There is no escape from providing effective device protection and a solid support & maintenance service but there is equal need to reduce the need to make use of it. Educating pupils to look after the device is an essential part of the ‘Home School Agreement’ that you will be writing because it will come as no surprise to learn that tablets & laptop computers, which are relatively fragile electronic items, are more susceptible to damage while under the care and control of children!
Below you will find the most common damages that occur on insurance claims, and our thanks to Burnett & Associates Ltd for much of the information.
- 30% of all claims
This is not an unexpected type of claim, tablets and laptops get dropped, usually either while carrying them class to class or at home while not in their case. They can also "slip" from unzipped school bags.
- Your school policy and home school agreement should be that tablets are kept in their cases & laptops are put into their cases between lessons and when not in use - with penalties for non-compliance.
- You should build the cost of a specialist protective slip case into the programme. This is usually done with tablets already. You may find that the insurance policy requires them, if this is the case then you should make this clear to students and parents.
Knocked off desk/table/bed
– 25% of all claims
It is all too easy to knock a tablet/laptop off a desk. This is mainly caused by either tripping over a charging cable or knocking it when walking by. Not surprisingly the majority occur while at school, but a significant proportion also happen at home, usually for the same reasons.
- Your school policy and home school agreement should be that all devices must be fully charged when they arrive at school, thus removing the need to have them on charge while at school. If charging does have to take place then this should take place in a designated safe area, either in class or in the IT office ensuring that all cables are routed away from potential trip areas. During the charging time the student should use a temporary device
- During use teaching staff should make sure that devices are always kept away from the edge of desks especially near thoroughfare areas and when not in use, lids (if available) are always closed. You should also endeavour to instil in students and parents this same philosophy while at home
Crushed/knocked/ trod on
– 10% of claims
Incidents of units being damaged mainly while in cases by being crushed or knocked are surprisingly common. Typically, students will force other objects (books etc) into the laptop case or they get banged into while moving about crushing the laptop against a wall. They might leave the device on the floor to get trodden on or even use the bag to sit on or as goal posts!.
- Endeavour to educate the students to take care of their device and that, even when in a case and their school bag, it is still fragile!
- They also need to be reminded to only use the laptop bag for its intended purpose – i.e. to hold the laptop – it isn't a Filofax, pen holder or somewhere to put notes etc. These all will create uneven pressure points and great pivots for cracking the case and/or screen.
- A particular problem with laptops and netbooks is smashed screens as a result of leaving items such as pens, rubbers etc on keyboard and closing laptop crushing the screen on to them. This can only really be minimised through regular reminders.
– 5% of insurance claims
This is generally the result of drinks being knocked over the keyboard or where drinks have been carried in the laptop bag and have spilt.
- This one is failry straight forward, it is all about educating the students not to have drinks near their device and to use the bag for its intended purpose and definitely do not carry drinks in any bag containing the device. Parents need to also be encouraged to monitor this at home as well.
- one of the big fears of parents and Schools
You may be surprised to know that it isn't as common as many believe.
In fact thefts from students are extremely rare and most thefts occur at school, from cars, and during house break-ins.
These are a few messages important to instil into pupils' minds and make a part of both the school policy and the home school agreement.
- When travelling with a laptop; try to keep it disguised as much as possible by using a normal bag, briefcase or backpack (but only when the laptop is already safely in its own case!).
- On public transport, keep the device with you at all times and carry it with a strap around you (a wrist or shoulder or even a leg!). Never leave it in a luggage rack or unattended at any time. If you are travelling by air you must take it as cabin baggage.
- When travelling by car, make sure it is out of sight, and secure, to prevent it being snatched when stopped at traffic lights and the like.
- Remember it is generally a condition of your insurance that the laptop must be kept with you at all times when travelling by public transport.
These are a few messages important to instil into pupils' minds and make integral parts of both the school policy and the home school agreement.
- Never leave it in a car overnight, even in the boot, take it indoors with you.
- If you have to leave it in a car during the day, put it in the boot and out of sight and make sure the doors are locked. Insurance will usually not cover a laptop stolen from a car overnight. During the day it will normally be covered, but only if locked out of sight in the boot.
- Do not leave it in a classroom, restaurant or indeed anywhere else out of your sight or immediate possession as unattended it can and will "disappear".
- Do not leave it in any unsecured classroom or room overnight or even at lunchtime, they do have a habit of going "walkabout". Don't give someone the opportunity of taking your laptop. If you have to leave it, make sure it is in a locked drawer, locker or cupboard or if nothing else, secure it with one of the proprietary security devices available. Remember, a laptop which is stolen without any apparent break-in to the room or building would not normally be insured.