Schools are an integral part of a child’s life where they can learn, interact with other people, and grow as individuals.
To allow for a healthy and encouraging environment, it is extremely important to keep schools safe and secure so that the teachers can focus on teaching and students can focus solely on what matters the most: learning.
In today’s world with ever-increasing threats, school security has become an important issue and one that is imperative not just for students’ physical security but for teachers’ well-being and retention as well. It is a major concern for the school authorities and a legal obligation under the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Some of the challenges faced by schools include bullying, fights, break-ins, theft, robbery, assaults, classroom disorder, violent crime, use of weapons, knife crime, drug usage, and sexual abuse.
What can be done to prevent and minimise these risks? What steps can be taken to improve school safety and security?
The answer to these questions is simple: invest in a good school security system that not just prevents such threats from taking place but also helps in proactively identifying where they have occurred to minimise the threat of escalation.
Read on to find out the best security systems for schools and how they contribute to a safer and healthier learning environment for students of all ages:
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SECURITY SYSTEM FOR SCHOOLS?
Running a school is a huge responsibility and it is even more important to ensure that the students, teachers, and staff members feel safe on the school premises.
You also need to make sure that the parents are satisfied with the level of security that your school has adopted and are comfortable in sending their little ones under your care and supervision.
This is certainly not an easy task.
You need to implement the right security measures, train the teachers, students, staff members, and school administration on the best practices, and install state-of-the-art school security systems that include:
When choosing the best security system for your school, you must make sure that it is effective in preventing and reducing threats, and in offering a good level of control over who is on the premises and when, and what they are up to.
CCTV CAMERA SYSTEMS FOR SCHOOL SECURITY
CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) cameras are one of the most popular security systems used in a variety of applications including both residential and commercial properties such as schools.
Given their efficiency and convenience, they are becoming a fairly common sight with the numbers steadily increasing every year.
As mentioned above, schools have a responsibility of keeping their students and teachers safe on campus and they are answerable not just to the parents but also to the law that has strict policies in place to enforce school safety and security.
There are many benefits of using CCTV cameras in schools that include:
- The ability to monitor and control the movement of staff and students, and to detect any unwanted visitors on campus.
- Deterring crime and anti-social behaviour for the fear of getting recorded, identified, caught, and reprimanded.
- Being able to monitor several different areas of the school from a single, remote location.
- Reduction in security costs by not having to hire security guards and trained staff members to keep an eye on every inch of the property.
- 24/7 surveillance regardless of the time of day or night.
- Collecting evidence in the form of recorded CCTV footage that can be used in case of a security mishap.
While there are several benefits of CCTV surveillance in schools, there are a few drawbacks with the biggest one being that of privacy.
Ever since their widespread use as a security device, CCTV cameras have been met with uncertainty due to the very possible chances of the systems being used for ill-intent such as spying on individuals.
When installed in schools, CCTV cameras may make the teachers and students uncomfortable knowing that their every move is being monitored.
To avoid this feeling of mistrust and violation of privacy, CCTV operators need to make the use of surveillance cameras as transparent as possible and have a detailed discussion about their use with all the stakeholders including the teachers, students, and parents.
It is best to put up signs that say that the area is under CCTV surveillance so that all those within the campus, including visitors, know that they will be monitored via CCTV cameras.
All schools must follow the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)’s code of practice that states that you must have a legitimate reason for putting up CCTV cameras inside the school and take full responsibility for the recordings to ensure they stay safe.
Some of the best places to install CCTV cameras on school campus include all the entrances and exits so that you can keep a check on who is entering and leaving the premises and when, and also to make sure that only authorised individuals are allowed to enter.
Other strategic places include the school corridors, classrooms, car and bike parks, main offices, canteens, gymnasiums, laboratories, sports grounds and fields, school buses, and toilet entrances.
Depending on the area being monitored, you may choose between several CCTV cameras systems out of which the most popular ones include PTZ cameras, dome cameras, bullet cameras, wireless cameras, and HD CCTV cameras.
Some of the best features to look for when buying a CCTV camera for school security include motion sensors, a good resolution, ample storage, push notifications, night vision, and professional monitoring.
ACCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS FOR SCHOOL SECURITY
Access control systems are an essential part of a school’s security plan and a great way to maximise the safety of the students, teachers, staff members, and others within the school premises.
Managing and controlling access into the school can help minimise a lot of the threats mentioned above such as break-ins, theft, burglaries, vandalism, and other forms of crime.
Access control systems are keyless electronic door entry systems that are used to secure the perimeter of the school, along with certain areas inside it such as private offices, storage rooms, and server rooms from unauthorised access.
A good access control system goes a long way in curbing school-related crime and helps you create a safe space for everyone inside the school.
There are various types of access control systems using different types of authentication methods such as keypads, biometrics, and smart cards.
The best type of authentication method may be chosen depending on the area where the system is installed and the place being protected against intrusions.
Electronic keypads are one of the most common types of authentication methods used in access control systems where the users are given codes that they have to enter to gain access.
These are more suited for areas with fewer users such as private offices and restricted rooms inside the school. Considering the ongoing pandemic and the need to minimise contact, keypads may not be the ideal choice for schools.
Biometrics such as fingerprints and retina scans are another popular authentication method that uses a previously saved version of your unique credentials to verify your attempt to access the door and allow entry only after checking your permissions.
