Thinking about risk
I had a new challenge this month when I was asked to train at a conference. Training a room of 120 people is very different from the smaller groups I usually train. The topic was safer caring, and we had a great morning. I worked with the foster carers to think about risk. Of course… The more we thought the more risk there is… even within the coffee break, we identified that somebody nearly tripped over the wires, someone else knocked a noticeboard over and I was very challenged getting coffee out of the flasks, without hurting myself as the flask top was so tight!
We had quite a laugh thinking about all the risks that the carers had mitigated on the way to the conference.
And behind all this was a serious message. Life is full of risk – and all the time we assess it in our heads. What we might call a ‘dynamic ‘risk assessment – it’s pouring with rain, so I need to take an umbrella…the train service is disrupted, so I better get an earlier train than the one I was planning…
In terms of the valuable work which foster carers do we talked about making sure that they were "risk sensible, not risk averse". This is a challenge is that family situations change, family members change and foster children change. We talked about how important is to review this regularly. I found the resource by Jackie Slade: ‘Safer Caring a New Approach’ really useful to help us consider this. The good morning was had by all and a chance to think about what we do next – it was great to see so many people identify the next steps.
I followed this with a day looking at how to manage safeguarding with the management team from a group of residential homes. Again, we talked about risk. We cannot remover the risk of an allegation being made, or a staff member not following systems, but we identified lots of ways we can reduce risk including having good policies and procedures, and ongoing support for staff teams – not just ‘ticking the box’ that they have done the relevant training.
Two very different settings but many similar themes!
‘What3words’ is often used by the emergency service to locate casualties. The importance of using the RIGHT three words was bought to home to me by a paramedic who explained that just having one of the three words wrong can send an ambulance in completely the wrong direction. They had recently been in this situation and valuable time was wasted.
Meanwhile, I have been catching up on my professional development recently. Like most of us I always seem to behind with my reading! It was really interesting to notice that several of the things I've read recently talked about how we use words to describe things and how this can impact the meaning. For example, the NSPCC have produced a thought provoking article about recording that a child ‘did not attend’ a medical appointment. The article, quite correctly points out that children are taken to appointments, so it is much more accurate to record the child ‘was not bought.’
The article – which is one in a series ‘Why Language Matters’ can be found here.
Another article I was reading was some research from the Anna Freud Centre about school avoidance. This article makes the point that what has often been categorised as ‘school refusal’ is actually much more accurately termed emotionally-based school avoidance (EBSA).
‘Emotionally-based school avoidance is a term referring to reduced or nonattendance at school by a child or young person. Rather than the term ‘school refusal’, the term EBSA recognises that this avoidance has its root in emotional, mental health or wellbeing issues.’ From here.
So I thinking about 3 completely different parts of my business:
- First aid
This has been a timely reminder of how important language is in all areas of work.
Working with a local school to assess training needs and develop a bespoke programme
I was approached by a local school and as a result of COVID and staffing issues they had been unable to hold any mandatory First Aid training sessions.
It was May time and they had realised that once the new term started in September they would not have any staff on site with the appropriate First Aid qualifications. They would ideally have liked all the staff to undertake some training but there were budget constraints, as well as issues with staff cover.
What did I do?
I worked with the school contact to review their First Aid needs on a risk based approach in line with their First Aid Risk Assessment.
We identified three areas where First Aiders were needed:
- In the Early Years Department, where the full 12 hour Paediatric First Aid course was required
- For other children in the school
- For staff First Aid
We discussed various scenarios including After School Clubs to ensure that our risk assessment included enough First Aiders at all time.
By the time we had reached this stage of discussions, it was June so time was of the essence to develop a programme before the school became busy with end of term activities.
What was the outcome?
We agreed that three staff should receive the full three day First Aid at Work qualification. These staff were offered a blended course so they did one day with an existing cohort, one day virtually and one day in the school setting.
We then agreed an additional three staff would benefit from attending an Emergency First Aid at Work (one day course) and three required the full Paediatric First Aid course (two days), both of which were held in the school setting.
What was the feedback?
- The best first aid I have attended. Really informative and well delivered. I feel a lot more confident now. Thank you Jill and Greg
- Felt very relaxed throughout. Both instructors were very friendly, informative and helpful
- Best First Aid at Work course I've ever attended. Really enjoyable and informative - thank you!
- Thank you for the course. Greg was very engaging and the information and direction was delivered in a really relaxed and easy to understand way and with humour. Really enjoyed it and feel knowledgeable and confident
- I really enjoyed the course. I especially liked the need to knows and the good to knows
- Greg was brilliant in his delivery of the courses – friendly, approachable, evidently experienced and full of knowledge
- We all found the courses really interesting and engaging.
What difference did this make?
All staff successfully passed the Course ensuring the new term started with appropriate First Aid provision in place.
The school felt that:
- Jill Webb Training provided us with exceptional customer service and training, right through from our initial enquiry to the delivery of the courses.
- Jill was extremely helpful and knowledgeable in determining what training was required for each of our members of staff, and was really generous with her time and very thorough going through all the options and then advising the best training solutions for us as a school.