Current and emerging risks faced by schools

The volume of risks facing schools has increased for almost two-thirds of teachers in the past five years – with both pupils and teachers suffering from poor mental health as a result.

These are the findings of a study published this week which demonstrates how growing expectations from government, parents and pupils themselves are creating a pressurised environment for all, with a third of teachers citing managing mental health and well-being of pupils as the top short-term risk they face, closely followed by cyber bullying and staff well-being.

The study, conducted by insurer Ecclesiastical, also cites recruitment, retention and technological change among the longer-term risks faced by schools as they struggle to keep pace with the digital needs of younger generations.

“Britain has an internationally renowned school system, full of committed and passionate individuals but it is currently in the eye of the perfect storm,” says education director at the insurer, Faith Kitchen.

“Increasing pressure on school staff and pupils to achieve the right grades is resulting in mental health and well-being challenges, against a backdrop of huge political and economic uncertainty. Moreover, they’re being faced with ever-increasing and complex compliance and duties.”

In terms of the measures they are taking to identify and manage their risks effectively, less than half of schools reported using a risk register and roughly the same proportion were discussing risk as a standing agenda item at governing body meetings. And whilst 80% of teachers agree that risk management is key to creating a safe environment at school, almost the same number agree that it adds significantly to their workloads.

This report is the first of Ecclesiastical’s series of Education Risk Barometers, designed to help brokers gain a deeper understanding of the issues. Questions were asked of teachers from both the public and private sectors.

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