Risk & reputation management
PHAROS RESPONSE has considerable knowledge and experience of the education sector and provides tailored services specifically so suit independent, maintained and international schools, academies and multi academy trusts (MATs), as well as nurseries, colleges and universities.
The PHAROS team is made up of highly experienced crisis management experts who have managed many critical incidents over many years, usually involving young people. We have supported educational establishments of all kinds through their darkest days, navigating headteachers and principals through critical incidents and crises that no school should have to face, but sadly many do.
Our experience of supporting so many serious incidents on a regular basis helps us to sharpen risk assessments and educational visits guidance to reduce the likelihood of incidents involving schools. It also provides a unique platform from which we can help schools’ and colleges’ crisis management teams to prepare their own critical incident management response.
PreventHow we help to prevent incidents before they happen
- - School Site Security Audit
- - Educational Visit Guidance
- - Risk Assessment Training
SCHOOL SITE SECURITY AUDIT
This includes a review of your site security and lockdown policies and procedures and emergency response plans as well as a detailed site survey to identify your security priorities, threats, challenges and weaknesses. Your detailed report will provide practical advice, realistic recommendations and template documents covering school alarms and monitoring systems, access control, visitor management, lockdown, emergency communications, VIPs, premises layout and crisis response plans.
EDUCATIONAL VISIT GUIDANCE
A comprehensive service to enhance safety on educational visits that reduces hassle and increases flexibility for visit leaders, supports decision makers in school and improves consistency and compliance across MATs.
Head teachers and EVCs benefit from being able to confidently approve trips and visits without straying outside their area of expertise and exposing the school or MAT to potential litigation. This is clearly essential for MAT Boards who will want to know that all their schools are compliant with the latest regulations and good practice whilst ensuring pupils gain from the huge benefits from outdoor learning and trips.
The Pharos Educational Visits Advisory Service allocates one of our educational visit advisors to your school who will review and provide guidance on higher risk visits, such as overseas, adventure or residential trips, and advise on any measures to improve safety and protect schools. This also extends to school visit Covid guidelines to ensure the health and safety of pupils on educational visits.
These qualified and experienced Pharos educational visits advisors (who are members of the OEAP) are also available to support your EVCs or SLT as required with practical solutions, the latest National Guidance and technical knowledge or a reassuring second opinion. Our experience of managing incidents on educational visits gives us a kind of sixth sense when reviewing school trip risk assessments. For more specialist trips, we can also access a team of technical experts covering a wide range of disciplines to ensure you get the best guidance to suit your specific trip. This service is delivered in a professional and efficient way to help ensure your school trips and visits are fully compliant.
This service has become even more important in the COVID landscape with the additional challenges and risks the virus presents to trips in the UK or further afield.
Primary schools: £750+VAT per annum
Secondary schools: £1,500+VAT per annum
Risk Assessment Training
This one-day course is designed for senior leaders and other colleagues within the education sector who are responsible for writing risk assessments, or reviewing those of others. The course is tailored to the school’s needs to make it highly specific (incorporating your own risk assessment templates) and uses practical exercises and scenario-based activities to bring the theory to life. It will also cover the different types of risk assessments and the common issues to avoid. The training will help increase the quality of risk assessments, help make safer for those involved and further demonstrate how the school ensures the competence of individuals responsible for risk assessment. The training includes a free consultation in advance of the training to discuss the different risk assessment templates used. All learners receive a course completion certificate.
Option 1. Face-to-face at client venue £1350+VAT
Option 2. Online via Zoom. £1250+VAT
PrepareHow we help to prepare for critical or complex incidents
- - Critical Incident Plans
- - School Lockdown Rehearsal
- - School Crisis Simulation Exercise
Critical incidents or crises often happen with very little warning. The speed and efficacy of management’s response can significantly help to limit the negative impact on personal wellbeing and the school’s reputation. Although schools are usually excellent at managing lower level incidents, more complex or critical incidents can pose significant challenges that require prior incident management planning and rehearsal.
SCHOOL CRITICAL INCIDENT PLANS
A comprehensive desktop review of your school’s critical incident plan with detailed feedback and discussion around your risk profile and most likely incidents. Is your emergency response or critical incident plan really going to assist you when it’s needed? Does it include press statement templates and social media guidance? If not, you could risk falling at the first hurdle.
School crisis plan review £500+VAT
School crisis plan review and rewrite £1,500+VAT
SCHOOL LOCKDOWN REHEARSAL
Practice your lockdown procedures during this twilight on-site session which will include feedback on your school’s lockdown policy and practical lockdown procedures, a lockdown rehearsal, as well as a security briefing for staff. Delivered by former police and security specialists.
