Schools are places of learning. For staff and students alike, it is essential that they feel safe and secure at school, allowing them peace of mind to work and study effectively. With large numbers of people entering, moving around, and leaving the site each day, an access control system is vital to day-to-day operations. In addition, access control is a simple way to improve safety in schools.
Ofsted guidelines state that all schools should adopt best practices in providing a safer environment for pupils1. This includes securing the perimeter of a site, securing individual buildings, and securing restricted areas within buildings.
Access control is a method of limiting which people can gain entry to which areas at which times. Only authorised people with the correct card/PIN code/fingerprint/key are granted entry. While each school site is different and has its own specific requirements, the overall objectives and benefits of an access control system are mostly the same.
1. Ensure that only authorised individuals can access the premises
When parents send their children to school, they expect that the children will be safe during the day. Access control ensures that only authorised adults with approved credentials issued by the school can enter the site. If an unauthorised person tries to get in, the system stops them automatically.
Within the site, access controlled doors also prevent pupils from entering potentially dangerous areas, such as kitchens, server rooms, or storage areas.
2. Better mobility in high traffic zones
At certain points during the day, schools become huge high traffic zones. When everybody arrives and leaves at the beginning and end of the day, and at lesson changeover times, hundreds of people move around the site.
During these times, access control systems can be configured to allow free access. In order to get as many people where they need to be as quickly as possible, access restrictions can be temporarily lifted. This helps improve safety in schools by keeping everybody moving efficiently and preventing logjams or overcrowding.
3. Keep theft and vandalism to a minimum
School buildings house large quantities of expensive equipment and resources. Unfortunately, that means that they are regularly targets of theft and vandalism. The core function of an access control system is to keep doors resolutely locked when not in use.
Many online access control systems also incorporate schedules, which define access rules based on the time of day or day of the week. That means that at night, or at weekends, all doors remain solidly locked.
4. Lockdown in case of emergency
In an emergency, schools need to respond quickly. An access control system like ATRIUM includes a lockdown function. When activated by a system administrator, all doors are instantly locked, and will not be unlocked again until the lockdown ends.
This prevents an active threat from progressing through the site and allows staff and emergency services to respond quickly.
5. Better reporting for investigating incidents
In the event of a security breach or other incident, an access control system contributes to an effective investigation. The system keeps track of who accessed which doors, and when. By analysing this information, the school’s security officers can gain a fuller picture of the incident. This allows them to narrow down enquiries and respond accordingly.
In schools and colleges, an effective access control system is crucial, for these reasons and many more besides. Making the right choice is therefore essential. CDVI’s solutions have been installed in schools throughout the UK. From fingerprint readers to control after-hours access to card-swiping systems for teachers, our solutions make schools safer.