Cris Francis, security consultant for Jacksons Fencing, offers a guide to ensuring pupils are safe when it comes to school security…
Whether renewing, refurbishing or building from new, the school fence, entrance gates and access control should be carefully considered for today and in anticipation of the future. Here are our top five areas to consider when evaluating the security of a school site:
- Access points
Over half of teachers say their school has more than one entrance (56%). Access points, however, should be limited in number, with one main point located in view of the reception or school office, to allow school staff to monitor pupil movement patterns and vehicle access.
- Type of risk
Criminal damage is a problem at 28% of schools, according to teachers. This is part of a range of risks, from theft and vandalism to arson and anti-social behaviour. Other risks can include heavy traffic or equipment and fencing appearing as an incidental climbing frame for young pupils.
For a school, the balance between deterring potential intruders whilst welcoming students and visitors is vital. Creative use of colour can soften a perimeter’s appearance. While metal railings may be suitable for some schools, nurseries and primary schools may benefit more from timber fencing, which still provides security but with a ‘friendlier’ appearance and greater privacy.
Your school site will probably experience heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic at peak times of day, such as immediately before and after school hours. Think about creating separate traffic routes for pedestrians and cars to ensure safety during these busy times and discuss how your site security should be managed in off-peak times.
- Local environment
It’s important to take a good look at the landscape around your site. For instance, are the foundations firm enough for fences, gates and barriers to sit effectively? A significant 36% of parents know of children leaving the school site by climbing over the perimeter. Are there any potential climbing aids, such as overhanging branches, parked vehicles or storage bins that need to be borne in mind?
Performing a thorough risk assessment is an essential part of putting together a robust and appropriate perimeter security strategy. Whatever you choose to improve school security should provide a realistic and appropriate level of physical security, commensurate with the risks it could face.