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Sensible safety

One of Southwark's headteachers, Mike Kent, provided a wonderful description of his perspective on health and safety issues (TES, November 14).

Mr Kent gave the impression of hard-pressed, down-to-earth headteachers being harassed by paper-pushing, buck-passing bureaucrats with little else to do (I recognised myself quite early on in the article).

His letter reminded me of one written a few years ago by a head of an Oxbridge college, who advised that the only fire that had taken place in 400 years was the one caused by the ignition of the wood shavings emanating from the carpentry work consequent upon the installation of fire doors.

I accept that we must all keep a proper sense of perspective. But I am confident that our health and safety officers endeavour to do just that and are mindful of the multiplicity of responsibilities borne by headteachers.

We all need reminding, however, that the price of safety is eternal vigilance.


Director of education and leisure services Southwark Council 1 Bradenham Close London SE17

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