Smart cards are one of the best access control methods for schools in our opinion that work on doors using proximity readers that unlock them with just a swipe or a touch.
They can be used on the main entry points into the school and the cards may be distributed among all the students, teachers, and staff members inside the school with specific access permissions according to the areas inside the school they are allowed to access. Visitors may be handed a special visitor access card to be used during their visit.
Mobile access control systems are also a great option for schools where smartphones, tablets, wearable tech, and other electronic devices can be used to open electronically locked doors.
There are several benefits of using access control systems in schools, and the top ones include:
- Allowing you to monitor access into every single area of the school from a single remote location where you can receive alerts when a door is accessed.
- Locking a door or the entire school with a single button in case of an emergency.
- Allowing you to switch from traditional keys to electronically locked doors that offer much more in terms of control and security.
- Receiving detailed reports allowing you to collect all kinds of data related to the system such as who accessed the system and when. The system also logs all unsuccessful attempts as well.
- Providing you with valuable information to be used for investigative purposes in the event of a crime being committed inside the school.
- Integrating with other security systems such as CCTV cameras and alarm systems, which we will discuss next.
SECURITY ALARM SYSTEMS FOR SCHOOL SECURITY
As discussed above, schools are highly vulnerable and are seen as an easy target by criminals, especially if the right security measures are not adopted.
In addition to being vigilant about who enters the school premises within school hours, the administration needs to ensure that the campus remains safe out of hours too when it is usually deserted with no one around.
Empty school sites at night are likely to be common hangout spots for gangs, disgruntled teenagers, drug dealers, and vandals.
With the right usage of security alarms, you can secure the school against unauthorised access and trespassing, and be alerted of any forced entry on campus both during the day and night time.
Theft and damage to school property is another common occurrence that not just causes financial loss but also disrupts day-to-day activities.
From expensive computers in classrooms to projectors and other valuable equipment, schools are often broken into to steal items of value.
By installing intruder alarms around the perimeter of the school, you can help protect it against theft and vandalism by individuals gaining unauthorised access into the school building when it is empty.
Intruder alarms come in two main variants: monitored and unmonitored systems, where the former offers a higher level of alertness over the alarm triggers by setting off a loud siren, often accompanied with flashing lights, and informing the concerned individuals and law enforcement agencies whenever an intrusion is detected.
These alarm systems work using various types of sensors such as door and window sensors, vibration detectors, passive infrared (PIR) detectors, and several others to detect different types of intrusions. You may choose the best one according to your requirement and the type of detection you would like to be alerted for.
What’s great about these alarm systems is that they can be integrated with other security systems such as CCTV cameras and access control systems to provide a complete solution that covers all aspects of security.
FIRE ALARM SYSTEMS FOR SCHOOL SECURITY
The threat of fire, both during and after school hours, is a serious issue that must not be taken lightly by the school administration since the inability to prevent, detect, and control it on time can lead to not just property damage but also loss of precious life.
All schools require an early fire detection system that can pick up on the earliest signs of a fire and one that operates 24-hours a day.
A good fire alarm system is comprised of both manual pull stations as well as automatic sensors that sound an alarm when a fire is detected and can quickly alert the students, teachers, and all those present on the campus of the potential danger so that they can safely evacuate the premises.
There are two types of fire alarms to choose from – conventional and addressable systems – and the type most suitable for your school depends on the size of the building and the level of associated fire risk.
To choose the best ones for your requirement and to place them in all the important areas, you must conduct a thorough fire risk assessment and plan out a fire safety strategy that includes not just the installation of fire alarm systems but also laying out detailed evacuation plans.
You must appoint a fire warden or a fire safety officer in the school who will be responsible for ensuring that all the fire safety policies are met.
To ensure that the fire alarm system is 100% reliable and operational at all times, you must have it regularly tested and inspected by the appointed fire warden(s) on a weekly and monthly basis and also through a professional security company.
Regular fire alarm testing and maintenance are not just important for the safety and security of school property and the people inside the premises but are also a requirement under the law.
Routine fire alarm maintenance includes checking various components of the fire alarm system that include:
- Inspecting the control panels to see if the signals are being received and the visual display/status LEDs are still lit up,
- Checking the connected devices such as sensors and detectors for damage and obstructions,
- Testing all the manual call points and ensuring that the alarm can be heard from every corner of the building,
- Checking the connection between the school and the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) to avoid unwanted call outs or loss of communication,
- Checking the batteries to ensure that in the event of a power failure, the backup batteries will power the system.
CONTACT CALDER SECURITY
We are professionals working in the security industry for over 40 years and our vast experience enables us to understand the various needs and requirements of different types of properties including schools of all sizes.
We provide a comprehensive security solution that includes not just professional installation of security systems but also their monitoring, maintenance, and repair.
We are SSAIB approved installers and follow all the best practices in the industry. We do not compromise on quality and install only high-quality, state-of-the-art security equipment.
We offer various levels of monitoring via a 24-hour monitoring centre using Dualcom and BT Redcare signalling, which is the most secure alarm monitoring system and the largest supplier of intelligent alarm signalling services in the UK.
We understand the importance of having to regularly maintain security systems since the inability to do so might result in serious faults and consequent vulnerabilities.
We provide professional maintenance checks and reminders for when the checks are due to help you stay compliant with the law and work fast to restore your security systems to excellent condition.
Contact us here or call us on 0800 612 9799 to talk to our experts right away!