A ‘SERIOUS incident’ at an Oxfordshire school in which a pupil bit a member of staff took nearly seven months to be reported, the county council has said.

Accidents and incidents at schools should be reported to the council ‘as soon as possible after [they] take place’.

But in a scathing report over the state of health and safety provision across the council, it is one of several major faults exposed.

Others include that less than half of all new recruits at the council were given expected training over the last year.

Council testing found, on average, incidents at schools were being reported 18 days after they happened. ‘Serious and moderate’ incidents were reported more quickly during 2017/18 – but it still took staff 11 days, on average, to tell the council of them.

The report by Lorna Baxter, the council’s director for finance, states: “Over the course of 2017/18 it was found that there were 30 incidents which took 200 days to report, including one serious incident which wasn’t reported for 205 days (6.7 months).”

The county council said it was unable to name the school involved in the biting incident.

The report also says training on health and safety has been ‘ineffective’. It notes 53 per cent of all permanent new staff who started work at the council during 2017/18 had not completed mandatory e-training.

A lack of a fully qualified first aiders in some areas of the council is a concern, and ‘significant non-compliance regarding special paediatric first aiders at some children and family centres’ another.

Ms Baxter’s report also notes managers across the council often do not have a grip over health and safety training.

It states: “Although it is the responsibility of line managers to ensure that training is completed, [it] is not being completed.”

She continues: “Significant issues identified...include mandatory health and safety training not being completed, inadequate first aid [and] fire marshal arrangements.”

Whether full health and safety training is undertaken by former Carillion workers is still to be decided, nearly a year after they started work for the council again.

Catering staff had been given an induction which covers health and safety – but needs have not been ‘fully assessed’ despite Carillion collapsing in January 2018.

They had previously been contracted to the council, but moved over to Carillion.

On the school incident, Paul Smith, Oxfordshire County Council spokesman, said: “The incident [that took 205 days to be reported] involved a member of staff who was bitten by a pupil. [The member of staff] sustained a fairly minor injury.

“The primary responsibility for the safety of school staff rests with the headteacher. In the case of schools they will have local arrangements in place for dealing with accidents and incidents and will be dealt with at the time by the school management.

“However, as the county council is the ‘employer’ for community and voluntary controlled schools then they should also report the incident on the council’s online reporting system – this where there was a delay. The school did take action when incident occurred e.g. first aid given.”

Mr Smith added: “This is a reflection of some schools having procedures in place to report and deal with accidents and incidents locally but delaying subsequent reporting the council – this is being addressed by the council who are reminding schools of the importance of prompt reporting.

“In summary this was an administrative oversight and in no way reflects on how the school dealt with the situation at the time.”