School security is a topic that remains at the top of every headteacher’s list. It not only concerns “duty of care” – it’s about how to keep your school secure for the children who attend, how to keep the school protected during the holidays and how to keep what’s inside safe.
School Security – The Main Concerns
A study done by the Department for Education outlined a number of key concerns expressed by headteachers, governors and education authorities. They included:
- Personal safety of pupils
- Personal safety of staff and visitors to the school
- Car Crime
It is sad to say that these concerns are very real for all schools, and that there is much to be done with regard to school security. Head teachers need to balance the level of school security with day to day practicalities, ensuring that the school runs efficiently whilst also provides the all important duty of care to its pupils and staff.
At SS Systems we have installed and maintained fire alarms, intruder systems, CCTV and access control systems in many schools and colleges throughout the UK so here is our guide to school security.
School Security – SS Systems Guide
Access control should be considered on two levels – one for the perimeter of the school grounds, the other to access the school itself.
The aim of an access control system is to restrict & monitor the movement of personnel so that only those authorised to come into school grounds gain access.
Each person is issued with a key fob or card which is scanned by the access control system as they move around the school. Each card can be programmed to dictate where the person can and can’t enter within the school.
The systems can come in the form of:
Stand Alone Access Control System – these are useful if you have just one or a few areas you wish to protect. A card reader is placed at the entrance. Each card reader has to be programmed individually which is why it’s used mainly for one or two areas. It can be useful for things like outside storage areas.
Networked Access Control Systems – these systems can cover anything from 1 to 10,000 entrances. It is controlled by a central hub which monitors and controls all access. The system can be linked to other systems such as fire alarm and CCTV, which is a great advantage to the user. For example, the access control system can be linked to the fire alarm, so that if the fire alarm sounds, the access control system can dictate which doors stay open and which stay closed. A networked access control system can also be linked to a payroll system to record employees logging in and out.
There have been many technological advances in this area over recent years with IP CCTV – a digital solution, rather than analogue CCTV. These modern systems can be linked with access control, fire alarms and security systems to provide a more rounded solution to keep both the school and its occupants safe.
It is worth considering upgrading an analogue system to an IP CCTV system as costs to do so have reduced significantly in recent years.
Security systems or intruder alarms are installed as both a deterrent and as an alert. Hardwired systems can be installed, or wirefree (aka wireless or radio) systems can be fitted where appropriate. It’s always good to review your security system regularly to ensure that any new builds or building renovations have not impacted on the integrity of the intruder alarm.
With the ever present threat of arson attacks, especially in holiday season, it’s essential that your fire alarm is fully maintained and provides sufficient protection across the whole school. SS Systems is “third party accredited” which means that we’re qualified and authorised to check fire alarms, even if they were not installed by us originally, so if you have any doubt about your fire alarm system, you can always arrange a free survey with us.