Children and Young Persons in the University (OBUHSN-15)


This Health and Safety Notice should be read and understood by all employees and students of Oxford Brookes University.

This Health and Safety Notice does not apply to children/young persons who are members of the Oxford Brookes University student body. The health and safety of students is covered in OBUHSN-12.

Legal responsibilities

The University, as the occupier of its premises, owes a "common duty of care" to its visitors, i.e. a duty to take such care as is reasonable, in the circumstances, to see that visitors will be safe in using the premises to which they are invited or permitted access. It has a higher duty of care to children/young persons, as the University must be prepared for children to be less careful than adults.

The University's properties (except the Nursery and certain residential accommodation) are not intended or designed for use by children/young persons since there are many potential hazards therein.

For the purposes of this document children are defined as people under the age of sixteen (16).

For the purposes of this document young persons are defined as people between the ages of sixteen (16) and eighteen (18) years of age.

Formal visits

If parties of children/young persons are to be brought onto any University site for official purposes e.g. class teaching practice, viewing exhibitions etc., the Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate that is arranging the visit is legally responsible for the health and safety of the children/young persons while on-site. The Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate is responsible for implementing systems that ensure the children/young person’s conform to Faculty/Directorate Health and Safety Policy and/or Codes of Practice applying to the area(s) they may visit. This must include a risk assessment (OBUHSN-36). The Dean of the Faculty/Director of Directorate is authorised to exclude any children/young person’s not conforming to the Faculty/Directorate Health and Safety Policy, Codes of Practice or University policies and procedures. Children/young persons who do not behave in an acceptable/safe manner may be excluded from the University's sites.

The member of staff in charge of the children/young persons must complete the risk assessment and pass it to the Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate for approval at least one week in advance. A copy of the risk assessment must be sent to the Safety Team before the visit commences.

Vacation students

During the University’s vacation periods, the University often hires out teaching space and residential accommodation to language or similar organisations who use the premises to provide residential education to children and young persons. Often these faculties are for the teaching of English to foreign students.

The organisation which is running the Faculty has the direct responsibility to ensure the health safety and welfare of its students.

The University has the responsibility to provide premises which are safe for its visitors.

The Dean of the Directorate, or their nominee, who is responsible for hiring out the premises must carry out a risk assessment and make suitable adjustments to minimise the risks to the children and young people.

The risk assessment should, at the very least, take the following into account, that the children and young people may not have a good understanding of English language, that they may be immature and that they may have a poor comprehension of how to behave safely.

The risk assessment may determine that for certain University staff, a Discrimination Barring Services disclosure will need to be undertaken, because the nature of their work may bring them in close proximity to the children or young people.

The Dean or nominee of the responsible Directorate must inform the organisations which are hiring the University facilities of procedures to be followed in the event of a fire alarm (OBUHSN-09), in case of the need for first aid (OBUHSN-10) or to report an accident or incident (OBUHSN-11) together with any other procedures which may be necessary depending upon the clients’ activities.

Informal visits

Children/young person’s brought informally onto University sites or into University buildings, must be kept under control, and be accompanied by an adult at all times. This means, not only making sure that the children/young person’s themselves are safe, but also preventing them from doing anything that might endanger others or damage property. Staff, students and members of the general public must be made aware that if they bring children/young persons to the University they are responsible for their health and safety and liable for their actions. Children/young persons who do not behave in an acceptable/safe manner may be excluded from the University's sites.

Children/young persons who as part of their studies are required to use library facilities need not be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Unless it is an organised formal visit children/young persons must not be admitted into any area of the University where any hazardous substance or equipment may be present.

Unacceptable/unsafe behaviour

If children/young persons are not behaving in an acceptable/safe manner the adult responsible for them may be asked to remove them from the premises by the member of staff in charge of the area in which they are misbehaving. In the context of this Health and Safety Notice some examples of unacceptable/unsafe behaviour include:

  • persistently disturbing other members of staff while at work
  • causing a nuisance
  • persistently ignoring instructions
  • horseplay
  • causing damage to University property
  • causing damage to other persons’ property.

The final decision on unacceptable/unsafe behaviour will have to be left to the Dean of Faculty/Director of Directorate or their nominee.

Work experience

Staff supervising children/young persons on work experience will conform to the requirements detailed under work experience in Safety of Visitors to Oxford Brookes University (OBUHSN-13 and Risk Assessment OBUHSN-36).

Issue: 5 July 2019