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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-and-college-security/site-security-guidance
Our Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) explains how academies can join the RPA instead of taking out commercial insurance.
Additional site security guidance is as follows:
1. Points to consider
- Is your perimeter secure?
- Is your external environment secure?
- Are your buildings secure?
- Is your contents secure?
- Do you have a security lockdown procedure?
- Have you taken steps to advise older students about counter terrorism?
School security is ever changing and needs to be kept under constant review, with vulnerable areas identified and remedial actions implemented to address them.
No two schools are identical and the design of the buildings and the layout of the site will differ from school to school. However many of the issues revolving around security are generic.
The boundary is the first line of defence and should be protected with a secure fence or railings such as Weldmesh fencing to BS1722 or expanded metal or railings over 2.0m high.
Gates should be the same height as the fencing, fitted with anti-lift hinges, locking mechanisms that do not aid climbing and secured using an approved locking mechanism.
Planting close to the base of a fence can also be a deterrent but should not exceed 1.0m in height. Tree canopies should fall no lower than 2.0m from the ground to provide clear lines of sight.
1.2 Main site entrances
Main vehicle and pedestrian access points should ideally be overlooked by the school office/reception. Other secondary site access points should be kept locked unless required for deliveries or other specific needs.
Security lighting should be provided around the perimeter of school buildings with dusk to dawn lighting on all elevations where there is an entrance door. Lighting should be designed to eliminate potential hiding points.
1.4 Car parking areas
Should be well lit and have good natural surveillance.
1.5 Doors and windows
The main entrance door to the school should incorporate some degree of access control such as a remote electronic lock release device incorporating an intercom and visual verification.
Other entrance points should be kept locked to prevent them being opened from the outside but able to be unlocked from the inside in the event of an emergency.
There should be one entrance to the school building via the office/reception, with clear directional signs indicating its location to visitors. In turn this door should incorporate suitable access control with a remote electronic lock release, intercom and visual verification.
All windows and doors should be checked and assessed to ensure that the locking mechanisms are in working order and are fit for purpose.
All fire exit doors should be devoid of external door furniture.
All ground floor or other easily accessible windows above ground floor level should have suitable key operable locks fitted for additional security.
Glazing to doors and ground floor windows should include one pane of attack resistant laminated glass.
Steps should be taken to prevent access to the roof and/or courtyard areas
1.6 Alarm systems and CCTV
For more information on CCTV and alarm system companies and installers, go to the National Security Inspectorate’s website or the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board’s website.
A type ‘A’ monitored alarm is essential for school buildings, especially those that are remote from residential areas. Type ‘A’ alarms are monitored by a central monitoring station and have the facility for immediate response to any security breaches.
It is essential to have clear facial recognition in order to identify an offender and for subsequent evidential use.
The main areas for coverage of CCTV are entrances, IT suites, offices, locations with little natural surveillance and circulation areas, both inside and out.
Consider the use of an independent CCTV testing company (they do not sell or install systems) to review your current system or for advice on planned CCTV systems. Secured by Design provides useful further information.
Fittings should be vandal resistant and positioned out of reach.
Lighting should support the operation of CCTV, which should not be restricted by trees, shrubs or other landscaping features.
1.7 IT suite
If the school has an IT suite it should be located in the centre of the school to make it harder for an intruder to gain access.
Any IT suite, including the roof, doors, walls and windows should be thoroughly secured. It should also be covered by a monitored alarm and CCTV.
Consider fitting a security fogging device that links to the alarm that conforms to BS EN 50131-8:2019. This would activate should entry be gained. The room would fill with smoke making it difficult for an intruder to see.
All computers should be secured to the desk if they cannot be moved.
Ensure any cable locks or security cages used are recognised by the Loss Prevention Certification Board or meet Secured by Design standards.
Any tablets or laptops should be stored in a lockable cabinet that is bolted to the floor. This cabinet should be made of reinforced steel and designed to resist crowbars, cutting equipment and lock pickers.
