There are many factors to consider when it comes to school security. First, of course, the safety of staff, students, and visitors must be paramount, and every educational establishment will have different specific needs depending on size, location, and more. There is also a need to consider what level of security is appropriate; too little, and you put your school at risk but go too far, and you may end up looking more like a prison. As such, perimeter security should be among your top priorities when deciding which solutions are right for you.
You can find several free risk assessment templates online, such as this guide from the HSE.
There are three main points to consider:
- Likelihood of occurrence (i.e. have there been past incidents?)
- Severity of harm
- Existing security measures
It would help if you also thought about your grounds and buildings, both individually and as a whole. Address any risks that meet the criteria and then carry out your risk assessment again to ensure that issues have been reduced to an acceptable level. Periodically reassess your findings.
Who can access the site?
Your school will likely be accessed every day by students, staff, parents, and visitors. Controlling entry and exit points can help you protect against unauthorised entry, as well as curb truancy. Ofsted does not provide any official guidance on what kind of perimeter security should be in place, but they do advise that:
“Inspectors should take into account the extent to which the school takes reasonable steps to ensure that pupils are safe on the school site, for example by monitoring visitors or volunteers or those using the premises during school time.” – Ofsted 2010 guidance for inspectors.
Perimeter fencing can be an attractive and affordable solution. Mesh fencing can provide security and visibility, while bespoke solutions can provide anti-climbing measures without ruining the aesthetic design. Even school logos and text can be included, personalised to your establishment.