Fencing and gates are fundamental ingredients for schools and colleges to protect its pupils and staff against potential threats such as theft, arson and vandalism and unauthorised departure by students. Failure to provide a safe learning environment can harm a schools reputation among parents and staff and in some cases can lead to a school being placed into special measures by Ofsted.
Although Ofsted do not set the standard when it comes to safeguarding schools, they do hold responsibility for ‘inspecting and regulating to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people’. Therefore a school is required to demonstrate that its security meets the basic criteria for protecting the pupils, staff and property. Schools looking to safeguard school premises may be eligible for the conditions improvement fund (CIF) which provides government funding for additional security measures or remodelling of pedestrian or vehicular access points.
As a prime target for crime, it is imperative that schools have effective perimeter security as intruders often take the path of least resistance when attempting to gain entry to a site. A clearly defined barrier such as Security Rated Fencing, welded mesh or vertical bar fencing creates a secure boundary which limits trespassing and channels visitors through the appropriate entrances and can reduce the risks out of hours.
When safeguarding a school perimeter it is also important to consider any adjacent public footpaths and shared boundaries. In these situations the defensive planting of thorny bushes and hedges can be used in conjunction with fencing to prevent access and reduce visibility into school grounds.
The design, height and construction of any gates within a perimeter fencing system should match that of the adjoining fence so as not to compromise the overall security of the school. Security experts Secured by Design (SBD) recommends one entrance area at the perimeter of the site with vehicles and pedestrians segregated to ensure safety during busy hours.
For larger schools it may be necessary to have more than one point of access to avoid overcrowding and congestion, in these circumstances it is important for gates to be locked and monitored by CCTV or similar surveillance tools.
Where schools gates are automated it is essential to ensure they are properly assessed and maintained by trained professionals and comply with the current quality and safety regulations. Additionally, automated school gates should be partnered with access control tools such as keypads, key cards or locks controlled by staff in order to control who can come and go from the site at all times and reducing the risk of unauthorised access or intruders.
To find out more about how we can help your school stay secure, visit the school advice sections of our website.