Security in schools, colleges and educational establishments is an increasingly complex consideration. When everything works, it may not be an issue that demands much attention. But situations change, personnel change and your processes should be regularly reviewed. A well-planned security and access control system should form a seamless part of the operation of your site. It plays its part in helping meet your obligation to provide an environment that will ‘safeguard and promote children’s welfare’ in your premises .
This checklist is designed to help you make sure you have considered all the key eventualities. You will probably need to involve a number of different staff in conducting a review to ensure that every eventuality has been considered and no actions are taken that might have a knock-on effect elsewhere.
Our Top 10 tips for schools, colleges and other educational establishments
- Perimeter security
Check the site perimeter for security & access weaknesses and identify those areas where additional security or controls may be required. Fencing, automated gates and barriers are all tools available to manage a school’s security as well as effectively control traffic flow, parking and day to day security.
A well planned and up to date CCTV system should form the backbone of any school security solution. Modern CCTV cameras can be very effective in low light and have a wealth of video analytics such as licence plate recognition or virtual trip wires to further enhance security applications.
- Door entry system
Would your site benefit from a video door entry system? Being able to visually check the identity of any visitor attending the school prior to allowing them in, is a simple but extremely effective tool. These systems are invaluable to larger sites with a school and separate nursery building for example, having handsets within more than one location to ease visitor access.
- Access control
Consider the needs of different groups to access specific areas or rooms on site, for example, after school clubs. An integrated access control system can be set up to limit access by zone or room, ensuring that staff and visitors’ access is restricted to those areas required. It can also be used to create a secure lock down zone if required.
- Visitor management
Having a Visitor Management System in place ensures all visitors are accounted for and easily identified via visitor ID badging. It can also be integrated with your access control solution, to limit the access of visitors or contractors to specific locations on site.
- Physical identity policy
Do you require all staff, students and visitors to wear an ID card at all times? With visitors commonplace in many academic establishments, it is sometimes impossible for everyone to know who does or does not have permission to be on site. Requiring all staff and visitors to wear a physical access control pass, alongside a culture of staff challenging those without one will help keep your premises secure.
- Ofsted and safeguarding
The Ofsted School Inspection handbook says: “All schools should have a culture of safeguarding”. An example given of ineffective safeguarding is that “Children, pupils and students or particular groups of children, pupils and students do not feel safe in school/the setting.” Consider how a physical security solution in your school can help create a safe environment for learning. If there has been previous feedback from an Ofsted inspection on the subject, check your current systems remain consistent with the guidance given for your own circumstances.
- Safety and emergency egress routes
Are all your emergency egress routes safe and compliant with current legislation? We know that safety is critical and can liaise with your fire system provider to ensure any solutions installed on site comply with the very latest, and safest, industry standards.
- Lockdown policy
Every school should have a lockdown policy and it should periodically be tested by staff and pupils. Ensure your lockdown policy has been reviewed and check when it was last tested. Consider whether anything significant has changed since it was last tested.
- Service & maintenance
Possibly the most easily overlooked but most important aspect of any system. Check when your security systems were last serviced / maintained and ensure you have a plan in the event of any system failure. We believe strongly in building long term partnerships with our clients, to better understand their needs but also to make sure their investments are maintained and maximised.
The process of conducting a review of your security and access control arrangements is often best carried out in circumstances when the students are not on site. School holidays are an ideal time for testing and for carrying out any upgrades, repairs, servicing or maintenance work.
If you would like to discuss any aspect of the security or access control procedures utilized on your premises, or have a question about what might constitute best practice in your specific circumstances, please contact us.