Health and safety – specific risk assessment: Under 18s outside school hours

Ages of junior students at ICS

Students under 18 attending ICS are normally aged 16 or 17. Occasionally, a student under 16 may be accepted for a short stay of less than 4 weeks where they are accompanied by a family member of 18 or over, or a group leader known to the school, or where they are living with family friends. In all these cases, they will be under the supervision of the family member, group leader or adult family friend, outside school hours. Full details of who they will be accompanied by or staying with while studying at the school are obtained from their parents/guardians prior to confirming the booking.

16 and 17 year olds have a greater ability to make decisions for themselves than students under 16, but as they are under 18 they still require special guidance and support, particularly as they are in an unfamiliar culture, away from their family, may have greater freedom than when at home, and need to use a second language.

Specific focus of this risk assessment

ICS has existing policies, advice for parents, and risk assessments covering the arrival of under 18s in the UK, their transfers to Norwich, their stay in host families and school social activities and trips.

This risk assessment aims to cover risks attending activities that under 18 students will, or might, engage in independently when they are not with their host families or at school. These activities will, or might, include going to and from school, otherwise going in and around the city centre, shopping, tourism, and taking part in other forms of recreation.

This risk assessment looks at the potential hazards that might arise during such activities, rates their likelihood, specifies measures in place to help avoid these problems occurring, and our responses for if they do.

Parental guidance and consent

Targeted information about the provision of supervision for under 18s, and the amount of freedom their son or daughter will have, is available on our website (https://icsenglish.com/under-18s-at-ics/), prompting parents to consider prior to booking issues specific to under 18s and in particular whether their son or daughter is “sufficiently emotionally mature to act responsibly during their time at ICS”.

Parents are also required to complete/sign a series of forms/agreements regarding the school’s rules for under 18s, including curfews, and their preferences for the amount of freedom their son or daughter will have. Documentation required from parents includes travel information and consent, accommodation information – if not arranged by the school, medical details and consent, consents relating to going out in the evenings or staying with people other than an ICS host family (e.g. over the weekend). Parents are also strongly advised on the desirability of taking out insurance to cover such things as personal accident or injury, private medical, personal belongings, delayed or lost luggage, money, emergency replacement passport, cancellation, travel delay, missed departure, personal liability.

Student guidance

Our guidance to students includes detailed suggestions on where and how they can best engage in shopping, tourism and other recreational activities in Norwich city centre, where the school is located. There is plenty to keep students occupied – for instance, Norwich is in the top 10 UK cities for shopping. This includes low cost activities – for instance, The Forum, which is within 5 minutes walk of the school, has multiple amenities including a large modern public library, where all ages are welcome and students can relax, chat, go online and use computers for free. Students are also advised that they are very welcome to stay in the school after completing lessons, and can use the school’s self-access facilities, right up till the school closes in the evening. Our guidance also includes practical information for staying safe specific to this age group – see below. This information is given to students during induction and is also available online via the school’s e-Learning pages and the Front Desk app, which they are encouraged to download onto their mobile devices during induction.

Detailed risk assessment

Hazard: Getting lost, failure to arrive at destination

Risk level: Medium.

Students are obviously most at risk of getting lost in the early part of their stay, and when first travelling from home to school and back on their first day.

Prevention/control

  • Students to be accommodated, as far as possible, in homestays within easy walking distance of the school.
  • Host families to accompany students to school on their first morning, pointing out any important landmarks, and providing a simple street map if necessary. If main host cannot accompany for any reason, host to make sure someone else responsible accompanies, or the host walks the route with the student on the preceding day. If a student is on a bus route, then the host will need to show the student exactly where they catch the bus, in both directions.
  • ICS to give students a map of the city centre as part of induction.
  • ICS to check as part of induction that all students under 18 know how to get home and, if there is any doubt about this, to take them before departure to Reception for assistance.
  • Students instructed not to go home alone when dark, and preferably to take a taxi.
  • Students to be given a student card with the school’s phone number and emergency number, so they can easily contact us if lost.
  • Students to be given the emergency (999) number for the police as part of the ‘Advice and emergency details for students under 18 studying at ICS’ sheet given to all under 18 students at induction, and also available via the school’s Front Desk app, which they are encouraged to download onto their mobile devices during induction.
  • Host families to note students’ mobile numbers at the start of their stay so they can contact them at any time.
  • Students have to give a mobile number to ICS both as part of Registration and induction.
  • Students instructed not to turn off their mobiles when out and about.
  • Students instructed to provide host family with details of exactly where they are going and who they are going with, if they go out in the evenings.
  • Students given meal times and curfew times so there are set times by which they are expected to return.

Response

  • When alerted that a student is lost, a member of staff will go and find them and bring them to the school, or arrange for a taxi to pick them up, if appropriate, and take them to their destination. Staff to confirm their safe arrival either with host or the taxi company.
  • If a student fails to arrive at school or at home at an expected time, homestay hosts or school staff to attempt to contact or find them, but to inform the police as soon as possible if they cannot be located.
  • An ICS Child Protection Officer to be consulted immediately and kept informed at all stages.
  • Any incidents raising significant concerns to be recorded by the Welfare team in the ‘Concerns’ folder, which is kept confidential.

