teachers to ensure that doors and windows are closed when evacuating due to a fire and opened when evacuating due to a bomb or the discovery of a bomb, and to ensure that panic is kept to a minimum when evacuating and that order is maintained throughout;
- Orderly shutdown procedures are followed;
- b) Estate Manager
The Estate Manager is responsible for the following:
- The required equipment is procured and kept serviceable and secure;
- Emergency facilities are serviceable and well maintained;
- All exits, evacuation routes, firefighting equipment and first aid equipment are prominently displayed;
- Assessment of premises from a fire prevention and protection point of view;
- Implementation of effective fire prevention measures;
- Submission of recommendations for firefighting equipment, after liaison with the Fire Department;
- To ensure that fire escapes are practical and not locked in such a way to prohibit use;
- To ensure that fire hazards are eliminated or kept to a minimum;
- To ensure that firefighting equipment is kept secure, but accessible, is well distributed and well maintained and effective;
- Signposting of firefighting equipment;
- Areas are searched after evacuation to ensure that all pupils and staff have evacuated and that affected areas are clear.
3.3 The Principal
- Develop a health and safety culture throughout the school;
- Together with the Head of Security, take responsibility for the day to day operations of the safety policy;
- Ensure staff are aware of their responsibilities.
- Support the implementation of the Health and Safety policy;
- Take reasonable care of themselves and others;
- Ensure as far as reasonably practicable that their classroom or work area is safe;
- To make sure a risk assessment is carried out before any offsite visits by pupils.
- Taking growing responsibility for maintaining a safe and healthy environment and for their own safe conduct within it.
- Legislative and Policy Framework
- The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), as amended, hereinafter referred to as “the Constitution”
- Government Gazette 19377 of 1998) as promulgated in terms of the National Education Policy Act, 1996 (Act 27 of 1996), as amended [NEPA]
- The South African Schools Act, 1996 (Act 84 of 1996), as amended (SASA)
- The Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act 2 of 2000)
- The Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (Act 3 of 2000)
- Employment of Educators Act, Act 76 of 1998 as amended
- The Criminal Procedure Act, Act of 1977
- The Occupational Health and Safety Act No.85 of 1993
- Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act, 1992 (Act 140 of 1992)
- Regulations for Safety Measures in Public Schools
- Pupil Safety
5.1 Personal safety and well-being
- Pupils should not engage in any activity at school which may cause physical injury or trauma of any kind to themselves;
- Pupils should exercise the greatest care whilst on the school premises and obey all school rules and instructions given at an assembly, by staff, the prefects and by the RCL;
- Whilst the school shall at all times take all reasonable safety precautions to avoid injury/ loss to learners, the School, its SMT, SGB or the Eastern Cape Department of Education shall not be liable for any claims/ litigations which may arise in respect of this;
- Special arrangements will be undertaken to ensure safety of pregnant learners on the school premises. The safety of pregnant learners will be dealt with in accordance with the school’s Policy on Learner Pregnancy.
5.2 Safety in classrooms
- In laboratories, educators must be aware – and make learners aware – of safety guidelines relevant to their subjects;
- Educators must know how to apply emergency measures in case of accidents;
- All classes must be equipped with an elementary first aid kit which must contain: 2 pairs of rubber gloves; a pair of scissors; bandages and plasters; disinfectant and cotton-wool (inventoried);
- Serious injury must be reported to the office immediately. The office will administer the necessary procedure and, if necessary, contact the parent. Should the parent be unavailable the learner will be taken to (a) a private hospital (for pupils with medical aid); (b) to the community clinic (c) Hospital outpatient or (d) the emergency services will be contacted and an ambulance requested;
- Educators must ensure that all learners have completed medical information (with an emergency contact number). This must be filed in the general filing cabinet in the Copy Room. Information is captured on the School’s computer system and accessible to all staff at all times.
5.3 Learner accidents, incidents and illness
- A qualified First Aid team must be present at all school sports events to attend to injured pupils should it become necessary;
- If a pupil is unwell or falls ill at school, then the parent/s or legal guardian will be contacted by the front office for his/her instructions;
- It is essential that all contact numbers and details are provided accurately on the admission/ verification/ excursion forms;
- Pupils who are on chronic medication must inform the front office as well as their educators. Pupils who suffer from respiratory illnesses must carry their “asthma” pumps or special medication with them at all times.
- First aid boxes are located in the front office, the Guard House and the Sports Office.
