School’s out for summer (but we’re not)

public-sectorIt may be the summer holidays for Schools across the country but it’s certainly a busy time for our surveyors and engineers.  They are using the time to spec, install and maintain a variety of different school security systems.

Over the past few years Security has become a major part of a school’s management and governance responsibilities.  Senior management teams are under increasing pressure to ensure their school fully complies with the latest safeguarding and other staff and child protection obligations.

Smarter technology

The sites and structures of many school buildings have traditionally presented challenges when it comes to creating the right level of security protection.  The good news is that technological advances have meant intruder, access control, CCTV and fire detection systems are now more precise in pinpointing incidents across a site and issuing an alert.

Less cabling and lower costs

At the same time, wireless technology and security systems which utilise a school’s existing IP network are reducing the need for cabling and, as a result, the cost of systems is coming down. It also means that installation work can often be done discreetly during School hours, and not necessarily left till the holidays.

Greater systems integration for management efficiencies

Security technology is also integrating far more effectively with other school systems and processes.  Access control systems now integrate with electronic registration, cashless vending and school printer networks to establish permissions and provide logs and audit trails.  These systems no longer rely on identity passes, and often now feature bio-metric functionality such as fingerprinting to avoid problems occurring with lost cards.

Creating a positive learning environment

Security will always be a key concern of school management teams and rightly so.  They are responsible for ensuring both pupils, staff and equipment remain safe and secure in the School site. Security systems are helping them fulfil their obligations and create a positive learning environment.

For example, CCTV systems are supporting work within schools to tackle bullying and ensure the effective implementation of anti-bullying policies. Where schools lease out their premises out of hours, CCTV and access control systems are helping to reduce damage, theft and alert school managers to behaviour which is at odds with the school’s safeguarding policies.

If you would like to learn more about how we could help your school or college with its security arrangements, contact the team on tel 01483 791500.

Ofsted adopts greater scrutiny of school security during inspections

 

In recent news reports it has emerged that Ofsted is adopting greater scrutiny of school security during inspections.  In some respects schools have found weaknesses in their site security have led to their Ofsted rating being downgraded. See this report.

Inspecting safeguarding directives

Much of Ofsted’s security focus has stemmed from new directives on the safeguarding of pupils.  An Ofsted spokesperson commented:

“Ofsted does not set the standards that schools and other education providers have to meet on safeguarding. Our job is to inspect against the standards and statutory guidance set by the Department for Education.  If a school’s safeguarding arrangements do not meet these requirements, then at inspection we will judge them to be ineffective, this will lead to an overall inadequate judgement.”

Common weaknesses in school site security

Often school sites were constructed before security became such a key expectation of school management. We are often called in to survey and report on a school’s security weaknesses and these tend to stem from the following areas:

  • Gaps and weak-points in perimeter fencing.
  • Access gates not meeting current European standards.
  • Manual-locking doors (and so not linked to an access control system).
  • Open access to all areas (rather than controlled access permissions through passes and locks, particularly for key ‘at-risk’ rooms such as IT suites, science labs etc).
  • Security systems failing short of the current standards.
  • The wrong type of access control electronic locking used on fire exits and fire routes. We have seen numerous examples of this including some, which have the potential for the lock to jam under side pressure and magnetic locks remaining locked in certain fault conditions.
  • Multiple and separate fire and intruder detection systems across the site, rather than one central system which can quickly pinpoint an alert and initiate a lock-down or other response procedures.
  • A lack of CCTV to monitor and record incidents during the school day and also out of hours. Schools still have safeguarding responsibilities when it comes to how the site is used by community groups beyond the school day.

How Absolute Security create robust school security systems

Our Education specialists have extensive knowledge and experience of school security systems.  We invest time to survey the unique issues for each school’s premises in order to find a robust and practical solution which supports their safeguarding policies.

We work with both the private and state education sector and advise on, install and maintain a wide range of school security systems including:

  • CCTV systems – including HD CCTV and those utilising an IP network
  • Access control – including intercom systems, passes and with remote monitoring options
  • Electronic VMS (Visitor Management Systems) for the “signing in and out” of visitors, contractors etc as well as utilising the same system to monitor and generate reports of late arrivals and pupils leaving early
  • Security lighting
  • Automatic gates and barriers
  • Intruder alarm systems
  • Fire detection systems
  • Integrating security systems – CCTV, access control, intruder alarm and fire detection for better centralised management and control
  • Installing dedicated networks for all a school or college’s security needs (if the current IP network isn’t able to cope with the security system functionality)

 If you would value a free survey of your school’s security measures, please contact The Sales Team on tel 01483 791500 or email sales@absolutesecurity.co.uk