Blake Fire and Security Systems

Does My School Security Alarm System Meet Ofsted Regulations?

Date: 21 February 2022

In 2017, Ofsted put an 'Outstanding' school into special measures because they didn't have adequate perimeter fencing.

So that begs the question, what elements of YOUR school security, such as your Alarm System, up to scratch? And what are the Ofsted implications, if any?

school children.jpg

Understanding Ofsted's requirements for school security

Back in 2017 when we originally wrote this post, Ofsted's Common Inspection Framework: Education Skills and Early Years: said

"Inspectors will always have regard for how well children and learners are helped and protected so that they are kept safe."

The new Education inspection framework still says that.

BUT in 2022, the follow up document called the School inspection handbook states under Safety and Security #28

We 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.
- use a digital platform to monitor pupils' internet use and we do not specifiy how these platforms should operate

HOWEVER just because Ofsted’s inspectors have stopped checking on this vital element of school security, it doesn't mean it's no longer relevant for the Responsible Person at a School

BECAUSE in the DfE Gov.uk 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

DfE provides emergency planning and response for education, childcare, and children’s social care settings.

So, what can the Responsible Person do?

To make sure you don't fall foul of your legal obligations, your school must 'Safeguard Children' both inside and outside the classroom.

And that includes keeping the bad guys out! Your security has to be up to scratch.

A rule of thumb test for School Security Alarm Systems

Follow this rule of thumb test to work out whether your Alarm System is up to scratch.

Your Alarm System should:

And..

  • NOT have been installed by a caretaker, electrical contractor or individual offering 'handyman' services
  • NOT be tampered with by an unaccredited individual
  • NOT be split up into multiple systems that cover different wings / blocks

If you cannot guarantee all of the above - you may have a problem.

We've already discussed the dangers of getting your commercial security installed by an electrical contractor... and the repercussions a school in Essex faced after hiring a fireman to install their Emergency Lighting.

The take home message from these stories is: unless your installer or maintenance provider is NSI or SSAIB accredited or equivalent, there is:

  • no governing body ensuring standards are met
  • no way to make sure your system adheres to the law

That puts the Responsible Person at risk of unlimited fines OR a prison sentence if the worst should happen. And your school could end up in special measures if Ofsted find out!

Even if you passed the Intruder Alarm rule of thumb test above, there may be other areas that could let you down during an inspection! After all, the case of the outstanding school referred to earlier only messed up on their perimeter fencing!

Blake's are here to help!

Read our school security guide to see whether you're in the clear or uncover areas you should be concerned about.

You're in safe hands, we're an NSI Gold and SSAIB accredited security company who work with over 200 schools in Essex. Blake Fire and Security Systems Getting School Security Right free eBook

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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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