Planning for security in the education system is of paramount importance. There are lots of components that need to come together to make up an extensive play for education security. These components can include emergency lockdown procedures, visitor badges, how you escort visitors around your premises etc. A crucial part of security for schools, colleges & universities is most certainly an Access Control System.
Access control systems are designed to secure the school perimeter before anyone even steps foot inside. An effective access control policy will ensure that your staff, students and visitors know exactly where to enter, where to go when they get inside and also how to get back out again.
Access control in schools is so important that, did you know, you can lose marks from Ofsted for having weak perimeter security. Ensuring that your security system is up to scratch is just as important as the education programme that you provide.
How can an access control system lead to a safer school?
An Access Control System doesn’t simply protect the perimeter of your education facility. Before we go any further it’s important to make sure that we understand exactly what is meant by “Access Control”.
With access control, you can limit the access to each of these sectors to exactly who you need to. Access control isn’t just about preventing violence. A lot of education facilities have expensive equipment and sensitive data that needs protecting from criminals too.
An access control system is only one component of a school and education security system and it can be paired with things like CCTV, lockdown systems, burglar alarms and more.
All these components come together to make a robust security system for your education facility. Let’s discuss how.
Define Clear Boundaries
First, picture your facility as a group of concentric circles (lot’s of circles, all with the same centre point). The outer ring represents the outer perimeter of your school and another circle may represent the school grounds, car park and recreation areas. As you move close to the center other rings may include interior sections of the facility, such as class rooms, server rooms, rooms where you may store assets etc.
Now that you’ve thought about these boundaries in your mind, getting them down on paper and displaying them visually will help you to define them and work through any potential weak spots. Once these areas are defined, it should be clear to anyone entering the facility that they have stepped into one area or another. This can be achieved with fencing, signage, landscaping or even doors.
Defining clear boundaries ensures that everyone with access to your facility will be aware that you know who is where.
Define Clear Entry Routes
Education facilities often have multiple entry points as students and staff may arrive from various locations depending on where they live. It’s important to ensure that the routes to these entry points are clear and well defined. For example, if a route is not defined clearly visitors could get confused and end up anywhere within your building or grounds. This puts your staff and students at risk.
Defining a clear entry route to your facility begins with good signage. Especially for visitors. Mark out your visitor spaces and ensure clear signage from the outer perimeter of your facility directing visitors to exactly where you want them to be. In most cases, this will be the reception area to sign in and meet the relevant persons.
Limit Your Access Points
As previously mentioned, many education facilities have multiple entrances. Limiting access points into the grounds and buildings will make it easier to monitor both visitors, potential intruders, staff and students.
One way to find potential problems with your access points is to do a simple perimeter walk. After this you may feel that some of your current access points are not easily monitored and thus replace or remove them.
Having a strategy in place for emergency exits and routes is also just as important. They can make your facility vulnerable if they are left unsecured. It’s a wise choice to use other security methods at these points too such as, CCTV installation or even Alarm Systems that can be triggered when a door opens.
Fob or Card Access Only
As part of your access control system you will be able to limit who has access to what parts of your facility and this will be done with either swipe cards or fobs.
Fobs and cards are assigned to individuals. If an individual such as a student or teacher leaves, you can revoke access to your facility immediately. Not only this, you can collate data on how the facility is being used and you will know who is in what section of the building at all times.
Limiting the access to certain places within your grounds can reduce the risk of items being stolen or vandalised. Alongside this, in today’s current UK lockdown climate, card or fob access can greatly reduce the need for physical contact with entry points, especially if they are automated. Therefore, further reducing the risk of spreading infections.
Integrating with lockdown systems
A lockdown system ties in perfectly with access control. Why? Simply, because if there is ever a breach in security your access control system will allow you to see where it is and at the click of a button you can secure and “lock down” your facility to ensure that everyone is kept safe.
There are 54 schools in Colchester, Essex and of this only 10 have an outstanding Ofsted report. It takes a lot of consideration and planning to ensure that you are protecting your staff, students and visitors and to meet the standards of Ofsted your school security should meet the needs of the current climate.
Here at Lenz Security we are experts in what we do. We can help with planning and provide security that is tailored to your needs and budget to ensure that everyone in your charge is kept safe.
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