In recent years the number of incidents at schools involving not only the safety of pupils and staff, but also theft, vandalism etc., by walk-in thieves, has led to a reappraisal of the security measures employed. In fact, security is now an integral part of the OFSTED inspection process.
The majority of schools, both state and private, are now pro-active in ensuring the security of the premises, both when it is open and when closed. This will usually involve an Access Control system, fencing, automatic gates and barriers, together with CCTV systems.
Ansador Limited offers a complete security solution package for schools, from an initial survey by one of our experienced consultants, through to the installation and maintenance of the systems.
Proper planning is essential, and the initial consultation will involve in-depth discussions as to the security problems involved, following which a free quotation will be produced that will itemise the relevant equipment, and the reason for its use. Due regard will be paid to the recommendations contained in the OFSTED Guidelines and Secured by Design – Schools 2010.
As with any planning, a number of key factors must be considered, such as the security problem to be addressed, ease of use by both staff and pupils, etc., which will lead to a combination of physical and electronic measures producing a cost effective solution.
School Security Systems
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV)
Installing a quality CCTV system can have dramatic effects on reducing crime rates with the cameras themselves act as a deterrent. Also, using the correct lens, modern cameras are able to identify individuals, rather than just monitoring an area for activity.
When planning your CCTV system it is essential that a full site survey is carried out. This will include assessing potential camera locations, understanding the reason they are required, evaluating lighting levels after dark, designating the correct lens for each situation, and how the images are to be monitored and stored. This is known as an Operational Requirement and is recommended by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch.
As part of the planning schematic drawings will be produced in order to ensure all necessary criteria have been met effectively.
Ansador adhere to the recommendations of the “Secured by Design – Schools 2010” scheme which enables us to offer a clear and concise proposal for your school.
Our proposals will also take into account the requirements placed upon the school to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998
Consideration will also to be given to the number of cameras to carry out the task effectively, the ability of the system to accommodate expansion in the future if necessary, together with compliance with the OFSTED Guidelines.
Modern CCTV systems can be installed for considerably less than was the case 10 years ago thanks mainly to the economies of scale and the ever reducing cost of digital storage.
Please see CCTV FAQ’s here…
- Have you determined the number and placement of the cameras that are required, with priority being given to the most important areas?
- Have you established the ‘operational requirements’? If not has the supplier given you advice regarding how to set up ‘operational requirements’?
- Are you aware of what is required under the Data Protection Act 1998 and been compliant to these guidelines?
- Are there any private houses within view of these cameras and has the supplier advised you about privacy zones and how they can be incorporated into the system design?
- Have you considered how long you wish to keep the CCTV storage? Typically 30 days is a guideline.
- Have you considered potential expansion of the system?
- Have you considered who will be monitoring the system and where the screens will be visible from
This is probably the most cost effective area in terms of return on investment. Controlling access into the school or its buildings and classrooms, especially during the school day, is essential for the safety and security of all staff and pupils. Whilst CCTV and Alarm systems tend to focus on alerting the school that a breach of security has taken place, good access control prevents unauthorised people entering. The OFSTED guidelines will be useful in giving overall guidance here.
Compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 must to be considered along with standards relating to controlling access/egress at fire exists contained in British Standard BS.EN 1125 and BS.EN 179. .Ansador will ensure that advice on these standards is given before installing any system..
Control of access can be achieved by the following methods:-
Keys: However, these are easily copied therefore compromising security..
Coded numbers: Give very poor control and again are easily compromised. Like keys they give no audit trail of who went where and when.
Cards or Fobs: Probably give the best balance of security and cost. They are low cost, easily managed, give an audit trail and access arrangements are easily updated to suit changing security requirements.
Biometrics: These include finger print, hand print, Iris and Retina scanning. They are more expensive than cards or fobs, but are the most secure option as long as the establishment can accommodate the management of the system.
The two main criteria required by an access system are that it should i) control who has access to specific areas / buildings, and at what times, and ii) monitor and provide an audit trail of who went where and when.
Modern systems tend to fall into two distinct criteria here – on line and off line.
On Line card/fob systems require the card readers to be connected via cables or the clients own network, in order to achieve both control and monitoring.
The new Off Line systems offer considerable cost advantages over traditional systems, whilst still giving the same benefits, with the lack of cables, etc., resulting in savings of up to 60%.
Disabled Access: is now a clear requirement for all public buildings as compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 is mandatory. Although it is possible to go to huge cost and complexity in dealing with this, the guidance for schools revolves around ‘what is reasonable.’ Each person will have very different views on what is and is not reasonable. Installing an automatic operator on the main doors to the buildings is probably reasonable. Rebuilding an entire building frontage is probably not regarded as reasonable. Ansador will be pleased to provide guide prices for the application of automatic door and gate operators to suit most retrospective or brand new applications.
Where a school is very busy, with a high number of students, controlling access at main entry doors becomes difficult, in which case consideration may be given to the installation of turnstiles. These offer the advantage of more accurately monitoring access into the main buildings and establishing a roll call for fire activation, etc.
See Access Control FAQ’s here…
- Have you considered whether to use, keys, codes, cards, fobs or biometrics?
- Have you considered using the latest Mifare cards which are both at a low cost and allow for integration with a third party system?
- Have you considered which points of entry you need to control?
- Has the installer given proper advice in relation to the types of electric lock that can be used on different doors?
- Have the British Standards BS1125 and BS179 been considered in terms of their relevance to fire exit doors?
- Are you aware that it is possible to control fire exit doors as well as access doors?
- Have you considered putting photo identity onto the cards when they are issued to the students and all staff?
- Have you considered using the access card that students and staff hold to also be used in the Library, to allow students to log their text books out of the library, and potentially cashless vending
- Have you considered the implications of controlled access on main access doors and compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995?
Main vehicle access gates and car parking
Assuming there is suitable fencing around the campus, controlling access at the school main gate is probably the most important and easily achieved security measure. Checking on all those entering via this point will make the overall security within the school much easier to achieve.
Every school or college is different but installing automatic gates, and or barriers, at the main entrance, linked to an access system means everyone entering can be accounted for. . The gates or barriers can be set to open and close on command and also set to open and close at times to suit the school working day. The specifications we provide will comply to the latest British Standard 7036 covering the design and operation of the automatic gates or barriers.
The main gate should also be fitted with a suitable door intercom system which should comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
See Gate Automation FAQ’s here…
- Has the installer given advice in regards to compliance with BS7036?
- Would you want the gates to be open at the start and end of the day and be accessible to students and staff outside those hours with their standard access card?
- Has the installer given proper advice in regards to safety circuits that will inhibit the gate of barrier from operating if there is a physical obstruction in the way?
- Has proper consideration to the duty cycle that the gates are likely to endure?
- Has consideration been given to how the system will operate in the event of a power failure?
- Has consideration been given to how the fire brigade will gain access to the buildings in the event of a fire evacuation?
- Has consideration been given to a fire brigade override key?
Perimeter Fencing: The main vehicle and pedestrian approaches should ideally be overlooked by the school office / reception if at all possible. Separate secondary entrances around the perimeter for pedestrians are commonplace, but to increase security they should be opened only at peak arrival and departure times. Appropriately worded signs should be displayed indicating opening times and directing callers to the school office at all other times.
All fencing needs to be properly and professionally installed and conform to the relevant British Standards BS 1722 – 10 – 14
Visitors: A policy of how to greet and monitor visitors to the school should be established. Normal procedures would be to direct all visitors to the main reception and to escort them and log them in on either the access control system or a separate visitor management system.