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Every educational establishment has one. The cheeky young upstart who is never where they’re meant to be. Smoking behind the bike sheds when they should be in class. But enough about the teachers…
While we do like a joke at TSI we’re well aware that school security is no laughing matter.
Schools have a legal obligation to protect staff and pupils, to identify potential risks and minimise their impact – whether that’s making it difficult for unwanted guests to enter the school or assessing potentially unsafe premises or equipment. According to the National Education Union, your approach to health and safety should be reviewed at least once a year.
But a school should also be a relatively carefree environment, that is welcoming to staff pupils and the local community, not one that resembles a prison! In this blog, we look at the most efficient ways of protecting pupils, staff and the school premises as a whole, without compromising the learning environment.
Keeping pupils in and intruders out
In an ideal world, the biggest headache a head teacher will encounter is tracking down an errant pupil, who has decided to grant themselves an extra free period. But, as we have unfortunately seen from recent high profile cases, preventing intruders from entering the school grounds is a major concern.
Keeping tabs on who enters the site, whether you have residential or day students, is obviously essential. CCTV is a highly effective way of controlling this. Traditionally there is a view that CCTV is only useful in analysing a situation after it has occurred. However constant monitoring, whether that’s by staff onsite or a security provider operating remotely, means potential situations can be identified and dealt with immediately.
Any unusual activity, such as a lone person in the playground during lesson time, can be easily picked up by CCTV. Staff can then be alerted and the appropriate action taken, whether that’s returning a child to class or asking an uninvited guest to leave. The school can then decide whether other authorities need to be informed about the situation.
Who is where and when?
As well as monitoring who enters the school grounds and when it’s also good practice to know who is in which building or room at any given time. Entry systems, utilising access cards and fobs enable you to not only limit access to specific areas of the school but also help keep an electronic register.
Kate Scott, Business Development Manager for TSI, says: “You then know when a child has accessed certain buildings and left them at certain times, so it’s a good way of keeping a record of where they are. This can be a card on a lanyard or a tiny plastic fob which can be kept on a keyring. This type of system is not a huge expense, and involves minimum admin, but can have maximum effect in keeping both pupils and premises secure.”
Intruder alarms add another layer of protection, particularly during summer holidays when the school is likely to be empty. Again this can be monitored by school staff or your security provider.
Security can be invisible – when it needs to be
While some aspects of security should be visible, to act as a deterrent, you don’t want your school looking like a prison. It needs to be welcoming to parents, pupils, staff and the local community. Also, many elite schools are heritage buildings and have listed status, which means they can’t be changed.
However, this is something that a security company, with a wealth of experience working with schools, will take in its stride.
Kate says: “We have a great deal of experience in those types of buildings – we understand the challenges that are involved and how to work within the different rules and regulations. For example, we’ve got a property we’re currently working on where we’ve sprayed cameras to match the paintwork of the building so you can barely see it. We can take all these considerations on board and take the stress of managing such a project off the bursar’s shoulders.”
Working with you
TSI has a great deal of experience working with schools to create a bespoke security system that meets their individual requirements. We know exactly what a school might or might not need. We provide a range of security services from planning, to installation to monitoring. Annual maintenance visits are included to make sure the equipment is working and up to date – we will contact you when they are due.