The safety and wellbeing of staff and students is a priority for every Board of Trustees. The following information outlines the content of school policies and procedures, as well as ERO expectations and legislatory requirements.

What can Boards of Trustees do?

Boards of Trustees (BOT) can be involved in implementing What’s the Plan, Stan? at a governance level by:

    • resourcing and supporting management’s decision to implement What’s the Plan, Stan? within the school
    • consulting with parents and whānau to seek their views about incorporating emergency practices and procedures into the school programme
    • reviewing current policies to ensure they reflect the school’s commitment to emergency policy and procedures
    • providing opportunities and facilities for their employees to practise for emergency.

Get ready – Plan


The Board of Trustees is legally required to provide effective emergency procedures and planning to ensure the safety of all students and staff.

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 is a comprehensive document that sets out requirements to ensure the safety of everyone in the workplace.

The New Zealand School Trustees Association and the Ministry of Education have developed a comprehensive guideline which provides an overview of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA). This document Health and Safety at Work Act 2015: A practical guide for Boards of trustees and school leaders clearly outlines the responsibilities of boards of trustees and school leaders. It provides information and tools to support schools/kura to understand the requirements of HSWA and its regulations and implement good health and safety practices.

The policies/procedures and tools contained in the guide are also available on the Ministry of Education website.

National Administration Guideline 5 states that each Board of Trustees is required to:

  1. provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students
  2. comply in full with any legislation currently in force or that may be developed to ensure the safety of students and employees.

Get ready – Prepare

When the Education Review Office conducts school reviews they may ask questions relating to civil defence emergency management, or ask to view your emergency planning. For example has the Board of Trustees:

    • undertaken training/advice in regard to the implications of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015?
    • prepared plans that will enable the school to continue functioning during or after a national or local civil defence emergency?
    • had occasion to undertake civil defence measures, or to perform functions or duties in relation to civil defence, since the last Education Review Office report?
    • ensured systematic identification and remedying of existing and potential hazards?

It's happening – Drill

While BOTs are not required to attend or manage drills, you are required to have an emergency plan. As part of the BOT's safety obligations the board must ensure an emergency plan is prepared for the workplace. The emergency plan must:

    • Stan flying right grey.include emergency procedures, including an effective response to an emergency, evacuation procedures, procedures for notifying emergency service organisations at the earliest opportunity, and medical treatment and assistance procedures.
    • provide for testing of the emergency procedures, including the frequency of testing and provide for information, training and instruction to be given to the relevant workers in relation to implementing the emergency procedures.
    • outline what workers and others at the workplace should do in an emergency. Your emergency plan will need to take into account the nature of the work, hazards at your school, the size and location of the workplace and the number and composition of your workforce.

The board will need to maintain and keep the emergency plan up to date to ensure that it remains effective. The key components of what are usually covered in an emergency plan are outlined in Factsheet Topic 5: Workplace Management (Part 1).

It's over – What now?

Involvement at a governance level after an emergency event will vary depending on the size and location of your school and your level of community response. For some schools, the school buildings may be used by Civil Defence as an evacuation centre, and while Civil Defence are managing that process, you may need to be available should any problems arise.

As property managers of the school, the aftermath of an emergency event could be extreme. Plans should be in place for what will happen in the event of a loss of power, water and internet, in terms of health and safety and the impact on teaching and learning programmes. Boards will need to work very closely with school management and Civil Defence to help mitigate the impacts of emergency events.

To help with planning, consider the ‘What are the Impacts’ scenarios on Never Happens? Happens.