SCHOOL CRISIS SIMULATION EXERCISE
A desktop crisis simulation exercise for your school’s incident management team to rehearse their critical incident response. During this crisis management training you will manage the incident as if for real, plan the school’s response and field calls from the press and parents (played by Pharos actors). Bespoke scenarios might involve a lockdown situation on site or a critical incident off-site or overseas. Timings and key outputs of the training are flexible to suit you.
RespondHow we help to respond to critical or complex incidents
- - 24/7 Service
- - What’s Included
- - Critical Incidents in Schools
Our unique PHAROS 24/7 crisis response service enables schools to reach immediate support to help crisis response teams to manage incidents, emergencies or serious issues, whether COVID-19, school trip, school site or school community related.
Schools who subscribe to this 24/7 service enjoy peace of mind throughout the year that they will be able to respond swiftly and effectively to both complex Coronavirus cases and serious incidents alike. For academies and independent schools, this experienced guidance is particularly valuable since the Board can be held directly responsible for the consequence of incidents, especially if poorly managed.
View all features of our 24/7 crisis response service
Schools subscribing to PHAROS will be given two contact numbers for support. The first is for emergency incidents. Your call will go straight to the PHAROS crisis response team. This is made up of highly experienced incident managers who are typically former uniformed services (Army, Police etc) and who also have experience of working with young people. They will provide immediate practical advice to the caller, such as a teacher at the scene of a coach crash. They will log all details and recommend immediate priority actions. They will also initiate any specialist services that might assist, such as strategic incident management mentoring with a Pharos Director, crisis PR/media support, social media listening, trauma counselling, health & safety advice and investigations.
The second number is for management support regarding COVID-19. Your call will be answered by a call handler who will capture the details of your situation and pass this to the most appropriate, highly experienced team member. They will call straight back to provide specific guidance inline with the Government’s COVID guidelines for schools. We will also be able to draft or review communications to parents and write media statements.
CRITICAL INCIDENTS IN SCHOOLS
The Pharos team have supported staff in managing a wide range of critical incidents and crises in schools, supporting their reputation risk and crisis management response. More recently, these incidents have included:
Student suicides, staff arrests and convictions for offences involving children, coach crashes (uk and overseas), sudden staff death, pupil death on school trips, serious sexual assaults, staff arrest for fraud, headteacher blackmail, armed robbery on a school trip, full school lockdowns due to armed intruders, school minibus crashes, historical safeguarding incidents in the press, paedophile hunters corner staff member, teachers in a serious taxi crash overseas, missing pupils on school visits, school closures due to confirmed coronavirus cases and coronavirus fatalities…
Responding to these school emergencies should never appear on a Headteacher’s to-do list, but sadly they do, and more often than people think.
When emergencies in schools do happen, staff are rarely sufficiently prepared for the external challenges and pressures that these incidents present, for the press and social media attention, managing parent communications and liaising with all the other stakeholders involved.
Working with pharos
Benefits of working with PHAROS include:
– Pupils and staff are safer on and off-site.
– Reduce the negative impact of a serious incident.
– 24/7 access to your own crisis response team including specialists in crisis and risk management, health & safety, security, crisis PR, social media, trauma counselling, safeguarding advice.
– Added resilience for out-of-hours incidents including on trips and visits.
– Reduced pressure on school staff facing a critical incident.
– Duty of care reassurance and governance.
– Reputation risk resilience.
It has been the best training I have attended in a very long time. I have actually learned new skills and feel so much more confident.
Great insight into how to handle the unexpected.
The Pharos team were a huge support in helping our schools respond to the challenges presented by COVID, updating risk assessments, carrying out compliance audits and helping to draft communications to parents and at times the media. When our staff were under enormous pressure, the Pharos team were able to lighten the load with their responsive, practical insights and solutions.
As Head of a major independent school, having the support of Pharos is a huge comfort and benefit to me and my colleagues. It is vital to our school that we are able to respond with empathy and professionalism to a range of significant events and issues which inevitably arise from time to time. Being able to call on the expertise of Pharos allows us to ensure that our voice and message are heard with clarity, and that our stakeholders can rely upon us to communicate in a timely and fulsome manner.
I would unreservedly recommend Pharos to any school wishing to undertake this sort of training. We feel well equipped to rewrite our policies now, and confident to undertake the exciting and ambitious schedule of educational visits.
A very useful workshop, well organised and delivered at the right pace to keep everyone interested. I particularly enjoyed the simulation session in the afternoon which really demonstrated the realities of having to deal with serious incidents. A valuable experience.
Effective, efficient, critical friend and nothing is too much trouble. At times when things begin to lose their balance, the team at Pharos offer stability.
Abingdon has been working with Pharos for several years now and has benefited from training simulations of incident response which have been practical, relevant and very helpful. We also had a very positive experience in an actual situation in which their range of support, including communication advice, was thoughtful, useful and pragmatic. As a result, we signed up to their 24/7 service, fortunately we have not had to use it yet although it helps us sleep more easily!