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Risk Management In Schools

Risk Management In Schools

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Risk Management In Schools

62 pages
1 hour
Feb 18, 2015


How is risk managed in your school? Is it dealt with internally, by an external agent, or not at all?

This book is an introduction to the necessary maintenance and management of risk in schools. The concept of risk in schools is not a fad: the 'risk movement' is important and is not going away.

Schools must be thinking about developing strategic processes that foster an understanding of risk management as being the natural outcome of a professional school culture.

There are many approaches to risk management. This book advocates a whole school approach, let by the School Board and Principal, wit structured processes and a clearly defined framework. It champions a view of risk whereby regular review is inherent within the school operations and culture.
Feb 18, 2015

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Risk Management In Schools - Dr Philip SA Cummins



This chapter defines and introduces the concept of risk.


The Pharmaceuticals Industry Body in the USA defines risk as:

The combination of the probability of occurrence of harm and the severity of that harm. Achieving a shared understanding of the application of risk management among diverse stakeholders is difficult because each stakeholder may perceive different potential harms, place different probability on the occurrence of each harm and attribute different severities of the harm.

The debate about what constitutes risk in a school can be complex, even hostile. There are the views and voices that seek to minimise risk, and others who see it everywhere. However, avoiding or oversimplifying the debate is not an acceptable solution to the challenge of managing the risk agenda of a school.

The essential characteristics of the ‘culture’ of schools preparing to manage risk include these views and attitudes about ‘risk management’ as being:

Not about stopping teacher initiatives.

Not about damaging successful traditional school programs.

Not about stopping schools or organisations undertaking creative and exciting programs.

About prudently anticipating where the school’s total program potentially exposes members of the school community to accident or damage, and increasing the potential to avoid it and to protect members from unreasonable accidental occurrence wherever possible.

About identifying the school’s responsibility for any untoward event, and how it may and should provide against such liability.

Managing risk

The challenge of managing risk in a school is the challenge of establishing an educational environment or culture where discussion of risk can be realistic, comprehensive, and productive rather than political, where vested interests rule the discussion and necessary change is not achieved. A school in the twenty-first century must manage risk in all its complexity. This complexity includes defining risk at the school and defining the processes to manage each and all risk.

Managing risk in the first instance is about creating a process to enable the school to indicate that it has adopted appropriate diligence with regard to any particular program or event or location of the school. This diligence inhibits the risk of harm to all participants and reduces school liability.

It may take some little time to understand the implications of risk management for your school, particularly if you are just starting a formal process. You will only be successful in managing risk if the culture of your school is operating with contemporary management principles and where the whole staff have a willing and cooperative role in the conception and process of risk management. Schools where risk is relegated only to a yearly review or allocated to the responsibility of an individual or small group such as the Occupational Health and Safety Committee are not sufficiently managing risk.

Managing risk means setting up a logical and systematic method of identifying, analysing, treating and monitoring the risks involved in any activity or process under the auspice of, or associated with, the school. It requires a school culture that has established high standards of educational discussion and problem solving that is genuinely part of the expectations of all staff.

Schools with a ‘top down’ more autocratic culture can legislate for risk management and staff training, but are less likely to achieve the embedded, shared culture needed for staff to own and add value to risk management processes. It is simply ‘one of those things’ that has to be done.

Whatever the leadership culture, school expectations with respect

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