5.4 First Aid Leader
The First Aid Leader is in charge of the school’s First Aid Society. His/ Her duties include the following:
- The determination, procurement and distribution of adequate emergency first aid equipment;
- The effective distribution of emergency first aid equipment throughout the school;
- To ensure that first aid equipment is readily accessible, yet sealed and secure, and stored appropriately;
- That a sufficient number of first aiders are appointed and trained to general level of standards. A ratio of 1:25 is the expected requirement;
- Suitable causality points are identified and are accessible to ambulances and medically trained personnel;
- First Aid team members are identifiable and adequately equipped to perform their duties
- That in the event of a first aid casualty situation, triage is applied and that this principle is familiar to all team members;
- Storage facilities of first aid equipment should be clearly marked by means of a green cross on a white background and should be identified on the floor plan;
5.5 Serious Injuries
Where a pupil is seriously injured, and would appear to require expert medical attention or even hospitalisation, the following procedures should be followed:
- Phone the parents/guardian/responsible adult;
- If unable to reach a parent, the family doctor should be contacted;
- If the child is conscious or unconscious make sure it is safe to move the child before you do so;
- If the first aid team cannot assist call an ambulance;
- If the family is on medical aid, the child should be taken to the nearest private trauma centre or hospital trauma centre. (Note: these should be identified by name and arrangements made with them that they will receive pupils with suspected serious injuries.)
- If the family is not on medical aid, the child should be taken to the trauma unit at the nearest state hospital or clinic. (This will not place the school under financial liability.) The patient can always be transferred to private medical care subsequently;
- Each sports coach/ manager must keep an up-to-date set of excursion forms for the players in his/ her team;
- Remember to use the surgical gloves (which are supplied with all the first aid kits) whenever you are dealing with blood and body fluids as a protection against the HIV virus.
5.6 Safety of Pupils outside of the school premises
- Pupils may not wait to be collected outside of the school gates. They must remain within the school premises until such time as their lift arrives;
- No pupil may wear earphones whilst identifiable as a Collegiate girl, and it is strongly encouraged that pupils do not use their cell phones or other devices when walking in public, or waiting to be collected from school.
- Pupils who carry or use cell phones in public, particularly when travelling to and from school, have become the targets of criminals who accost them and rob them of their cell phones and other possessions. These attacks occur most frequently when pupils are seen using their cell phones, particularly if they are expensive and/or “latest models” of sought-after brands.
- Consent forms for all excursions/tours must be completed by parents and handed to the School.
- Management of Property
6.1 Personal Property
- The safekeeping of all pupils’ possessions is the responsibility of the pupil. Pupils are advised to take care not to leave their bags and other valuables lying around unattended;
- Dependent on funds, the school will install 24-hour camera surveillance in strategic locations around the school;
- The school is not responsible for valuable personal items that a pupil may bring to school. This includes cell phones, ipods and other digital devices;
- Teachers are cautioned about leaving handbags, wallets, purses, laptops etc. in their classrooms;
- Teachers are able to leave their handbags, cell phones, laptops etc. in staffroom lockers if they wish to;
- Pupils may hire lockers for a year in which to store personal belongings and books.
6.2 Cash on School Premises
- According to the Finance Policy, no more than R30 000-00 may be stored in the school safe, except in the first week of every term and the start of the new school year, where the limit is R100 000-00;
- This safe is kept locked at all times;
- Cash is deposited into the school’s bank account on ad hoc basis;
- Banking is done at different times during the school day.
- Cash is handled out of sight of staff, pupils and parents.
- Staff membersare strongly advised against leaving money in unlocked desk drawers in the classroom or even in the staffroom.
- If a pupil brings a large amount of money to school, or if money is being collected from the class, this should be handed in to the Bursar’s office for safekeeping and be clearly labelled (envelopes are provided for this). The school cannot accept responsibility for money, which is left unattended in desks, suitcases or blazers.
- Staff Duties
- Staff must be alert at all times;
- Report suspicious looking persons, parcels or vehicles to management immediately;
- Keep a watchful eye over the pupils.
7.1 Pupil Supervision
- At the start of each school term, a break duty roster is drawn up to supervise pupils during first and second breaks;
- School Prefects are also help to supervise areas around the school during break times;
- In the event of an incident, pupils must report to the teacher on break duty, or the front office;
- The teacher on break duty is required to escort the pupil to the First Aid Leader, where the necessary first aid will be administered;
- If necessary, the pupil’s parents will be contacted;
- The teacher on break duty is required to complete an Incidents Report Form that is submitted to the First Aid Leader and then the Head of Security;
- During extra murals, the teacher taking the extra mural is responsible for first aid requirements. Again, an Incident Report must be completed;
- During sporting events such as a sporting event where pupils are away from school property, the teacher in charge of the sport has a first aid bag with him / her;
- During school tours, the Teacher carries a First Aid bag around at all times.
- Safety on School Premises
The school has implemented the following arrangements to ensure the safety and security of staff, pupils and other persons using the school premises.
- If a girl is ill during the school day, the subject teacher fills in a designated form. The pupil goes to the Grade Head, who signs the form. If the pupil is a boarder, she must also see the Hostel Superintendent. In the event of a pupil coming in to only write a test on a Tuesday or Thursday, she must hand a note to the front office from her parents/ guardian, excusing her from the rest of the day, before writing the test. In this case, the Grade Head need not be consulted.
- Pupils know that they must not leave the school property without written permission from the front office. This notice must be handed to the guard at the main entrance before leaving the school premises.
