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Our new HT has told us that we should not have a rocking horse in our nursery class because of the mechanism being a health and safety issue. Is this so? The beautiful horse has been in the nursery for over 20 years. He has had his mane replaced once, and is muched loved by all. We often see tired or sad children climb up and rock away quietly and happily.

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Hi Jacquie -

There are usually things you can do to avoid doing away with resources that could be a health and safety issue. Introducing a policy of education on any areas that could be considered dangerous is one.


We have a pond in our outside area which the children love to be involved with. We have tadpoles in spring, fish, plants and frogs all through the year and so on. At first we were told we would have to build a 3 foot fence all the way around it. (How tall are most nursery children? How many of them would be able to see anything?)


So instead we introduced a policy that one member of staff was the 'pond explorer' at all times when children were in the garden. The policy says that they wear a purple sparkly armband, are not allowed to move away from the pond under any circumstances, and are responsible for health and safety. The inspectors were perfectly happy with that.


In your case things are likely to be different but it's quite possible that you could accomplish enough to satisfy people that it's safe. Where are the moving parts that could cause harm? Can they be made difficult to access. Can you put sponge/pvc on the ends to prevent someone accidentally walking in front of the horse and getting knocked? Could a frame be built around it? A policy that it can only be used when a member of staff is in the area (as a long stop)?


A risk assessment which shows that you've considered the possible dangers and taken steps to mitigate them would show that you're acting responsibly in your response to the inspector.



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