Avoid advertising desirable IT equipment to thieves. Staff should refrain from mentioning IT assets on the school website and social networking sites. Also avoid disclosing significant IT purchases to the local media.
1.8 Property security
A secure store area should always be considered for the storage of those items most at risk, such as computer projectors, laptops, digital cameras, musical instruments and money. Items should be marked on the exterior and interior (where possible).
An inventory should be kept with photographs, serial numbers and identification marks. Details need to be readily available in the event of theft. There is free online registers available for property ownership details when property is recovered, that can be found by searching on the internet.
1.9 IT equipment
Computers and other equipment are vulnerable to theft. Careful siting of power trunking will ensure that they are kept away from windows.
Computers should be fitted into individual steel cases (to LPS 1214 standard) and projectors should be inside steel cages (ISO 9001-2000).
Laptops should never be left in classrooms unattended. Lock them away in a secure cabinet and at night they should be either taken off the premises or moved to a secure room.
Consider also displaying clear signage such as ‘laptops are removed from the building overnight’ as a deterrent.
1.10 Access control
Appropriately worded signs should be displayed indicating opening times and directing visitors to the school office/reception. In addition, appropriately worded warning signs regarding the presence of an alarm system, monitored CCTV, trespassing and the fact that all property of value on the school premises is property marked should be displayed.
Visitors to the school should not be allowed to wander about the school unaccompanied. Identification provided by local authorities, utilities or other organisations should not be accepted as an alternative to the school’s own system.
All staff are to wear ID badges and anyone not wearing a badge should be challenged.
Good access control is essential to the security of the school during the school day. Procedures should be in place to ensure that, no one is able to access
The school buildings unacknowledged and that once in the building systems are in place to protect or help pupils and staff should support become necessary.
All visitors, including school governors, should initially report to the school office/reception, where the purpose of their visit can be established prior to them signing in and being issued with a visitor’s badge, valid only on the day of issue.
1.11 School security lockdown
This information is generic and is based on government advice. The head teacher or delegated member of staff will be responsible for judging the level of response required.
Every school is different and you should seek advice from your DOCO for clarification of any specific concerns relating to your premises.
The requirement for a security lockdown may result from a reported incident in the local community which could pose a potential physical risk to pupils and staff.
You may have similar measures suitable for environmental issues such as air pollution, fire or a chemical incident which you will have agreed with the appropriate agency.
In the event of a risk from an intruder or if a security warning is received the school goes into a full lockdown mode as follows:
Close the school and activate the school’s Security Lockdown Plan. This should include the following steps:
- ensure that all students are brought into school quickly using an agreed signal - they should be sent/escorted to their designated classrooms and accounted for using the register
- fully secure the premises, locking all doors, and windows, this should be a designated responsibility for named individuals who will be on the premises during school hours - it should be practised regularly to ensure that all locks operate properly and you may need to take advice from the DOCO to ensure that all aspects are covered
- call 999 if not already in contact with the police
- visitors should be asked to stay, not leave, they should be taken to a designated location of shelter by a nominated member of staff and asked to remain quiet, turn phones to silent and stay out of sight
- once all students are accounted for in their classrooms, classroom doors should be locked and children asked to sit quietly away from sight
- if you think or if you are told there is danger of explosion, ensure that all blinds and curtains are closed
- turn off all lights
- turn mobile phones to silent and ask everyone to remain quiet
- you should ensure that your school has an agreed method of communication in this situation such as a whatsapp group or similar and wait for instructions
The school should remain in a state of lockdown until a senior member of staff or the emergency services confirm that it has been lifted.
The lockdown procedure should be practised at the start of each term and the head teacher should ensure that all staff are trained and aware of their roles should a lockdown be required.
1.12 Counter terrorism advice for students aged 11 to 16
Security experts from Counter Terrorism Policing have commissioned the creation of an animated core film designed to teach young people how to react if caught up in an a gun or knife terror attack. The film aimed at 11 to 16 year olds will also show them what to do if they see suspicious behaviour or a suspicious item.
The National Police Chief’s Council has advice on actions to be taken by students.