How Hamwic Education Trust is driving accountability and compliance across multiple school sites to keep staff and students safe.
Hamwic Education Trust is a multi-academy trust of 31 schools, operating throughout the south coast of England to drive excellence and provide innovative solutions to the running of its portfolio.
Ensuring statutory compliance requirements are met and driving collective responsibility for health and safety is critical for any educational institution. With the wellbeing of staff and students a continual priority, the Trust must conduct comprehensive checks and retain visibility across all its sites, at all times.
“SafetyCulture platform gives us a clear and concise picture of exactly where our statutory checks are in each school at any given time. With the support of SafetyCulture, we’ve seen a huge improvement in our audit scores for our internal health and safety audits.” - Graeme Staddon, Estates Officer
The sheer scale and variety of checks required to keep a single school site operating safely and effectively are vast.
While the types of inspections, audits or checks will be largely consistent, no two schools are the same: whether that’s in terms of where fire extinguishers are based, or the types of emergency light bulbs used in fittings.
Coordinating and managing that process across multiple sites is an understandable challenge.
Checks were traditionally conducted on paper as simple tick lists, presenting difficulties for the Trust. A generic list couldn’t provide context, instruction, or guidance on where to find things; data collected was often inconsistent as a result; and there was no way to centrally manage or gain visibility over what was happening within individual sites.
Joining the Trust originally as a site manager, Graeme Staddon started looking for an alternative solution.
“A caretaker pointed me in the direction of some templates he was using on this great tool, SafetyCulture platform. A digital solution that could make my job easier? The rest is history.”
Starting with just a few schools initially before scaling across the Trust, SafetyCulture platform is now the central tool for workplace assessments and site audit checks.
Templates in SafetyCulture can be customized to each individual school site, with clear guidance included to ensure nothing is missed.
To date, the Trust has created over 900 different templates to meet the needs of its schools.
“I can build out each template to follow the layout and needs of each school site, so it effectively leads you around: telling you exactly where to find the next fire extinguisher or fire alarm call point, and exactly what to look for or check as part of the inspection." - Graeme Staddon
“For the staff doing checks, it’s super handy and easy-to-use. They can simply pick it up and know what they have to do. So whether it’s checking the emergency lights, flushing the water pipes, checking the playground equipment or the power sockets: no detail gets missed. When you’re operating in a school environment where things inevitably get broken, misplaced, moved – that level of detail is crucial to keep staff and students safe.”
All inspection data is surfaceable centrally through analytics, or available to export via PDF and upload elsewhere as needed: providing the visibility and accountability the Trust needs.
One of the crucial features of SafetyCulture platform depended on by the Trust is the ability to schedule inspections.
“Your fire extinguishers need checking every month; a fire call point needs checking every week; there are potentially hundreds of different elements and they each have their own timescale to ensure you’re staying compliant,” says Graeme.
“Scheduling inspections keeps everyone accountable and makes our lives so much easier. Each school knows exactly what needs to be done and when; and with inspections time and date-stamped automatically, I can see if anything has been missed and support sites where needed.”
“SafetyCulture makes sure we’re getting checks done, on time, in the right way.” - Graeme Staddon
The digital process has not only seen a reduction in the time needed to complete inspections, saving staff time, but also a broader impact on standards and compliance. With the ability to flag issues, take pictures as evidence and provide visibility of things that aren’t being fixed or addressed in a timely manner, the Trust is seeing a resulting impact on its health and safety audit scores.
The Trust is continuing to roll out SafetyCulture across further sites, with many individual managers adopting the platform to create their own templates for a wide range of use cases, including fire or lockdown drills. Despite fears about adoption among those not comfortable with technology, it has been embraced across the board.
“Any of the site managers from any school can pick it up and run with it. Building templates is easy; you can just pick up and play, and keep refining or updating it when needed,” says Graeme.
"SafetyCulture platform gives me a clear and concise picture of exactly where our statutory checks are in each school at any given time. It makes all of our lives easier: and ensures we’re doing the very best for our schools, staff, and students."
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