Covid, compliance and critical incidents – Pharos Response

Reflecting on the past year

Happy New Year and welcome back to school, although after the past couple of weeks, you are probably wishing it was still Christmas!

At Pharos Response, we’ve been assisting our client schools with their Covid response since February. From drafting parent communications and risk assessment templates to conducting Covid compliance audits and responding to everyday incidents. We’ve seen first-hand how much you’ve had to adapt at incredible speed while keeping the school operational. It’s been very impressive, so as a professional and a MAT Trustee, well done; as a parent, thank you.

We are used to helping schools through their most challenging times; coach crashes, suicides, data breaches, site safety incidents and serious safeguarding breaches to name just a few. Yet the past year has been eye-opening, even for us. We’ve advised a Headteacher when interviewed by the police after a case of Covid-19 compliance staff whistleblowing. Furthermore, we have assisted with communications and trauma support after the tragic loss of school staff to the virus. Additionally, we have also supported a Headteacher quizzed by The Sun about their approach to Covid-19 controls and helped multiple Heads with communicating whole school closures to parents and the local press. Heads have been hugely grateful to be able to lean on our very experienced team in their darkest hours and share the burden.

Looking forward to the year ahead

Sadly, we’re not out of the woods yet and we predict that we will be living with Covid-19 for a time to come, particularly when it comes to young people, even after our most vulnerable have been vaccinated. Thankfully, although it may not seem possible just now, this year we will be able to resume those activities not currently allowed, such as sports competitions, school visits, school events and perhaps even overseas trips.

All of these activities will however require additional considerations to reduce the risk of transmission and to manage any positive cases identified mid-activity. So yes, sadly, this means more risk assessments and ongoing risk management for the foreseeable future.

A new partnership

We were delighted to be asked to become a partner of Juniper Education and we had started discussions well before Coronavirus was a term we all used so freely. We were discussing how we could support Juniper’s client schools with our unique 24/7 incident response service, site security audits, lockdown and incident simulation exercises. Like you, we have adapted to the ‘new normal’ and we have added a Covid-19 management response support line to our 24/7 incident support line at no additional cost.  We believe this service will be of essential support in being able to get back to ‘normal’ faster.

As we have gained experience at interpreting (and often pre-empting) the Government’s Coronavirus guidance, we can also provide Covid-19 compliance audits to be a critical friend and highlight areas where schools can improve. As we start to return to more ‘normal’ activities and relying on third parties such as transport operators and activity providers while still juggling with essential Coronavirus controls, our support should really help boost the confidence of school staff and parents that everything is being done just as it should be.

The future

If you would like to find out more about how our highly specialist services might assist you over the coming months and years, just click here for more information.