Securing the site boundary is an important consideration for any school or educational institution and consists of a combination of perimeter fencing and security barriers both automatic and manual. Today most schools, especially those on large sites use a variety of security measures to ensure the safety of staff and students.
Security barriers prevent the unauthorised access of vehicles into the premises and as a traffic management system. This is especially important where schools have parking lots and the inflow and outflow of cars needs to be managed during school drop-off and pick-up times.
Many schools and colleges have barriers that are kept open during the drop-off and pick up hours but stay shut during the day when school is in session. Entry and exit during the school day are controlled perhaps by a number plate recognition system or via entry phone to school reception.
Entry and exit into the school premises must be a thought-through and managed exercise. Some of the points to consider when planning school security are:
- Size of the site – How large is your school site?
- Safety statistics of area – Is your school located in a high crime area? Depending on a school’s surroundings, acoustic fencing might be necessary to reduce noise, whether from the school itself or from nearby roads or other buildings. Fence toppings can add extra security but can be considered intimidating. Schools in high-risk areas may need to look into Secured by Design or LPS 1175 SR1 fencing.
- School entry points – How many possible entry points are there? This is important in determining how many of these entry points are to be kept permanently closed and which ones need to be accessed daily. Ensure gates match the fence to guarantee consistency of perimeter security as well as a more pleasing appearance. Ideally, a school should have different entrance points for vehicles and pedestrians with one main entrance and exit for each ensuring safety for anyone entering the site.
- Perimeter fencing – How secure does this need to be?
- Security Budget – Most school budgets are limited. Your security must take this into consideration whilst offering you the best systems and safety measures possible within the budget.
- Aesthetics – Whilst the school site must be secure, it shouldn’t look like and feel like a prison. A balance must be struck between safety and security and how the barriers and fencing look. Different fencing options, whether chain link, vertical bar, welded mesh or timber, offer varying levels of security whilst also being affordable and attractive, with different options and limitations for ornamentation, colour and finishes.
- Regular Maintenance – Make sure your security company does regular maintenance checks… e.g. trees near fencing need to be checked regularly to make sure they don’t allow for trespassers to climb over and gate hardware, automation and functionality must be tested and maintained at consistent intervals to minimise long-term costs. Make sure these are included in your contract with your security company.
- Standards and Accreditations – Making sure fencing is RoSPA approved can help prevent limbs or clothing becoming trapped in fences, whilst also avoiding sharp fittings and fence components breaking and/or splintering. While a height between 1.2m and 1.6m is good for demarcation purposes and controlling movement within a site, perimeter fences should ideally be between 1.8m and 2.4m when specifying for schools, depending on local planning guidelines and the risk being managed. Automated gates should be CE marked and compliant with the EU Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC and installed by trained Gate Safe Aware or DHF Gate installers.
Protection of staff and students is one of the most important aspects of running a school or educational institution. Most schools across the country are stepping up their efforts at making sure the school premises and grounds are safe for their students and teachers to learn and teach without fear.
If you need to revisit your site boundary security, give us a call on 01702 476700 to find out how we can help. A member of our team will call you to discuss your needs, schedule a free site survey and share some of our recommendations on the best solutions for your site.