b'H&SGovernors and trustees should scrutinise and challenge what school leaders are doing; they must be eyes-on and hands-off.best side, this can be tiring, and over time standardsSchool leaders must be mindful of striking the balance, begin to slip. School leaders must therefore ensure theytaking into account individuals psychological health.have the necessary documentation in place all year round given that the HSE can turn up without notice.Psychosocial hazardsSchool leaders are already aware of the toll that 2020-Whats more, governors and trustees should scrutinise21 has taken on peoples mental health and wellbeing. and challenge what school leaders are doing; they mustThe HSE reports 77,000 cases of stress, depression or be eyes-on (strategic) and hands-off (leaving day-to- anxiety in 2020 alone, and our own research found that day operations to school staff) while ensuring that H&Smore than two-thirds of school leaders have seen an is a key area of focus. increase in mental health conditions in the past year.Ultimately, school leaders just want to do the rightThe HSE suggests that these conditions are more thing: looking after students, staff and others byprevalent in education, where demands are high, focusing time on H&S. responsibilities are huge, and its almost impossible to ever get the job done fully. This can trigger anxious What can school leaders do? thoughts and contribute to burnout; add in the ongoing Audit to identify any gaps in your H&S managementimpact of COVID on overall wellbeing, and this is a system. considerable challenge for schools to contend with. Put plans in place to plug those gaps.Involve others by communicating and dont carry allWellbeing is both an organisational and individual the baggage alone. responsibility. We have to teach people how to apply self-regulation, and we can do that through resilience Relaxation of standards training.Although restrictions are easing, we must all remain vigilant. Towards the end of last term, the relaxationJumping to COVID conclusionsof standards started to become more evident; this canBefore COVID existed, we were well versed with the be seen in playgrounds, where face masks arent worncommon cold, flu and other ailments. From now on, as much as they once were. Similarly, those who areits important that we dont assume a COVID diagnosis fully vaccinated may become less stringent in followingevery time a person doesnt feel well. Of course, if they COVID safety measures. are showing signs and symptoms, then they should get tested, but we should resist the urge to jump to While were all eager for normality to return, it couldconclusions. As we enter a new academic year and be a little too early to abandon precautions just yet,brace for the upcoming winter seasons, we must bear in especially with new variants circumnavigating themind that not all ailments are COVID-related. globe. School leaders must follow, and be in a position to demonstrate that they are following, the mostUltimately, while vigilance is important, COVID must relevant government guidance. now become one of many H&S considerations for schools, rather than the full focus.Personal hygieneTwo types of person are likely to emerge as restrictionsScott Crichton is principal health & safety lift: those who continue to lather themselves inconsultant at Ellis Whittam. Scott can sanitiser and disinfect every surface they touch, andbe contacted via https://www.linkedin.those who abandon these elevated standards ofcom/in/scott-crichton-cmiosh-oshcr-personal hygiene and return to the good old days. aifiree-a7111919 or www.elliswhittam.com.COVID has taught us that we can increase our level of personal hygiene if we believe the threat of mortalityEllis Whittam works in partnership with is real. However, we have also learnt that this can comeTowergate Insurance Brokers. For further at a cost; continuous cleaning can be a psychologicalinformation contact: education@towergate.trigger (causing obsessive thoughts and actions) andco.uk or www.towergateinsurance.co.uk.can also damage our skin, the bodys largest organ.www.independentinsight.netIwww.iexcellence.co.ukIwww.i25awards.co.uk 11'