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Watchword, FE Campus Safety Experts, launches new service to help staff prevent, prepare for and respond to incidents. 

Challenging behaviour on FE campuses is a growing problem. In addition to the increased focus on safeguarding, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that education staff are one of the groups most at risk from workplace violence.

Now, FE campus safety experts Watchword, which has been supporting FE institutions for several years, has launched a new Risk Management Service that provides a comprehensive analysis of campus – specific risks, with recommendations and tools for how to mitigate them.

Watchword has significant security experience across multiple FE campuses, helping to create a safe environment where learners thrive. The new service adds to this by formalising the process of capturing every potential risk, ensuring staff are aware of, and trained in responding to incidents and abnormal events. These can be anything from a medical emergency to armed intruder or theft.

Beyond making campuses safer, formalising risk management processes and plans goes a long way towards meeting Ofsted’s requirements; one of Ofsted’s key priorities for their 2022 – 2027 strategy is ‘keeping children safe’.

The first step is completing a risk assessment process, which starts with speaking to key stakeholders before conducting an analysis of the campus environment. A list of threats and vulnerabilities is then compiled, from which a risk register takes into account threat severity and likelihood. Finally, risk reduction and mitigation measures are identified.

Reactive interventions, after an incident has occurred, represent a failure somewhere in the system; preventing the incident is the ultimate goal, and it is here that the new service is most valuable; a comprehensive analysis of campus – specific risk forms the basis of proactive planning and policy – making. 

Maria Vetrone, Chief Operating Officer at City of Portsmouth College, commented;

“This new service is vitally important; the typical FE campus carries many risks and challenges, so identifying and preparing for how to handle them is a key part of creating a safe and secure learning environment.”

Today, Watchword’s Safety Wardens promote a positive culture on campus, gaining the trust and respect of students, and are trained in conflict resolution and mental health awareness; they work with staff and other agencies to help create a safe and secure campus environment, so are perfectly placed to inform and support the new service.

Mark Thomson, founder and managing director at Watchword, added;

“This is all about recognising then preparing for unexpected events; with a full understanding of the potential sources of risk, specific to their environments, staff can respond more appropriately. Watchword has the experience and credibility to ensure this service delivers real value, ultimately creating a safe environment for learners and staff.

“Risk management can be supported by the use of properly trained Safety Wardens, whose job acts as a conduit between learners, staff and in particular the safeguarding team.”

To find out more, visit Watchword Home – Watchword.

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