Preparation makes perfect for events

  • Sporting events, summer fetes and parent teacher evenings – schools host a wide variety of events. Meticulous planning is essential to ensure everything runs without a hitch
  • Site checks prior to the event are key to a successful event
  • It is essential to debrief post event to identify what can be improved next time

From graduation ceremonies to summer fetes, provisions are required to ensure all attendees are free from risk. Like most organisations, schools often hold public events. These may include sports days, graduation ceremonies, school plays, parent-teacher meetings or summer fetes.

Once you’ve decided the type of event you will be holding it is important to understand:

  • Who you want to attend
  • How you will co-ordinate the event, including the services or provisions required
  • If any licences are needed
  • When the event will be held – adverse weather conditions could impact its safe running.

Health and safety management

To protect the health, safety and welfare of students, staff and members of the public, effective health and safety management must begin at the planning stage. Consideration needs to be given to where the event will be held, for example, ensuring there is a large enough area for any planned activities, the number of expected attendees and the suitability of disabled access.

Before the event, it is important to draw up an event safety plan. This does not need to be a complicated document but should include essential information such as:

  • Organisational structure and responsibilities for the event management
  • Risk assessments for each element of the event
  • Copies of any licences required
  • Consents and details of the arrangements for dealing with emergencies.

It may also be useful to draw a sketch of the event site showing the location of stalls, rides and attractions, stages, first aid points, emergency access points and car parking facilities.

Documentation is key

The event organiser must ensure relevant insurance cover is in place – any contractor or performer involved in the event must be insured. Copies of insurance certificates should be obtained and retained on file.

Prior to the opening of the event, it would be beneficial to walk through the site to check venue safety. Look out for slip and trip hazards such as trailing cables, and ensure emergency exit routes are not obstructed. Ongoing checks should be made during longer events – it may be useful to have a checklist to record any actions.

It is important to remember that planning does not finish at the end of the event. Undertaking a post event debrief is essential to identify what could be improved next time round. Remember, learning from successes is equally as valuable as learning from what didn’t go so well.