Blake Fire and Security Systems

Access Control And Ofsted - How Security Could Impact Your Outstanding Rating

Date: 12 March 2019

Back in 2017, your Access Control system or other School Security could impact your Outstanding rating.

But in 2022, Ofsted's new guidance says they do NOT require schools to

take any specific steps with regard to site security. In particular, inspectors do not have a view about the need for perimeter fences or lockdown alarms.

However, in the DfE Guidance on Health & Safety: Responsibilities and duties for schools, it says

#8 School security and emergency preparation
All schools should have plans in place to enable them to manage and respond to incidents related to school security. DfE is consulting on guidance to help schools with school security procedures.

Schools should also have procedures for controlling access and barring individuals from premises. Schools can decide whether to include this within their school security plan or deal with the issue when it arises in another plan or procedure.

The DfE recommends guidance on helping schools with accessing and barring of individuals from premises.

Health and safety emergency procedures schools should consider include:

serious injury to a pupil or member of staff (for example, transport accident)
significant damage to school property (for example, fire)
criminal activity (for example, bomb threat)
severe weather (for example, flooding)
public health incidents (for example, flu pandemic)
the effects of a disaster in the local community

Fire & Security are still vital elements for keeping staff and pupils safe in your school - even if they no longer impact your Ofsted rating.

Scroll down and click the Get Your Quote button to speak to an expert on School Fire & Security...

This post is based on a previous Ofsted document which has been withdrawn

Ofsted have been with us for over 25 years but inspections are still a tense time for schools. Lesson plans and regular observations keep teaching and learning on track.

But there are other factors that contribute to a 'good rating'... and school security is one of them!

Ofsted say they don't inspect these security elements. But there is evidence in the Inspectors Guidance to show they will flag up issues...along with school security features that have contributed to an Outstanding report.


No security system will get you an outstanding rating on its own. But it will play a major part in
  • optimising the movement of pupils, staff and visitors and
  • safeguarding against outside threats
Both of which go towards the strong ethos of a school and the feeling of safety that underpins that!
An access control system gives you a level of safety that is impractical to achieve without one.
Our case study is a prime example... We solved the security issues at a large Essex junior school, and helped them to fulfil their duty of care.
Access control technology is booming and there are now systems to suit any setting. But still, some schools rely on reception staff to control the main entrance. Others have a keypad that opens with a code.
While these systems can be adequate, they aren't quite outstanding. Here's why.

Key Codes

Key pads allow entry to anybody with the access code. They do have issues that can cause problems though. For example:

  • Can you distribute the code so that it won't be intercepted by a third party?
  • Do you have a regular schedule for changing the code?
  • Who decides the code? Who has to re-program the keypad and inform those that need to know?
  • Can your staff remember codes that change regularly? Will they be tempted to write them down and breach security codes?
  • You also need to change the codes every time a staff member leaves or you suspect a breach has occurred

    So while key codes do offer some security, they're not the best answer.

Staffed Access Control

Having a system where a staff member has to be present to grant or deny entry is more secure. Each visitor is assessed in person as they arrive.

There are problems with this though:

  • At least one staff member must remain at the post at all times
  • Each visitor is an interruption to whatever task the reception staff are doing at the time
  • If there is nobody manning the entry system, visitors are left waiting outside
  • Frequent authorised users, like other staff members, take up a lot of time during the school day

In comparison to a key code, this system has greater control over access - yet still has flaws for day to day school life.

Better: Granular Access Control

Truly outstanding access control requires granular security over each and every door. To achieve this we can install systems where every member of staff has their own entry fob. These are convenient to carry and make security simple.
Each fob controls specific doors around your building. So, if you don't want your workaholic teachers coming in before 7.30am, you can set the system to prevent it.
With the right system, you can connect to your fire alarm so the doors can be unlocked if the alarm is triggered.
If your system is monitored, our NSI Gold Alarm Receiving Centre can also call the emergency services on your behalf.
To get an access control system like this, first have your school surveyed by an experienced and accredited security company. Choose carefully to ensure you get one that is right for you. NSI Gold, SSAIB and BAFE accreditations are vital for compliance.

Trust Blake's for the right results

We have years of experience working in schools, the top accreditations the industry has to offer and the knowledge to keep your school safe and legally compliant.

For further peace of mind, read how Blake Fire & Security Systems devised a security solution for Chalkwell Hall Junior School!
Get your FREE case study by clicking the image below.

Blake fire and security systems school case study

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This blog post is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. Call Blake's on 01702 447800 to speak to one of our professionals for specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content on our site.

Although we make reasonable efforts to update the information on our site, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content on our site is accurate, complete or up to date.

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