Schools Safety Information Sheet 

Introduction 

The Edinburgh International Book Festival has been running since 1983. To date there have been no reportable accidents, and the overall ranking of risk on site is low. Every year, City of Edinburgh Council officials inspect the site before opening to ensure it meets the safety standards required for the issue of a public entertainment licence. Book Festival staff are present throughout the site, and are all trained to ensure the safety of the public. 

There are elements of your group’s safety that are your responsibility. In particular, our site is open to the public, and you must ensure that your group is adequately controlled and supervised at all times. Below we have included some information about the Book Festival that may help you plan your visit, with particular relevance if you are required to carry out a risk assessment prior to your school’s visit.  

Getting here:  

• The Book Festival takes place at the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh College of Art on Lauriston Place in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. 

Address: Edinburgh College of Art: 74 Lauriston Place in central Edinburgh, EH3 9DF 

• There are two entrances to our site, one at 74 Lauriston Place, and one around the corner on Lady Lawson Street. 

These two entrances are also the evacuation and muster points, in case of emergencies. Trained stewards and security will be onsite to manage and marshal evacuating public. 

• Buses should park and drop off on Lady Lawson Street. 

• Level access to the site is available from both entrances. 

• Please plan to arrive around 20 minutes before your event is due to start.   

• On arrival, please report to our Schools Check-in point where you will also receive your free books. 

Our site:  

• The general public are allowed free access to the Gardens every day except for Baillie Gifford Gala Day. 

• Running is not permitted on site. Running can be dangerous but also creates noise which is disruptive when events are on in our venues. 

• There will be bars selling alcohol to the public during licensed hours. Due to the nature of the Book Festival there have been no incidents related to this. 

• There will be drinks, snacks and lunches on sale in our café every day.  

• There are drinking water taps available in the Gardens for refilling water bottles. These taps are not to be misused and children should be supervised whilst using them. 

• Pupils are welcome to bring their own packed lunches to eat either on our grassy areas or covered seating. 

• There is First Aid available for all customers on site. 

• There are toilets available for all customers on site including a Changing Places accessible toilet. 

• We are committed to environmental issues and have recycling bins around site for paper, glass, plastic, cans and food waste. Please encourage your group to make full use of these facilities, and ask a member of staff if any assistance is required. 

• Fire exits are clearly marked with signage and emergency lighting.  

• Our staff have been fully trained in fire procedures and have access to relevant equipment throughout the site. In the event of emergency, please contact the nearest member of staff and follow their instructions. 

• In the event of a fire or evacuation, our Front of House team will escort you from the venue to a place of safety. 

Our events: 

• When queuing for events, please do not block the entrances or exits. Our staff may ask you to move your group to ensure the walkways are kept clear for other customers to use. 

• Please keep any noise disruption from your group to a minimum whilst queuing and going in or out of events. 

• Our Front of House staff will direct your group to their seats. 

• Audience participation is welcome during an event at the direction of the author. 

• Q&A with the author is a usual part of the majority of our events.  

• Climbing on stage or around the venue is not permitted. 

• After the event is over, the author(s) will be available to sign books in our Signing Tent. 

• Late entry to events is only possible if there is a suitable break in the performance or accessible space in the venue without causing disruption. Please ensure you arrive in plenty of time to avoid any possible disruption to the authors on stage or the other school groups attending. 

COVID 19 Risk Management  

As restrictions are lifted, maintaining good habits which minimize transmission will be important, for both individuals and for business. This may continue under the headings of ‘hands, face, space, fresh air’ and may also include testing and track and trace.  

It is imperative therefore, that EIBF continues to integrate COVID-19 protocols into the daily operational strategies for the planning, build, live event and derig phases of the events in 2022. These protocols will take into account PHS, HSE, NHS and Scottish Government guidelines and advice at the time of planning and will update the document as guidelines are updated in the lead up to the event dates in July 2022.  

EIBF will ensure all staff, through the site safety induction, are reminded of personal safety measures with regard to COVID transmission. If a member of staff wishes to wear a face covering, this is perfectly acceptable. All of this information will be relayed to contractors and their staff, especially those dealing directly with the public. Any member of staff presenting with symptoms of COVID will be asked to take a lateral flow test and, if positive, will be asked to leave site. Any member of the public presenting with COVID symptoms will be isolated from other guests and seen by the medical team – testing may be offered or they may simply be asked to leave the event. If the symptoms are serious the medical team will decide what further immediate action is need and will seek advice from the local NHS if appropriate.  

In line with wider University of Edinburgh protocols and Scottish government guidance, EIBF will be installing additional ventilation in rooms that require larger transference of air than can be expected by opening windows or doors. This policy will be fully reviewed in mid-July 2022. 

Our full Event Management Plan including Risk Assessment is available on request. Please contact schools@edbookfest.co.uk. We are also happy to answer any questions.