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Create a safe environment for pupils and staff

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On this page you can find information about:

  • considering the school or college environment


Schools and colleges should be safe environments for pupils and staff, and should be places that promote respect and diversity. When thinking about safety in your setting, consider emotional safety alongside physical safety.  

We know from Headstart research that improving young people’s access to supportive relationships in schools can help to support their wellbeing.  When a child or young person feels safe and supported, they are more likely to be able to engage in their learning, manage their emotions and ask for support when they need it.  

Considering the physical environment in your school or college

When it comes to creating a safe environment for pupils and staff within your school or college setting, you should consider: 

  • designating a quiet corner of the classroom that is removed from classroom activity. Make self-care activities available for pupils to do in this space

  • designating a wellbeing room for staff that is separate from the staff room. Encourage staff to donate self-care items or books for colleagues to use in this space

  • designating a time-out area for pupils outside the classroom to provide space to decompress and reflect – a wellbeing space as an alternative to an isolation room

  • the physical boundaries of where school/college spaces end, and how these boundaries are staffed to encourage a welcoming environment and promote safety

  • making sure that all signage around the school or college is clear and accessible. Clearly signpost areas where staff and pupils can go for additional support and advice

  • creating processes for new pupils, families and staff to familiarise themselves with their school/college environment. This is particularly important at key transition points, like the beginning of secondary school or further education.


Creating a safe environment in schools and colleges

Hannah Woods, Head of Service for the Schools and Colleges Early Support Service at Anna Freud, looks at the importance of creating a safe environment in schools and colleges and practical ways that staff can help students feel safe.