Last reviewed 12 October 2021

A trust which operates 12 schools failed to properly control the risk from zoonotic diseases to employees, pupils and visitors at one of its academies.

The Nottingham-based Spencer Academies Trust pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 and was fined £20,000 as well as being ordered to pay full costs of £7304 and a victim surcharge of £170.

Southern Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court heard how the Trust had failed to provide adequate washing facilities to control the risks of disease to employees, pupils and visitors to the academy.

The academy school, which was home to several animals including goats, pigs and rabbits, had also failed to provide suitable housing for the animals to minimise the risk to children as well as adequate training for staff.

Speaking for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), inspector Leigh Stanley said: “HSE recognises the wider learning benefits from keeping animals in the school environment; however, schools must ensure that the risks of zoonotic diseases are adequately assessed and effectively controlled.”

The industry Code of Practice, Preventing or Controlling Ill Health from Animal Contact at Visitor Attractions, has been updated and can be found at visitmyfarm.org.

This also gives access to advice to teachers and others who organise visits to such attractions for children.