- Parents/Guardians collecting their learners before the end of the school day have to request permission from the principal for their child to leave class early. Parents are asked to report to the Front Office. Pupils will not be called down to the office. It is the parent’s responsibility to arrange a collection time at the Front Office with their daughter.
- No learner will be allowed to wait for their parents at the school gates.
- Reporting any security concerns to the principal, Front Office or any other member of the teaching staff.
- Parents do not leave their learners unsupervised on school property all afternoon.
- Parents collect their learners timeously.
- The school in pursuance of its safety, security and substance abuse policy reserves the right to conduct a search of a learner if there are reasonable grounds for this action.
- All visitors to the school must report to the Guard House at the main entrance in Kestell Street for access onto the school property;
- Visitors must report at reception;
- Visitors may under no circumstances proceed to any classrooms or other venue within the school (unless accompanied by a staff member);
- Visitors may be subjected to security searches at the security checkpoint at the gates;
- Visitors will not be permitted to carry any weapon whatsoever;
- No unauthorized individual is allowed access onto the school premises and offenders may be prosecuted;
- The drivers of all vehicles which are permitted to enter the school premises must display the designated identification car disc and their vehicles may be subjected to a security search;
- The right of admission onto the school premises is reserved and any individual who may pose any problem or threat at school will be summarily removed by the school’s security staff and may be charged with trespassing.
8.3 On-site contract workers
- Must be under constant supervision of a contractor;
- Must be easily identifiable as contract workers at all times;
- May not have any contact with learners unless specifically required to do so and then it will be under the supervision of a staff member;
- Must leave school premises by 17h00 unless alternative arrangements have been made with the Estate Manager;
- Contractor must have the relevant safety certificates if applicable and comply with the OSH Act.
- Access Control
9.1 Use of Gates to Premises
- In the morning, the Conyngham Road gate is opened from 07h00 to 07h45. A Security Guard will be on duty at this gate during this time;
- The main gate in Kestell Street is manned 24 hours a day;
- No pupil will be permitted to leave the school property without the necessary signed documentation from the front office;
- All gates are locked during school hours;
- In the afternoon, the Conyngham Road gate is opened manually from within the school premises from 14h00 to 16h00.
9.2 Entry of school property outside of teaching time
- Members of staff are not responsible for the safety of pupils left unsupervised on the school property after extra mural programmes have ended;
- The offices, StaffRoom, Bio Science Department, Hospitality Room, Ivy Leaf, Media Centre, Computer Rooms, Music Department, Hall passage, Patio doors, Side Hall door, as well as most other external doors are on the Burglar Alarm System;
- The principle to operate on is that if a door is locked the burglar alarm is probably on and needs to be deactivated before entering and reactivated before leaving. Panic Buttons are located on the wall in the Staffroom. Staff members who need to deactivate the alarm must speak to the Head of Security.
- Pupils may not use the facilities and the equipment of the school (including those used for sport) or enter the school grounds after school hours without the permission of a staff member;
- The school is monitored on a 24-hour basis by contracted armed response to handle serious emergencies;
- Electronic surveillance cameras with 24-hour monitoring also enhances the security of the school, its pupils and staff and its resources.
9.4 Areas designated “out of bounds areas”
- The Hospitality, Consumer Studies and Art Rooms, all Laboratories, the Gym Hall and Auditorium, and all other classrooms, during break and after school, unless permission is granted by a teacher;
- The Hostel for day girls except by special permission from the Superintendent;
- The centre steps of the quadrangle;
- The Music corridor;
- The front entrance except for evening functions, or when being fetched by a parent during school hours;
- The staffroom at all times;
- The main staircase to all girls, except the Prefects;
- The gallery above the stage except with permission from a teacher. The catwalk into the roof is out of bounds at all times;
- All gymnastic equipment unless a teacher is present;
- The entire garden area in front of the school;
- The Entrance Foyer except for those needing to see the Principal or Secretary or waiting to be fetched;
- Ivy Leaf, except during break or after school for special functions. Only Grade 12s may sit in the Ivy Leaf during breaks;
- Beyond the hockey field next to the astro turf and the entire area south of Jenkins way (i.e. the swimming pool side);
9.5 School Buildings
- The premises have a security alarm system. This is monitored by Atlas Security;
- The staff have security codes to allow access into and out of the school. This is linked to the Control room of the security company;
- The school property is securely fenced;
- Maintenance of all building and equipment is an on-going procedure to ensure that the safety and security of everyone is maintained;
- The school keeps track of all inventories;
- Lights in the quad and around the school are switched on at night;
- Designated people are responsible for the opening and closing of the school gates.
- Maintenance of Safety Equipment
10.1 Fire extinguishers
- A register of fire extinguishers is kept by the Estate Manager;
- Fire extinguishers must be accessible at all times;
- Fire extinguishers must be inspected regularly and serviced on an annual basis by an accredited service provider;
- Damage or vandalism should be reported immediately to the Estate Manager.
