Schools play an essential part in our lives. In one sense, they are where we spend our early years learning how to read and write and socialise with other people. But, in another sense, they are where we entrust the safety of our children. Schools are generally very safe places for children, but ongoing vigilance and risk management procedures are necessary to ensure this.
It is important to limit access to any school site to protect children and staff on a day-to-day basis. Here are just some of the reasons why:
Today, schools are filled with modern IT equipment such as computers and televisions. In addition, offices will often contain personal items belonging to staff, such as phones, cash, laptops, etc., which are very appealing to a thief.
2. Restrict unauthorised access
Whether it is strangers, trespassers or parents who are restricted access to their children for legal reasons, security fencing and tightened access measures can help keep unauthorised persons out of the school grounds.
3. Unwanted attention
Although this might not be an issue in most schools, some press or paparazzi might seek access to school grounds following a high-publicity news story or if children of celebrities attend the school to get school-run photographs.
4. Protect children from themselves
Upset and angry children have a habit of wanting to hide from problems. Therefore, if those problems manifest themselves at school, it is natural that they should want to run away from the school. However, again modern practices and risk management make this relatively rare, and those that do run away are usually found very quickly.
Steps to take
- Ensure that there is one entrance and exit into and out of the school through a reception area operated by more than one staff member. This guarantees control over who goes in and out of the site and ensures that visitors are vetted and signed in. Emergency exits must be alarmed and checked throughout the day.
- Ensure that there is adequate security fencing around the school site. The height of the school fencing should ideally be no less than nine feet and designed or treated so that it cannot be scaled from either side.
- Provide adequate CCTV provision, especially around all the entrances, exits, ground floor windows and main gates.