CLEAPSS on safety for practical activities for pupils at home

If you are suggesting practical activities that pupils could safely carry out at home, CLEAPSS has produced a guidance leaflet which discusses the implications practical work at home (see GL339 – Practical activities for pupils at home during extended periods of school closure).

It is important to remember that some children may have limited adult supervision and some may have younger siblings. You also do not know enough about the environment that the pupils will be working in to be able to ensure that they are going to be safe. Remember, if you are going to suggest an activity the pupil’s safety is still your responsibility.

Home environments typically have:

  • No access to specialist equipment and chemicals. (note. under no circumstances should chemicals or specialist equipment be sent home for use by pupils)
  • No expert supervision (and possibly no supervision at all)
  • No access to PPE
  • No access to immediate remedial measures or First Aid
  • No suitable disposal route.

This does not however mean that there are no worthwhile practical activities that could be safely carried out at home and activities originally intended for use in primary schools can be a really useful starting point.

With this in mind CLEAPSS has reviewed its range of practical procedures intended for use in primary schools. These activities are intrinsically safe and make use of resources available around the home or readily available cheaply from high street stores.

These activities contain excellent science and can be used creatively by teachers to explore often quite complex underlying scientific ideas, for example, through the addition of more challenging questions or a research task. A number of the suggestions can be used to explore a variety of physics topics for example we have procedures on using water displacement to measure volume (P084 -Overflow) and making a constellation viewer (P090 - Seeing stars), again see GL339 on the CLEAPSS website for details and links to the activities.

If you are going to suggest that pupils carry out a practical task at home as part of their remote learning CLEAPSS recommends that your school makes sure it has flagged this up to parents through the channels it normally uses to get important messages home. You cannot rely solely on the pupils telling their parents/guardian.

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