- Maintenance of Gas Cylinders
- Cylinders should not be stored near gangways, stairwells, or other places where they can be knocked down or damaged;
- Acetylene and liquefied fuel gas cylinders should be stored with the valve end up;
- Protect cylinders from cuts or abrasions;
- Cylinders should be stored in a safe, dry, well-ventilated place prepared and reserved for that purpose.
12.1 Information and Communication
- The Safety and Security Committee discuss security issues;
- Any comments and feedback on security related issues from the community are welcomed. Parents are asked to help with ensuring that the school premises are a safe environment for all people;
- A general staff meeting is held on the first day of the school term;
- During this meeting, any changes to the safety and security protocol of the school is discussed;
- The pupils are informed of the evacuation procedures during register class periods;
- All evacuation routes must be clearly marked according to NOSA standards (in buildings, on corridors and in classrooms);
- In case of the need for evacuation, learners are to proceed in single file, without talking, pushing or shoving;
- At the place of safety, the register teachers are to take roll call. The register teacher then reports to the Deputy Principal.
12.2 Procedures during an emergency evacuation
12.2.1 General Procedure
An evacuation will be announced by bells. Instructions will be given over the intercom as to which alert it is. In the event of a power failure, the alert will be given over the loud hailer. If a teacher is not present in the classroom at the time of an alert, the girls must proceed by themselves. Staff members with cell phones are to take these with them to the assembly point. All cell phones should, however, be switched off until clear of the building.
12.2.2 Security Alert (RIOT indicated by 1 long bell and 1 short bell)
- Lock the outside doors (HODs) and downstairs classrooms once the room is empty.
- Close all windows.
- Take your cases with you, but if they are in another part of the school or in the IT corridors do not attempt to fetch them.
- Head for the central quad. (Grade 12 pupils on the Ivy Leaf side and the Grade 8s on the Bursar’s side).
12.2.3 Evacuation Alert (FIRE is indicated by 3 short bells and BOMB is indicated by 1 long bell)
Close the windows and doors in the case of a fire. Open the windows and doors in the case of a bomb.
- Take your cases with you, but if they are in another part of the school, do not attempt to fetch them.
- Proceed to the hockey fields in two lines of single file. Place cases in class order on the edge of the wooden fence, close to the netball courts, and line up on the edge of the middle grass field.
- Evacuationroutes should be posted in each classroom and office. Please check that
this is available and visible and that you know and understand the instructions. (Details in Diary)
12.2.4 Special Duties – See Annexure A
- Racism, Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
- The school acknowledges that racism, discrimination, and sexual harassment are based on the assumption by some groups and individuals that certain groups are better or worthier than others as a result of perceived physical and inherited differences;
- This school rejects this notion as false, and believes that racism, discrimination, and sexual harassment in any form is unethical and unacceptable. It also believes that racism, discrimination, and sexual harassment pervert understanding, and inhibit both the perpetrator and the victim from reaching their full potential;
- The school is committed to working towards the elimination of racism, discrimination, and prejudice in its corporate conduct and in the conduct of all members of the school community, but most particularly its staff and pupils;
- The school will not tolerate racism, sexism, slurs, discrimination, or harassment of any kind, and will rigorously investigate any allegations of this;
- Those found guilty will be dealt with in terms of the school’s disciplinary code and procedures and those of the Department of Education;
- Learner Conduct
The Code of Conduct and School Rules adopted by the school stipulates the following measures that affect school safety:
- Mutual respect within and among groups;
- Respect for parents and the community;
- Avoidance of anti-social behaviour;
- Adherence to rules and regulations;
- Tolerance of the opinions and beliefs of others;
- Full co-operation during lessons;
- Collegiate pupils are expected to maintain a high standard of morality and integrity at all times;
- Criminal activity and the use or possession of alcohol, drugsand/or narcotics are strictly prohibited;
- Dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated;
- Pupils acknowledge the School’s right to search in the event of suspected theft or possible presence of prohibited substances;
- Pupils must take pride in their school premises by ensuring that classrooms and grounds are kept neat and tidy at all times;
- Pupils must observe and adhere to internal school rules, which should be read in conjunction with the code of conduct;
- No girl may bring onto the school premises any form of alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, marijuana, intoxicating drugs or any other banned substance;
- The possession and/or use of intoxicating drugs or any other banned substance in any place at any time is prohibited;
- No girl may smoke or vape or be in possession of nicotine or tobacco containing substances, whilst in her school uniform, or when identifiable as a Collegiate Girl.
The School will not tolerate:
- Dishonesty of any kind;
- Obscene and foul language;
- Any acts of aggression or violent behaviour of any form;
- Graffiti and vandalism of any kind;
- Initiation, as stipulated by National Legislation;
- Hate speech;
- Any action which will bring the name of the school into disrepute.
