Ed2020 Risk Incident Examples

There is a growing list of risks that can stop a school in its tracks...

INCREASING PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY is a dangerous development for schools - institutions that used to belong, with churches and government, in the "community good will and responsibility" realm. This is decreasingly the case and school boards, councils and principals need to seriously consider adopting professional risk management principles and processes. Not only will this reduce the likelihood of serious incidents, but it will also be demonstrable evidence of the professional management and care now expected of schools and individually of their office-bearers.

This page will gradually accumulate some of the diverse new, and old, risks that 21st century schools need to consider, without letting it get in the way of their prime mission of facilitating learning. Contact Austega for help to achieve this balance. Threre are also free resources to help you in this journey.

Premises and physical security

Internet and new technologies

  • Open source vs proprietary software in schools US view Nov 01
  • Virus and hacker protection SANS top 20 vulnerabilities
  • Parasite web-sites that rely on user URL errors (eg www.encata.com) to display porn
  • Lawsuit based on Invasion of student privacy eg offsite story
  • Demonstrable duty of care over student use eg student internet usage records open to public scrutiny...
  • Growth in "hate" sites
  • Internet filtering
  • Ownership or usage rights to online course material
  • Obsolescence of non-digital (ie paper-based) resources
  • Liability for offshore education services
  • Protection of student and family records
  • Defining and managing "internet cheating"

Business model risks

  • Protecting and boosting school image/marketing power
  • Effects of zoning
  • Effects of online school comparison guides see an offsite example
  • Handling parental and student technology expectations while keeping options open
  • Conflict between school ethos and regulatory requirements eg Nambucca Heads Christian Community School & corporal punishment (Jan 2001)
  • Holding good staff with enrolment based staffing and resource formulae
  • Managing partnerships with universities and other organisations
  • Impact of extended school hours on economic viability
  • Managing community use of facilities - safety issues, contractual commitments etc
  • Competition between certifications eg IT certification
  • Handling donors professionally
  • Paying teachers for performance eg Denver's bonuses based on student achievement

Political issues and school control

  • Showing and explaining current affairs eg 11 Sep World Trade Center destruction
  • Politicising elections of school trustees/governors
  • Public funding of non-government schools - political decisions may not be sensible
  • Demonstrable equity vs satisfying actively interested parents
  • Accreditation requirements
  • Difficulties offering full range of course choice particularly for senior students
  • Exclusion vs discrimination eg Hills Grammar vs Scarlett Finney (spina bifida) declined enrolment 1997 via HREOC 1999 to court decision May 2000
  • Religious observance vs discrimination
  • Peer pressures, fads and theft - eg mobile phones
  • Private school leasing of public assets eg Cranbrook leasing of two Dangar Fields ovals Jan 1997
  • Retaining skilled staff particularly in areas of commercial demand
  • Media targeting of a school eg Manly High School P&C media issue Feb 2000, Mt Druitt High School poor HSC performance media issue
  • Parental lobbying for school change eg Manly High School P&C media action Feb 2000, Newington College's Wyvern House parent action force out principal & Council chairman Feb 2000

Public health risks

  • Maintaining healthy school environments - offsite reference site
  • Mail risks: letterbombs and anthrax
  • Cell phone towers: easy revenue or potential time bomb
  • Occupational health issues not being managed with respect to students
  • Controlling drug use eg introducing random drug testing
  • Pre-immunisation of students to gain enrolment?
  • Schools on dangerous sites eg offsite story of US contaminated sites (chosen due to cost pressures?)

Duty of care and child abuse risks

  • Bullying and taking appropriate response offsite US story
  • Child abuse by staff eg offsite story
  • Abuse protection regulations can affect school reputations
  • After school pickup risks - abduction, family conflicts, traffic control, bus queues
  • Conspicuous uniforms and attracting abuse
  • Accountability for learning and demonstrability of care
  • Publishing student information and work online - US guidelines on publishing student information
  • Libel, slander, privacy and related concerns
  • Staff acting as counsellors
  • Agressive behaviour
  • Suspension policies and appeals processes - including defending them publicly
  • Effectively handling gang violence vs avoiding civil liberty litigation/complaints
  • Cyber-bullying