current legislation, codes of practice & regulatory requirements

There are generic requirements that you need to follow as a teacher. It’s imperative that you keep your knowledge of these legally binding requirements up-to-date. There will also be specific regulations associated with the type of teaching/training that you will undertake.

I teach at a hands-on museum with a workshop and undertaking practical learning based activities.
Here are some examples of the 3 types of ‘rules’ that might need to be taken into account in a similar environment…

Current legislation

Examples of current legislation that must be followed regardless of the teaching/training location. These includes:

Equalities Act (2010)

Data Protection Act (1998) and the recent introduction of GDPR

Health and Safety at Work (1974)

Copyright Designs and Patents Act (1988)

Risk Assessments

& Education Acts that specifically apply to your group of learners e.g. safeguarding vulnerable groups

You may need to know about other legislation that doesn’t directly affect your teaching role, but the environment in which you are teaching in:

Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964

Image: original sources unknown

THE Equalities Act (2010) In A LITTLE MORE depth

“The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.” ( – paragraph 1) in this context ‘wider society’ includes places of education. In summary, the legislation means that ‘reasonable adjustments’ must be made for people who are at a disadvantage compared to their peers. So if you have a physical or mental impairment or your impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to do normal day-to-day activities” (Citizen’s Advice Bureau – paragraph 1

In a learning environment, an example of some reasonable adjustments are:
1) providing a safe space for a student to go it if they are experiencing sensor overload during their learning time due a health issue or ASD/ADHD
2) The learning space might need to be re-arranged, access ramps made available or (additional) seating supplied for a student with a health issues or physical impairments that affect their ability to access to the classroom area (museum space or workshop)

Regulatory Requirements

There will be regulation that you will need to be aware of and will have to follow, there will be different regulations for different types of organisations. When teaching in a museum and a workshop with potential dangerous equipment these might includes:

Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (2013)

Manual Handling Operations Regulations (1992)

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (2002)

Image: Vintage ROSPA poster

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrence Regulations (2013) In A LITTLE MORE depth

edAll accidents or serious incidents that happen in a place of work (for the teacher) or the place of learning (for the students) must be reported and recorded according in the site’s Accident Book. ‘The Accident Book‘ is an essential document for employers and employees (and in this case, students)  – who are required by law to record and report details of  all injuries and incidents. These records must include the details:
• The date, time and place of event
• The personal details of those involved
• Brief description of the nature of the event or disease
• Date and method of reporting the injury, disease or dangerous occurrence

An example of this when teaching at the museum  might be; a student has a minor accident and cuts their hand during the classroom session. This seemingly minor event must be reported in case the injury becomes medically serious (e.g. infected) to ensure that the museum (and the teacher) are covered by any personal injury claim that might be made by the student, or reported to the Health and Safety Executive for investigation. 

In very specific circumstances the accident / incident must be reported directly to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) – see the HSE website for more details.

Codes Of Practice

Regardless of where you are teaching/training there will be Codes of Practice (or Codes of Conduct) that you’ll be required to follow. They’re often specific to the environment you will be working in, and will often apply to; dress code, lone working, sustainability, what groups of students you can and can’t work with and site specific safety requirements.  Here are 2 examples that apply to teaching in a museum setting:

Institute for Learning – Code of Professional Practice (2008)

Code of conduct for teaching in the British Museum

Additional guidelines might be found in a museum’s teaching-specific documentation. These are just 2 examples:

Museums Association – Code of Ethics

Good Practice Guidelines for Developing Learning Programmes in Museums

Image: Vintage ROSPA poster


Within the context of leading art, design and printing based workshops at the Cambridge Museum of Technology I need to consider the following:

• The Museum has a general Risk Assessment in place, but as a (volunteer) teacher/trainer I need to consider what the risk here are for each individual attending depending:
– on what work space I am asking them to use,
  – what materials (e.g. inks, paints, cleaning chemicals) and equipment (printing press,
paper cutting equipment) the students have access to
• Do any potable electrical appliances that need to PAT tested?
• Are there currently any COVID-19 regulations that need to be followed?
• Am I suitable dressed to represent the Museum, as well as practical for the tasks in hand,   to keep myself warm, to remain safe and able to stand for prolonged periods?
• Are the students suitable dressed i.e. warm, protected from any inks, to be standing up for prolonged periods of time etc. etc. ?
• Is the number of attendees relevant to the task being undertaken to ensure everyone is safe and so the students can get the most of of the teaching session?
• Am I aware of students who might need additional support or adjustments?

Can you think of anything else that I may have need to take into account to fulfil my roles and responsibilities as the workshop leader?

Image: Vintage ROSPA poster
• Safety first!
• Use your common sense
• If in any doubt ask your line manager