14.2 Carrying of Dangerous Weapons
- No weapons, implements or materials which can cause bodily harm may be in the possession of any person at school or while under the supervision of the school;
- Visitors may be subjected to security searches at the security checkpoint at the gates.
14.3 Cell Phone Use
- Pupils may bring cellular phones onto the School Premises and may use these before school, after school and at break times.
- Pupils may not contact their parents via their cell phones to ask them to fetch them when not feeling well or to ask them to bring items to school for them. Pupils must follow the correct channels i.e. obtain permission from their Grade Head to go home early, then go to the Front Office (Day girls) or to the Hostel Superintendent then the Front Office (Boarders) where the Secretary will phone the parents and then sign out the girls. This is essential for the security of pupils.
- Pupils may not use devices nor cellular phones in classes or anywhere else, except during break times, without the permission of the teacher in charge. Should a pupil be seen or heard using such devices without permission or for purposes other than allowed, a detention of one hour will be given.
- If the phone is visible or used during formal assessments, the assessment could be declared null and void.
- The School will not accept any responsibility for the loss of, or damage to, any pupil’s cellular phone or other device whilst at school, participating in sporting or cultural activities, or travelling to and from such activities.
- Building Site Safety
The protocol for managing the school during construction projects is aimed at the safety and security of learners, staff and visitors during such construction.
These guidelines incorporate relevant aspects of the “Occupational Health and Safety Act”, 1993 (Act no 85 of 1993). It is aimed principally at school principals and school management teams to assist them in planning and managing the tasks they are likely to face during a major construction project at their school.
15.2. Planning and preparation
a) The appointment of a school safety construction coordinator should be made as early in the project as possible (S.S.C.O);
- b) The SSCO, together with the local authority and the contractor, will have a key role in managing the expectations of school users and neighbours throughout the project;
- c) The school and the construction site must be clearly and safely separated at all times during the project;
- d) It is important for the school to establish a good working relationship with the contractors site manager during the construction period (this must be driven by the S.S.C.O);
- e) The school should liaise closely with the local authority representative throughout the project;
- f) Good consultation and communication are key to ensuring that learners and staff develop a sense of ownership of the project.
- a) While the principal will retain overall management responsibility for the school during the project, one of her key responsibilities will be to appoint a person to represent the school in the day to day management of the project. This appointment, often called a “school safety construction coordinator” or S.S.C.O, should be made as early in the project process as possible to allow for continuity through the design and planning phases into the construction phase.
- b) The S.S.C.O is almost always the school’s Estate Manager. The capacity of the S.C.O’s post will vary depending on the size and type of school and the nature and stage of the project.
- c) It is essential that during the construction period a single point of contact is established within the school for project communication.
Support and training
- d) The S.C.C.O, and support staff in the school may find their job descriptions and workloads change throughout the life of the project. It is important that support staff, administrative and technical support staff are fully informed of the project proposals and the demand which might be placed upon them at various Depending on the project, a request for additional staffing may be considered appropriate in some of these areas.
- e) Additional training may be considered for the S.S.C.O and other staff to assist them in dealing with specific project tasks.
15.4 Consultation on the construction plan
Prior to the construction stage it is essential that the school is consulted by the design team/contractor on their construction method and programme for carrying out the works on site. In particular, the school should be briefed on:
- Health and safety procedures
- Programming and timing
- Zoning and phasing arrangements
- Decanting of learners and staff
- Arranging and commissioning of new buildings
Every effort should be made at this planning stage to ensure the health and safety of school users, and to anticipate and minimise disruptions to the normal running of the school during the construction period.
15.5 Health and safety
- a) Responsibility for the health and safety of all school users throughout the construction phase remains with both school management and the contractor.
- b) The principal or her representative should contribute to the project’s health and safety plan through discussion with the S.S.C.O and the project manager.
- c) Factors to consider for the plan include:
- The method to be used to separate the school from the construction site. The complexity of this will vary depending on the nature of the work and whether it is carried out in phases
- Learners, staff, parent and community movement around, through and beyond the school buildings and site, including periods out of normal school hours
- Any temporary and permanent alterations to fire escape routes, vehicle access and drop off points
- Limitations of the contractor affecting the health and safety of school users during construction work
- Any further changes in operational arrangements affecting the school during the project should be brought to the attention of the S.S.C.O for inclusion in the health and safety plan
15.6 Project programme, phasing and temporary relocation
- a) The way in which construction works are planned and undertaken can make a significant difference to the level of inconvenience experienced by the school.
- b) The school (through the S.S.C.O) should advise the contractor of key periods throughout the academic year so that the construction programme can be planned appropriately to accommodate these. Particularly sensitive times like exams, music and drama productions should be highlighted. Equally, times such as school holidays should also be highlighted. However, attention should be drawn to where non- teaching staff and other school users (sports teams, clubs, societies etc.) will continue to use the school throughout the holiday period.
