VICTORIAN schools are lowering monkey bars and banning students from bringing their own sunscreen and liquid paper to class because of “absurd” safety regulations.
Principals and even play experts have slammed strict occupational health and safety rules for taking the fun and learning out of our schools.
Staff have told the Sunday Herald Sun they are being overwhelmed by a growing list of safety-related demands from the State Government.
Complaints included teachers being told they had to wear masks and surgical gloves while applying sticking plasters.
Principals also reported counting glue sticks and investigating the chemicals in clay so they could fill out hundreds of pages of health and safety forms.
St Albans East Primary School principal Anne-Maree Kliman said she spent hours outside working hours searching on the internet to find and report what chemicals were in paint.
“The workload is extreme. It is just hours and hours of paperwork,” Ms Kliman said.
“I can deal with not using a ladder and looking for trip hazards, but some of it is just nonsense stuff.”
Play Australia executive director Barbara Champion criticised shortened play equipment and said that schools were ruining important tools that taught risk.
“Schools have really dropped the ball in terms of playgrounds,” she said.
“A lot of equipment is much too small for children. It is provided under the guise of being safe but it is not good in terms of play and learning.”
The Victorian Principals Association president Gabrielle Leigh said regulation had gone too far.
“Schools are finding it really difficult and it hasn’t made it safer,” Ms Leigh said.
“We have had to counsel principals who are gobsmacked.
“Smaller schools are finding it really difficult because they don’t have the resources.”