When a child goes to school, they should keep safe and secure, as should the teachers and staff who work there. A safe working environment is paramount to students learning and staff being able to effectively do their jobs, but it’s also a duty of all schools, colleges and educational establishments to keep their staff, students and visitors safe.
They need to do this in accordance with health and safety laws; namely the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, as well as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These acts have a lot of information in them and it can seem daunting for those responsible for health and safety to take in, but in essence, the main priority should be to prevent harm and know how to deal with it effectively if a situation does arise.
There’s a lot for educational facilities to consider, including the risks associated with criminal offences and natural disasters. To help cut through the jargon, we’ve put together a complete school safety and security guide based on government recommended school security best practices.
Step 1: Identify the Risks
Threats to security in schools are becoming more diverse and far-reaching, so the first step to knowing how to implement school security measures is knowing what the risks are across the board.
The most obvious threat comes in the form of physical and criminal offences, including but not limited to:
- Weapon attacks
- Terrorist attacks
- Violent intruders
In some sinister cases, children can be at physical risk of harm when they leave school, meaning schools need to be prepared for physical threats that could extend beyond the school gates.
Schools store data that can be valuable to criminals, and as such, they could be at risk from cyber-attacks.
It’s not just school inhabitants who are at risk or the target for security breaches, sometimes the property itself is the target for things like:
In some rare instances, adverse weather conditions could pose a threat to schools in the form of:
- Extreme winds
- Excessive snowfall
- Intense heat
These are all situations that schools need to be prepared for, but not every school will face the same risks so it’s important to identify risks based on reality. You can do this by undertaking a health and safety risk assessment that looks at what types of threats there are and how likely they are to happen.
Step 2: Minimise/Eliminate the Risk
Once you’ve identified the risks facing your education establishment, you can take steps to minimise the probability or eliminate them altogether. This will differ from school to school and threat to threat, but it’s important you take the time to get it right because when it comes to safety and security, preparedness is key.
We’ve put together some examples of how you can minimise risks based on the threats we identified above.
- Weapon attacks – weapon attacks in schools are on the rise, with more than 1,000 weapons confiscated in schools in England and Wales in 2018. Items like knives, knuckledusters, tasers and blades are amongst the most common items brought into schools – all of which can cause serious harm to students and staff in schools. One way to minimise this risk is to conduct bag searches upon entry to the premises.
- Terrorist attacks – terrorist attacks can be unpredictable, so working with the local police force and providing education to children about terrorism can be a way to minimise the risk of radicalisation and terrorist attacks, but also what to do if a terrorist attack should happen.
- Violent intruders – vetting everyone who comes into the school is essential for minimising the risk of violent intruders making their way into the building, but not all violence comes from visitors. Educating and punishing children accordingly when they engage in violent behaviour is imperative for establishing what your school will and will not tolerate, but doing it in a constructive way that acts as a deterrent is key.
When it comes to vetting guests and performing security checks, make sure you enlist the help of a professional security service like Taybar Security. We have more than two decades of experience in school security and our SIA approved and licensed officers are best placed to provide professional and thorough security checks, and to act on them swiftly and effectively if needed.
Investing in comprehensive cybersecurity is the best way to protect your school from cyber threats. Doing so will protect your school’s computer system from interference and will protect the data stored on it.
Vandalism, arson and theft are all property threats that educational establishments face, but all three can be minimised by the installation of adequate security. High-quality CCTV in and around entrances and exits, floodlights and a commercial-grade security alarm should all be placed in schools and colleges to deter intruders and antisocial behaviour. In areas where the risk is greater, manned security guards can be employed.
Our manned guards are trained to patrol educational establishments and perform a number of security checks and procedures. They are well versed on what to do should an incident arise, and as such offer unbeatable property security for schools and colleges.
Extreme weather isn’t very common in the UK, but it’s necessary to prepare for it nonetheless. Adverse weather conditions can cause considerable damage to a school and leave it vulnerable to other threats like theft, so ensuring the structural integrity of the building is vital for protecting those within it, as well as the equipment and property that’s also stored inside.
Step 3: Brief Everyone
Once you’ve established risks associated with school security and found ways to minimise or eliminate them, you need to make sure all members of staff and students are aware of the role they need to play to keep the school and everyone inside it safe. When everyone knows what to do, it will be easier to react should the worst happen.
How Taybar Security Can Help
Here at Taybar Security, we have been providing comprehensive security to schools, colleges and universities for more than 20 years. We’re experts at educational security and enlist only the best security personnel to work in schools. To find out more about how Taybar Security can work with your school to keep it, and the people inside, safe, please contact us or call us on 08453 454542.