- c) For projects in occupied buildings, it is often necessary to carry out the construction work in a series of phases, with each phase covering a limited area, or “zone”, of the school building. The school, in consultation with the project manager, will advise on the zoning and sequence of phases to minimise disruption.
- d) The programming and phasing arrangements may require parts of the school to be temporarily relocated during the construction period. This could involve the use of classrooms elsewhere in the school or temporary accommodation located on the site. The time taken to arrange relocation and to establish working procedures in new and unfamiliar areas should not be underestimated. The requirement to relocate a group of staff more than once throughout the project should be avoided whenever possible.
- e) In some cases, there may be no alternative but to carry out construction activities very close to operational parts of the school. In these situations, it may be necessary to place restrictions on the contractor regarding which activities can be carried out at certain times, or to allow the school to stop the contractor carrying out particularly disruptive work from time to time. In such cases flexibility is required by both the school and the contractor, and the detailed procedures and arrangements governing these agreements should be written into the contract.
15.7 Managing expectations
- The principal together with the contractor will have a key role in managing the expectations of school users and neighbours throughout the project. Staff, pupils, parents and members of the wider school community are likely to approach the project with varying levels of expectations regarding both the facilities to be provided and the level of disruption and inconvenience the construction process will bring.
- b) It is usual for the school to be involved in arranging a number of meetings to inform parents, neighbours and other members of the school community about the project proposals prior to the contactor starting on site.
- c) Presentations on the project proposals at these meetings must be appropriate to the needs of the audience and in a format that is not overly technical to avoid discussion being unfocussed and irrelevant. Three-dimensional images, models and perspectives are generally much better received than often have unrealistic expectations about the programme timetable and construction sequence.
- d) It can prove beneficial to introduce the contractor at these meetings and for the contractor to provide a direct contact point for neighbours. This will avoid school office becoming a conduit for any complaints or queries regarding the construction activities.
- e) It is usual for schools to issue regular newsletters to parents and community groups to keep them informed of progress throughout the project. Information about the project can also be posted on the school website. Schools should be careful in inviting feedback through newsletters and websites unless they are resourced to manage this exercise.
15.8 Communication arrangements during the construction period
Liaison with the contractor:
- a) Before construction activities commence on site, it is important for the school to be aware of the project communication arrangements with the contractor. Regular site meetings are likely to be held, and it may be appropriate for the school to be represented, or to be briefed on progress.
- b) Day-to-day communication should be encouraged between the school coordinator and the contractor’s site manager regarding ‘housekeeping’ matters which will affect the running of the school.
- c) As well as having a clear understanding of the design and contract programme, the school should also be aware of what terms and conditions, if any, were included in the contract regarding the contractor’s working restrictions, health and safety, security.
Keeping staff and pupils informed
- a) The flow of information to and from school users is very important throughout the project. This is an element of the S.S.C.O’s role.
- b) Existing communication arrangements within the school such as regular departmental and whole staff meetings should be used wherever possible rather than setting up separate project meetings. However, staff should also be able to raise individual issues directly with the S.S.C.O.
- c) Pupils are usually kept informed about the project through school assemblies.
- d) The project should also feature on the agenda of school governing body meetings or board meetings. The principal, S.S.C.O, as well as the contractor may be required to make regular progress reports at these meetings.
Managing hazards and disruptions
- The contractor will manage the health and safety aspects of the construction activities in any project, including its full adherence to the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act no 85 of 1993) and the Construction Regulations, 2014. . However, this in itself does not prevent the school from having to consider a number of health and safety matters or having to prepare at certain times for considerable disruption to the normal day-to-day running of the school.
Health and safety/security
- a) The school will need to monitor its health and safety management procedures throughout the project and carry out additional risk assessments where appropriate. In particular, any alterations to fire escape routes and gathering points, access arrangements and site boundaries should be clearly identified. Arrangements should be clearly displayed in the school with signage amended as appropriate. Fire drills should be undertaken each time escape routes are changed.
- b) Prior to construction commencing on site, all school users should be briefed on the health and safety arrangements for the project. Presentations to school assemblies by the contractor, often incorporating protective clothing and some basic statistics about construction site safety, are generally considered to have more impact than if these were delivered by the school management team.
- c) As school holidays approach further advice should be issued to pupils regarding the hazards of building sites. Security monitoring will be provided by the contractor but in some instances, it may also be appropriate to alert the local police who may patrol the site at high risk periods.
- d) Where work needs to be carried out in occupied buildings, contractor’s staff may require gaining access to parts of the construction site through operational parts of the school. These situations generally place greater responsibilities on the contractor’s staff and school users. These responsibilities need to be understood by all.
- e) It may be considered appropriate in these situations for the contractor’s staff to wear agreed forms of identification and to be prepared to be challenged by staff on school premises. It may also be considered necessary to caution contractor’s staff to avoid initiating contact with pupils.
