A new report revealing the biggest risks facing the UK’s schools will help brokers support their education clients through uncertain times. Ecclesiastical, insurer of more than 2,000 schools in the UK, has published its first Education Risk Barometer, an in-depth study exploring the immediate and emerging risks facing schools.
The report, entitled ‘Weathering the perfect storm: risks and opportunities facing the education sector’ also highlights potential solutions, with expert commentary from leading thinkers in the sector.
It will help brokers gain a deeper understanding of the issues facing schools and enable them to work with their clients to find solutions.
The report asked teachers in the public and private sectors about the biggest risks facing them over the short- (12months), medium- (1-3 years) and long-term (5 years).
It found increasing expectations from Government, parents and even pupils is creating a pressurised environment in schools that is having a disturbing impact on the mental health of pupils and teachers.
A third (33%) of teachers surveyed cited managing mental health and wellbeing of pupils as the top short-term risk they face, along with cyberbullying (32%) and managing mental health and wellbeing of staff (31%). Managing mental health of pupils and staff were also among the top risks in the medium- and long-term, along with recruitment and retention. Falling behind technological changes emerged as a longer-term risk as schools struggle to keep pace with the digital needs of younger generations.
Almost two-thirds of teachers (63%) said the volume of risks facing their school had increased in the past five years. Schools are taking measures to identify and manage their risks effectively through staff training (58%), maintaining a risk register (45%) and discussing risk as a standing agenda item at governing body meetings (44%).
While 80% of teachers agree that risk management is key to creating a safe environment at school, almost the same number agree that it adds significantly to their workloads.
“Britain has an internationally renowned school system, full of committed and passionate individuals but it is currently in the eye of the perfect storm,” says Faith Kitchen, Ecclesiastical’s education director.
“Increasing pressure on school staff and pupils to achieve the right grades is resulting in mental health and wellbeing challenges, against a backdrop of huge political and economic uncertainty. Moreover, they’re being faced with ever-increasing and complex compliance and duties.
“This report is aimed at supporting schools and providing some potential solutions, and it is an invaluable resource for brokers working with clients in this sector. It’s important for brokers to understand the risks and issues facing schools so they can respond to their customers with greater empathy and knowledge, as well as providing informed support as they help their clients navigate their emerging risks.”