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Schools urged to access health and safety training

Schools urged to access health and safety training

A school principal has urged more schools to access the wide range of health and safety training available in the Belfast and South Eastern Regions of the Education Authority.

Séamus Ó Donnghaile, principal of Bunscoil Mhic Reachtain in North Belfast, says that a safe school is vital to a happy and vibrant learning environment for children.

“There are some training courses that principals can perhaps get away without attending regularly, however there is a big difference in missing out on the courses provided by the health and safety office. Whenever things go wrong in health and safety, they don’t go a little bit wrong, they usually go very wrong,” said Mr Ó Donnghaile.

“That’s why when it comes to these courses we cannot complacent in any way. We should always be trying to upskill, to bring new knowledge and awareness into the school setting. At the end of the day, if we can’t provide safe environments for our children, we’ll not be able to provide learning environments.”

A wide scope of courses that come under the general health and safety banner are available – from anaphylaxis awareness and epi-pen use, to first aid, working at heights, manual handling, fire warden training and risk assessment. The majority are delivered in half-day blocks.

All schools in the EA Belfast and South Eastern areas have been supplied with a link to an easy-to-use website that allows principals to choose their course, location and time.

“It couldn’t be easier for principals and key staff in schools to book a course. We are very aware that principals may find it difficult to attend a session for a full day so most of our modules are in three-hour blocks,” said Brendan O’Reilly, Health, Safety, and Security Manager of the Education Authority Belfast and South Eastern regions.

“Many of the courses are free to attend and they all benefit the school community. All principals have been sent a link to the website with a full list of areas available but I would also encourage any schools who feel that there is a need for an area that currently isn’t provided to contact the health and safety office. We may be able to provide a tailored course if there is enough interest.”

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The Education and Library Boards (ELBs) were dissolved on 31 March 2015. The Education Authority was established on 01 April 2015 and is now responsible for all of the operational functions previously carried out by the five ELBs in accordance with the Education Orders.

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