- f) Despite contractual agreement, breaches in health and safety procedures can still occur in these situations. For example, contractor’s staff may leave doors unlocked or materials and equipment unattended in circulation routes. School users should be particularly vigilant about possible hazards and procedures should be in place to report such incidents.
a) A certain degree of inconvenience is unavoidable during a major construction project. The level of disruption likely to be experienced by the school will depend upon a variety of factors such as the scale and type of building operations, their proximity to the school activities, the time at which the works are carried out, and the constraints of the existing buildings and site.
- b) The following examples are the most common disruptions reported by schools during construction projects:
- Dust and dirt: Apart from being particularly uncomfortable, airborne dust and dirt can give rise to medical complaints leading to staff and pupil absences. Locating classrooms which require natural ventilation away from construction activities, and insisting on the constructing and maintenance of seals in affected areas can help minimise the ingress of dust and dirt. In some cases, it may be appropriate to arrange additional cleaning for the school during the project.
- Noise: Health and safety regulations ensure that noise levels will not be hazardous to health, but they may still be extremely distracting. Where construction works are in close proximity to the school, the contractor may be excluded from undertaking certain noisy activities during particular periods such as exams. It may also be possible for the school to request the contractor, on an informal basis, to reduce noise levels for short periods from time to time.
- Distractions from increased traffic, both vehicular and personnel: In order to avoid continuing distraction it may be possible to locate particularly sensitive school classes and activities away from the main site access and construction works. Ensure site activities are appropriately screened and avoid allowing contractor’s staff access through pupil areas.
- Frequent changes to access points and circulation routes: the need to advise school users of continuing changes in access arrangements can be disruptive and resource intensive. This should be considered when agreeing to the sequence of phasing of the construction works.
- Planned and unplanned interruptions to water and power: prior consultation and continuity planning with staff about the consequences of a particular service failure or disconnection will allow the school to better manage these situations when they occur.
- Reduced playground space, loss of playing fields and car parking: The loss of amenities during the construction process is often an unavoidable source of inconvenience to school users. However, early consultation with those affected, provides the opportunity to investigate and implement alternatives.
- a) In new-build projects, the actual move into the new building can present a logistical challenge for the school. Where possible, staff (and in some cases pupils) should tour the new building prior to completion. This allows users to get an initial feel for the layout of the new building, and assist staff in taking ownership of the new spaces.
- b) It is important to be flexible in providing staffing cover to release teaching and non-teaching staff to undertake tasks associated with the move. Teaching staff are usually given one or two days of non-teaching time to manage the packing of resources and equipment, with the actual moving of materials being carried out by removal staff under the supervision of the migration manager. The unpacking and setting up of new accommodation may also take one or two non-teaching days.
- c) This process may take much longer for some practical departments, which may have a significant amount of teaching material to move and store. Specialist removal arrangements may be required for particularly bulky, sensitive, hazardous or valuable items such as grand pianos, ICT equipment, toxic chemicals or trophies and art works. In these cases, detailed inventories may be required, and insurance arrangements checked as part of the planning exercise.
Marking the end of the process
- It is important to celebrate the completion of the school project with some formal ceremony. This should not be arranged immediately after the school has taken occupancy of the new or refurbished building, as it will take some time for the staff and pupils to settle in and to optimise their use of the new accommodation. Equally, the event should not be left so late as to miss capturing the initial enthusiasm and anticipation which is associated with taking ownership of a new facility.
- a) Once occupied, a new or substantially refurbished building may present teething problems for some time. The role of the S.S.C.O is sometimes at its most demanding during this period, and may be necessary to continue their remit, as well as enhancing other support staffing, for up to 6 months following ‘completion’ of the project.
- b) The school is likely to receive numerous requests from visitors wishing to view the new building for up to and beyond a year after completion. Guided tours can become a drain on staff resources, and a large number of visitors can prove a disruption to teaching and learning. In many cases, visitors may wish to take photographs of the school and this may not be appropriate in areas used by pupils. Providing information about the school building on a handout or on the school website may reduce the demand for general visits. Including a ‘virtual tour’ or downloadable images of the building can avoid the need for visitors to take their own photographs.
Post Occupancy evaluation
- Consultation with stakeholders throughout a school building project is an important part of the school strategy. Conducting an evaluation on how well the new school has met the needs and expectations of school users is a logical conclusion to this consultation process.
