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Becoming an Academy

There are a number of issues that school science departments need to address when becoming an academy, these are around the employers’ statutory responsibilities for health and safety.

CLEAPSS membership enables employers to discharge their responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act and subsequent Regulations. These require employers to protect their employees by, for example, providing safe working conditions, information, training for health and safety, and (model) risk assessments for activities (required under a range of regulations, including COSHH).

CLEAPSS advice and documentation is recognised by the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Education. In the absence of CLEAPSS membership the employer be it the governors or trustees must consider how to fulfil aspects of the Health and Safety at Work Act and its subsequent regulations. CLEAPSS membership provides a one stop shop approach to satisfying the school’s responsibilities in relation to the teaching of science, design & technology and art and design.

All maintained, foundation and voluntary aided schools in Herts CC have their CLEAPSS membership and Radiation Protection services paid for by the county. When a school becomes an academy they are still able to purchase CLEAPSS membership through Herts CC at a considerably lower rate than paying for membership directly through CLEAPSS. The current price to schools subscribing through Herts CC is 8.95p, compared to 19.96p for those subscribing directly through CLEAPSS. Annual membership is renewed in March for both CLEAPSS and RPA services.

The Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 (IRR99), made under the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, came into force on 1st January 2001. They require an employer to ensure that radioactive substances are accounted for, stored properly, handled safely and monitored regularly. The employer must provide employees with appropriate information and instruction in radiation protection to ensure their health and safety. When schools become academies the radiation employer is no longer Herts CC. However the school can continue to subscribe to the Radiation Protection services through Herts CC, as long as the school has CLEAPSS membership, at a cost of £120 per year. Alternatively academies can appoint their own Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA) and CLEAPSS provides guidance on these services at:

If you have any queries about this please contact:
Joanna Conn (County Science Adviser)

August 2011