Hazard: Road accident

Risk level: Low.

A significant part of Norwich city centre is pedestrianized and all roads within the city centre that do carry traffic will be subject to a 20mph speed limit by spring 2016. But students are obviously most at risk in the early part of their stay, i.e. when the UK traffic system is least familiar.

Prevention/control

When host families accompany students to school on their first morning, to point out:

  • the need to walk on the pavement, facing oncoming traffic
  • before crossing the road, that vehicles drive on the left in the UK so they will be coming towards the student from the right
  • the best places to cross the street, e.g. pedestrian crossings
  • places to take particular care, e.g. junctions, where parked cars reduce visibility
  • any additional hazards in the vicinity of their route that they should avoid, e.g. secluded areas, rivers or railway lines.
  • During induction, the need to take care when crossing roads and the need to look to the right before starting to cross the road to be (further) emphasized.
  • Students instructed not to walk home alone in the dark, and preferably to take a taxi.
  • Students to be given a student card with the school’s phone number and emergency number, so they can easily contact us at any time.
  • Students to be given the 999 number as part of the ‘Advice and emergency details for students under 18 studying at ICS’ sheet given to all under 18 students at induction, and also available via the school’s Front Desk app, which they are encouraged to download onto their mobile devices during induction.
  • ICS to obtain medical details and consent for all under 18s

Response

  • When alerted a student involved in an accident, staff to check on the nature of the student’s injuries, what treatment is being provided, prognosis and location.
  • An ICS Child Protection Officer to be consulted immediately and kept informed at all stages.
  • If injuries require the student going for medical treatment, staff member, where possible a Child Protection Officer, to accompany student.
  • Staff to liaise with host, medical staff, police (if involved) and the student’s own family and/or agent, as appropriate.
  • ICS to relocate student to an appropriate host family if existing host cannot provide the support the student requires on discharge from hospital, e.g. if host out at work during the day.
  • All key details to be recorded by the Welfare team in the ‘Concerns’ folder, which is kept confidential.

Hazard: Valuables stolen, student mugged, assaulted

Risk level: Low.

Norfolk is a very low crime county – generally the lowest in England, and levels of street crime are correspondingly low. A recent analysis of crime statistics in England and Wales confirms Norwich to be one of the safest places to be a student.

Prevention/control

  • All under 18 students to be given the ‘Advice and emergency details for students under 18 studying at ICS’ at induction, and also available via the school’s Front Desk app, which they are encouraged to download onto their mobile devices during induction. This advises them to be very careful with their personal possessions and not to carry large amounts of money on them.
  • All students to be further reminded during induction that care is needed with valuables and to only carry valuable items they need to, and not to leave them unattended.
  • Students to be advised they can leave their passport, travelers’ cheques, wallet/purse and other valuables locked away at the school, whenever they wish.
  • Staff to advise students displaying valuable items, such as watches and jewelry that are obviously expensive, or carrying equipment like laptops that is easily identifiable as expensive, to be discreet with such items in public places.
  • Students to be instructed to avoid going to places where there are no or few other people, not to walk home alone in the dark, and ideally to take a taxi (the school recommends a specific taxi company to students).
  • Students to be instructed not to go to Prince of Wales Road, a small, well-defined area of late night entertainment, on a Friday or Saturday evening, where street crime is more likely to occur.
  • Students to be instructed not to talk to strangers or get into a stranger’s vehicle.
  • Students in this age group to have a curfew and, if going out in the evening, to have to advise their host family exactly where they are going, and who they are going with (including their age). So host can advise or prohibit if they have any concerns.
  • Curfew times to be set for 10.30pm weekdays and 11.00pm on Fridays and Saturdays, so that students will already be home by the time pubs begin to close (11pm).
  • Students to be given a student card with the school’s phone number and emergency number, so they can easily contact us at any time they need help.
  • Students to be given the 999 number as part of the ‘Advice and emergency details for students under 18 studying at ICS’ sheet given to all under 18 students at induction.

Response

  • When alerted student involved in an incident, staff to check on student safety, details of any items lost.
  • If student injured, to follow Response for Student becomes ill/has accident below.
  • Staff to meet student, accompany to police station, if appropriate, or otherwise contact the police, if not already alerted, to report the incident.
  • An ICS Child Protection Officer to be consulted immediately and kept informed at all stages.
  • Staff to liaise with police, host and student’s own family and/or agent, as appropriate.
  • Staff to help collect any information/documentation (e.g. the crime number) that may be needed for insurance purposes.
  • Staff to provide support with replacing important items, e.g. passport, phone, travel tickets.
  • Staff to organize emergency financial support, if necessary, in liaison with student’s own family and/or agent.
  • Staff to provide continuing support if any court proceedings result, including attending court to support if the student needs to provide evidence in person.
  • All key details to be recorded by the Welfare team in the ‘Concerns’ folder, which is kept confidential.