Hazards to learners during renovation and construction
Collegiate must provide a healthy, safe learning environment which strives to achieve its vision of excellence through a holistic education. Construction and renovation projects conducted while school is in session severely test this responsibility and often present unnecessary risks to pupils and staff. Some environmental hazards that can occur during school renovation and construction include:
- Lead contaminated debris
- Asbestos fibres and fibreglass
- Wood, sheet rock, cement dust, and dust contaminated with lead/asbestos/moulds
- Fumes from construction equipment (diesel fuel from heavy machinery)
- Fumes from toxic products (paints, sealers, glues, varnishes or urethanes, roofing tar)
- Excessive, loud noises
- Fumes from new furnishings and equipment (copiers, carpets, new particle board or plywood)
Specifically, these materials are known to be harmful to human health, including children’s health:
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) (glues, paints, floor finishes, other construction materials)
- Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs)(materials with halogenated flame retardants, including foams and finishes)
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVCs) plastics (flooring, plumbing, wall coverings and partitions)
- Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (caulk and florescent light ballasts, typically in older buildings constructed or renovated from the 1950’s through 1978)
- Lead (Paint in schools constructed or renovated before 1978). Legislation requires that contractors be certified in lead safe work practices before renovating, repairing or painting schools, daycares or homes where lead paint will be disturbed; contractors are also required to take steps to minimise the exposure of occupants to lead-contaminated dust by containing the work area, using methods that produce the least amount of dust, and thoroughly cleaning the area after the work is finished
- Mould (ceiling tiles, drywall, carpets, carpet pads and other building materials)
The rights of pupils, staff and parents to healthy, safe schools
- a) Every pupil and staff member have a right to an environmentally safe and healthy learning environment that is clean and in good repair. Collegiate should serve as a role model for environmentally responsible behaviour.
- b) Every pupil, parent and staff member have a “right-to-know” about environmental health issues and hazards in their school environment.
- c) School officials and appropriate public departments should be held accountable for environmentally safe and healthy school facilities
- Policy Amendments
No amendments of the policy will be valid unless consultation with the stakeholders took place. The proposed amendment will only come into effect once it has been agreed to by the School Governing Body, reduced to writing and incorporated the policy.
Deputy Principals and Heads of Department
- Please ensure that you always have your master key with you. This is necessary in a riot situation when all doors have to be locked – Sports Office staff to lock the Gym Hall Door and entrance, and Dr Radue the Jubilee Lab, and Guard on duty at Guard House to open to Ivy Leaf gate. Corridor control is vital, all girls in two lines in single file. If fire/bomb hazards stop the free flow of traffic, a quick 180 degree change in the opposite direction is easily affected if girls are in single file. Once you have organized your own classroom, please check the downstairs cloakrooms. The PA to the Principal is to take loud hailers and give them to Mr Raynor and Mrs Dos Santos. Mr Raynor is to control Grades 8 and 9, and Mrs Dos Santos is to control Grades 10, 11 and 12. Check if each class teacher has finished roll call, and send to Mrs A. Nel. Mrs Marriner to collect staff registers from the staffroom and do staff and student registers and then report to Mrs Erasmus.
You are responsible for giving the pupils clear instructions in a calm and controlled manner. Make sure that a copy of your register class list is available and take it with you to the assembly point for checking. Notify the Head of Security if a pupil is missing. Once you have taken your register, report to Mrs Erasmus for staff register.
- Teacher involved in first aid to take (fully equipped) first aid box to field
- Mrs Human et al must unlock the Media doors
- Mr Tendayi to unlock the Library door
The following staff must please check the following bathrooms:
- Matrics Mrs Booyse
- Ivy Leaf Gents Mr Raynor
- Counselling Corridor Gents Mr Snyman
- Downstairs girls Mrs Vincent
- Upstairs girls Mrs Agenbag
- Counselling Corridor Ladies Mrs du Preez
- Staffroom Ladies Mrs Marriner
- Staffroom Gents Mrs Marriner
- Give clear instructions over the intercom, i.e.:
Please evacuate the school. Close all windows and doors (Fire) OR
Please evacuate the school. Open all windows and doors (Bomb)
- Inform Mr Marshall and Hostel Matrons wo are responsible for the support staff
- Mrs Marriner to unlock the Front Gate
- Inform Hostel of Evacuation, and phone the Fire Station / Bomb Squad, where necessary
- Make sure patio doors and office windows are secured in case of riot or fire
- Take office keys, pupil registers, and book recording pupils who have left during the day
- Mrs Marriner to check on all Admin Staff and then report to Mrs A. Nel
Hostel Staff, Ground Staff and Cleaners
All staff are to take part in an evacuation. Exit at the nearest safe, available point and make your way to the hockey field in the event of fire or bomb threats, and to the quad in a riot situation. Hostel needs to evacuate via the Hostel gate and move to the grass field across the road.
- Mr Marshall is to check all support staff are present and report to Mrs A. Nel
- Mrs Jooste is to check Hostel Matrons and Workers are present and report to Mrs A. Nel
Mrs Agenbag is to check the upstairs cloakroom and close windows if necessary.
Please close staffroom and hall windows if necessary.
Mrs Vorster to close windows if necessary, and report to Mrs A. Nel.
There are fire extinguishers located at various points throughout the building. Various staff members have been trained in basic firefighting techniques: Mrs M. Nel and Miss Coetzee.
In the event of identifying a situation which poses the risk of a fire concern, please contact the Head of Security or the Estate Manager, Mr Marshall, immediately.
In the event of a fire, inform the Front Office immediately by whatever means possible.
Fire Evacuation procedure located in the Staff Handbook, School Diary and displayed in the classrooms. Please familiarise yourself