Best Practice for Gates in Schools

Gates and access control are an important part of any school, stopping unauthorised people from accessing the school and keeping pupils safe within the school grounds.

Every teaching tool, device, or item within a school requires a comprehensive strategy, thorough risk assessment, and well-defined processes to ensure safe usage and mitigate potential risks to both staff and pupils. A school gate is no exception to this rule.

Several crucial aspects must be considered during the installation and commissioning of a gate. For instance, if the gate is automated, it is imperative to ensure that appropriate safety devices are correctly attached. Additionally, it is essential to verify whether the installer or the company holds accreditation from organisations such as the Door and Hardware Federation (DHF) or Gate Safe, signifying adequate training and expertise in automated gate installation and safety protocols.

After the installation of the gate, the responsibility for safety does not cease. It is essential to establish protocols governing the gate's usage. These procedures will vary based on factors such as the school's level (primary or secondary) and its location. Nevertheless, a comprehensive checklist should encompass the following considerations:

Access control policies for school gates

Implement clear policies regarding who can operate the gate and under what circumstances. This includes staff, visitors, and delivery personnel. Not only does a gate policy increase safety but it also creates structure and helps to enforce arrival times, helping to keep the school schedule running on time. Generally, each group will have different capabilities, methods of opening the gate, and responsibilities around opening and closing the gate when finished. For example, unlike staff who may have their own key fobs or swipe cards, students may only be allowed access during specified times when the gate is open, outside of which they must use an intercom to connect with the school office. This controls the ability to freely open the gate at any time, reducing truancy, and in the event that an access control device is accidentally dropped or lost, prevents it getting into the wrong hands. Similarly, delivery drivers will often meet a closed gate and use the intercom to connect to the office for access.

Mesh security fencing and gates at school

School gate supervision protocols and open times

Determine appropriate levels of supervision for gate operation during school hours, arrival, and dismissal times. Designate responsible staff members for monitoring gate usage. This can be via cameras or physically in person, and this often depends on whether the gates are manual or automatic. If gates are set on an automatic timer, it is important to not simply trust and rely that they will open correctly. With electric gates, there may be an instance where it fails to open. Ensure that they are monitored at the time they are due to open such as just before the school day ends. This is done for two reasons, the first is to stop anyone unauthorised from accessing the site before the school day ends, putting children at risk. The second is to stop any potential crush at the gate. If all pupils leave class and get to a closed gate, pupils from the back of the queue will push and this could cause a crush. When the gate eventually opens, this could cause pupils to fall and be trampled on. Ensure there is plan of action for if an automated gate fails to open completely, and that it can be opened with a manual override. Afterwards, be sure to book the gate in immediately for a service with the manufacturer.

Emergency procedures and gate access

Establish protocols for gate operation during emergencies, such as fire drills or lockdown situations. Ensure that emergency services can access the premises quickly if needed. At the same time, ensure there is a procedure in place for if the emergency services need access through the main entrance during the times when children will be entering or exiting the site. If possible, divert children to a different gate on site.

Regular gate maintenance

Schedule routine inspections and maintenance checks for the gate and associated safety devices to promptly address any issues or malfunctions and prevent accidents. In addition, the appearance and condition of the school gate contribute to the overall impression of the institution. A well-kept gate reflects positively on the school's reputation, professionalism, and concern for safety.

Automated school mesh gates

Communication channels

Maintain effective communication channels between staff members, administration, and maintenance personnel regarding gate-related concerns, repairs, or updates to safety protocols. Ensure that all staff are aware of whose responsibility the issues are.

Gate accessibility considerations

Ensure that the gate and surrounding pathways remain accessible by including lighting, signage and wayfinding features, and different height opening mechanisms. Gates should be accessible for individuals with disabilities to use safely, adhering to relevant accessibility standards and regulations.

Additional security measures

Incorporate and add appropriate security measures, such as CCTV cameras or access control systems, to monitor gate activity and deter unauthorised entry. Ideally, the gate should match the style of fencing installed around the perimeter. The design of the gate should be tailored to the risks the school faces, for example privacy may be an issue in inner city schools, so a more solid style is recommended. We detail gate design and specification in our blog.

School fencing and gates

Community engagement and gate safety awareness

Streets in the vicinity of the school will have an influx of people or vehicles during school hours, so appropriate signage and notification of gate opening hours will help engage the community. Flashing lights are often installed on large automated gates, and can help indicate to passersby that the gate is moving. It is important for school students to understand the dangers of gates, so raising awareness through any means possible is important, such as engaging with the local community and informing parents and guardians via newsletters.

Documentation and review

Keep detailed records of gate maintenance, safety inspections, and any incidents or near-misses. There is a legal requirement for any gate on commercial properties to be maintained annually. Regularly review and update gate safety protocols or the above processes based on feedback and lessons learned.

Want to find out more?

Make an enquiry

Enquire Now
Our Products Have

25 Year Guarantees

Read about our guarantees
View our specification help

Specify Us

Specify Us

Related products

Jacksons Security has a range of products relating to this article, all complete with our 25 year service life guarantee. If you cannot find the item you are looking for, please do not hesitate to call our friendly sales team.

Related Content

Education Case Studies

Related Case Studies

We have completed over 5000 Education projects in the last 10 years, providing solutions for refurbished and new build primary and secondary schools, including fencing, access control, sports enclosures and acoustic barriers. Discover more through our portfolio of Education case studies.

Education Blogs

Related Content

We have an extensive library of Education blogs covering a wide selection of topics, whether you need a helpful guide for choosing the right fencing and gates, advice on how to create secure outdoor storage areas, or an understanding of the different risks involved in playground fencing.

Contact Us

Need Help?

From design and manufacturing to supply and installation, we can help you with your project. If you'd like to discuss anything in this article or need information or guidance, please feel free to contact us at any stage to discuss your requirements.