It is important that schools provide a safe environment for students and staff alike. For your own educational institution, one key part of the equation would be making sure the onsite security measures and apparatus used by your staff are up to scratch.
Schools can be faced by many different threats. Some people might attempt to compromise security systems used by the school — and, if it is in a crime-ridden area, students and staff can be at risk of falling victim to assaults.
If you are a staff member of a school and responsible for keeping it secure, you should investigate various security strategies for this educational establishment to potentially pursue.
Your school’s security policy should be part of a wider plan aimed at ensuring students’ and staffers’ health, safety and wellbeing. You should decide how you will not only react to security incidents but also, when and where possible, reduce the likelihood of them arising in the first place.
Evaluate your school’s current security measures
What security measures does your school already have in place? You might have reduced the number of entrances as well as the number of specific people authorised to use them. The site might also have its own communication system reserved for use in emergencies.
Whatever form your school’s security does take, it would be wise for you to now assess it to see if there is any obvious room for improvement in it.
You could find it particularly useful to consider your legal obligations under two particular pieces of UK legislation: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR).
The UK Government website has guidance for how you could carefully shape your school’s security strategy with these UK laws in mind.
Consider a range of physical security procedures
You might recall when, during the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘the Swiss cheese model’ was cited to explain why multiple measures – rather than just getting vaccinated – would be necessary for slowing down the spread of the virus.
A similar principle can justify the use of numerous physical security methods at your school. Just like no single anti-COVID tactic provides an entirely watertight defence by itself, neither does any given physical security solution available for implementing in an educational environment.
So, while we would be able to – on your request – monitor your school remotely via CCTV, we urge you to also make use of our alarm response and key holding service. This would involve a duty alarm response security officer arriving on the scene at short notice if an alarm is triggered at the school.
Build partnerships with public safety officials
Through establishing strong ties with the police and local authorities, you can gather security-related information suitable for guiding your security policy’s development in the right direction. Public bodies and officials with which your school could forge fruitful partnerships include:
- Other schools and colleges based nearby
- The local divisional or district police commander
- A police partnership officer
- The local resilience forum
When you have ready access to all of the above sources, information can be shared more quickly and easily between you and them. Consequently, you will be able to time-effectively get expert input into your security plans as you draw them up or revise them.
It bears emphasis that, in the event of a security breach at the site, you will be in the best position to decide what course of action should be taken first. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has prepared a guide on when schools should call the police.
Analyse the state of your school’s cybersecurity
Of course, many schools needed to switch to remote learning as the pandemic took hold – and your particular institution might have preserved many digital education tools from that time. However, in any case, it’s no secret that schools have remained highly reliant on online operations.
It is a strong testament to this that, according to an audit recently undertaken by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the National Grid for Learning (LGfL), 78% of UK schools have been hit by at least one kind of cyber incident.
This situation underlines the importance of making sure your school’s cybersecurity is resilient. You can – for example – audit the school’s data security in search of vulnerabilities, while staff can be trained in good practice when it comes to cybersecurity awareness.
Don’t be reticent about the prospect of school security guarding
With shooting incidents in the United States having led to increasing acceptance of armed security officers in schools on that side of the Atlantic, you shouldn’t rule out the idea of following suit in your own school – even despite the UK differing very much from the US with regards to gun law.
After all, the UK has its own persistent crime problems, such as knife crime. You should also keep in mind that many current members of your staff could lack specialist expertise in how to handle dangerous individuals on the school grounds.
Fortunately, it is often possible for schools to hire security guards from local security companies. For example, our team here at All Time Security can provide your school with security guards whose mere presence there can make it feel safer and act as a visual deterrent to aspiring attackers.
Hire educational concierge staff
Right now, you might be wondering what the term ‘educational concierge staff’ actually means. It refers to workers essentially each capable of providing security, customer service and student support. Yes, all three are available from just one person.
These workers can interact with students, such as to familiarise them with the academic environment. After hiring educational concierge staff from All Time Security, your school can also rest assured that these workers will be able to assist in diffusing volatile situations should the need arise.
We invite you to email email@example.com so that you can learn more about educational concierge staff and, if you would like to utilise them, how you would be able to do so.