The Education Authority Work Experience Arrangements aim to allow post
primary schools to work in partnership with organisations and employers to
ensure that pupils’ participation in work experience programmes is well managed, organised and safe. The arrangements are based on evolved good practice.
Position Statement on Work Experience for Schools during Covid-19
With the return of pupils in our schools, the Education Authority wishes to outline the current position in relation to work experience. Although there has been some relaxation of the restrictions initially imposed in March at the height of the pandemic, it is essential to be aware that schools are still operating in a pandemic and that hygiene and public health measures are as important as ever.
Education Restart requires school leaders to deploy effective measures to manage risk in a range of areas across the wider school curriculum, while acting within the overarching public health guidelines. In facilitating work experience programmes, schools are responsible for ensuring that students have suitable placements for which all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure their health, safety and well-being.
It is essential that as part of the management of work experience arrangements, schools must ensure that each case is evaluated individually and that the organisation / work-place confirms to the school, in writing, that they can additionally demonstrate:
- Their procedures comply with COVID-19 Government and PHA Guidelines
- Risk assessments of work practices have been carried out to identify possible risks and all those specific to COVID-19 in line with PHA and Government Guidelines
- Any relevant Covid-19 risk assessments or procedures have been drawn to the student and school placement co-ordinator’s attention and may include guidance on cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures, social distancing, use of face-coverings and any actions taken to reduce risks of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace.
EA will provide indemnity where schools have taken all the measures outlined above.
The board of governors in controlled, maintained and Irish medium schools offering work experience programmes should adopt these arrangements and agree a school policy that meets the individual needs of all pupils in their care.
It is the responsibility of the school to organise, manage, and administer work experience placements and be satisfied that they adhere to these arrangements including the completion and retention of the appropriate forms. Controlled, maintained and Irish medium schools will be required to make information available to the Education Authority on request in the event that a claim or legal proceedings arise.
EA Work Experience Arrangement Forms
The EA work experience forms have been extracted from the EA Work Experience Arrangements document for use by schools as part of their administrative duties in organising work experience placements. Schools may wish to add to the content of the forms for their own use; for example, extra information relating to administrative duties such as school staff contact details or notification of return dates for forms could be included within a school form.
The current content of any of these forms should not be altered or removed without agreeing the proposed amendments with an appropriate EA officer,as this may affect the conditions of the indemnity for a particular placement. Schools may also wish to brand some of the forms with their school style and logo. In most cases this is appropriate, and may help parents and employers to track and locate each school’s forms more easily. Please note that, due to legal and regulatory requirements, logos should not be inserted onto the Indemnity or Access NI vetting forms.
For specific work experience advice relating to general procedural issues, legal/indemnity issues, curricular issues, Access NI issues, please contact the appropriate person listed in the table below.