Hazard: Student suspected of committing an offence, detained or arrested

Risk level: Low

(from our experience to date)

Prevention/control

  • Students to be warned not to steal or shoplift.
  • Students to be warned not to drop litter.
  • Students to be warned not to buy or carry any sort of weapon, including knives, replica weapons or toy guns.
  • Students to be warned that they cannot buy or drink alcohol, because they are under 18.
  • Students to be warned that all soft/hard drugs are illegal in the UK, and that if someone offers them drugs, to always say no.
  • Students to be warned that if their conduct is a cause for concern, ICS reserves the right to inform their parents or agent and to take whatever other action it considers appropriate.

Response

  • If a student under 17 is detained, they have the right to have an adult with them at the police station and to talk to them in private if they want to.
  • Staff to accompany student to the police station or meet with them there if already taken to the station.
  • Staff to insist on access to the student and support being made available for him/her. This is especially important with an English language student as it’s vital that the student understand the questions being asked, as well as establishing that their rights and interests are being protected
  • If a 17-year-old student is detained, police still have a duty to find out who is responsible for their welfare and to try and contact them, so the school should still be alerted, and staff should then seek access and to make sure support is being made available for him/her – see above.
  • In all cases, an ICS Child Protection Officer to be consulted immediately and kept informed at all stages, and ideally be the one to accompany the student.
  • Staff to liaise with host, and the student’s own family and/or agent.
  • Staff to provide continuing support if any court proceedings result, including attending court to support the student.
  • Key details to be recorded by the Welfare team in the ‘Concerns’ folder, which is kept confidential.

Hazard: Student becomes ill/has accident

Risk level: Medium

Prevention/control

  • Students to be given a student card with the school’s phone number and emergency number, so they can easily contact us at any time.
  • Students to be given the 999 number as part of the ‘Advice and emergency details for students under 18 studying at ICS’ sheet given to all under 18 students at induction, and also available via the school’s front Desk app, which they are encouraged to download onto their mobile devices during induction.
  • ICS to obtain medical details and consent for all under 18s.
  • Students instructed they should not take part in high risk activities, such as horse riding, climbing, sailing or dry-slope skiing, unless written parental permission has been lodged with the school, including details of where these activities will be undertaken.
  • Students instructed they should swim only in swimming pools and where a lifeguard is present.

Response

  • When alerted to a student being ill or injured, staff to check on the nature of the student’s illness or injuries, where the student is, and what treatment if any is being provided.
  • Staff to ensure medical help is sought asap if required.
  • If the illness or injuries require the student going for medical treatment, a staff member, where possible a Child Protection Officer, to accompany student if illness or injuries are serious or the host family is unable to.
  • An ICS Child Protection Officer to be consulted immediately and kept informed at all stages.
  • Staff to liaise with host, medical staff, and the student’s own family and/or agent, as appropriate.
  • ICS to relocate student to an appropriate host family if existing host cannot provide the support the student requires during recovery at home, e.g. if host out at work during the day.
  • All incidents raising significant concerns to be recorded by the Welfare team in the ‘Concerns’ folder, which is kept confidential.

Hazard: Student involved in drug or alcohol use

Risk level: Low.

The proportion of children in the UK drinking alcohol is relatively high compared to the European average, and levels of underage drinking within the EU are in turn considered high by international standards. A similar pattern seems to exist (http://www.espad.org/) for illegal drug use in this age group.

Prevention/control

  • Students to be warned that they cannot buy or drink alcohol, because they are under 18.
  • Adult students to be warned they must not purchase alcohol for under 18 students in any circumstances.
  • Students to be warned that all soft/hard drugs are illegal in the UK, and that if someone offers them drugs, to always say no!
  • Students to be warned that if their conduct is a cause for concern, ICS reserves the right to inform their parents or agent and to take whatever other action it considers appropriate.

Response

When alerted a student is suspected of having engaged in alcohol consumption or illegal drug use, staff to seek to establish:

  • whether the conduct is only suspected or is confirmed
  • the current condition of the student
  • the substance and quantity involved
  • when and where any use took place
  • how the substance was obtained
  • whether it may be part of a pattern
  • whether anyone else connected to the school may be involved.
  • Staff to ensure medical help, if required, is sought asap. See Student becomes ill/has accident for more on this.
  • Staff to ensure welfare advice is provided, as appropriate.
  • Staff to consider whether it is appropriate to involve the police.
  • In all cases, an ICS Child Protection Officer to be consulted immediately and kept informed at all stages, and ideally to be the one to meet with affected parties.
  • Staff to liaise with parents and agent where it is established there is cause for concern.
  • Key details to be recorded by the Welfare team in the ‘Concerns’ folder, which is kept confidential.