Blake Fire and Security Systems

Safeguarding Children With Lockdown Systems for Essex & London Schools

Date: 28 March 2023

Lockdown systems can be used by Essex & London Schools as an additional security measure to safeguard your staff, students and visitors during an emergency. It can be really useful as part of the Emergency Plan that needs to drawn up by all educational and childcare settings.

In a recent television programme on Channel 4, David Baddiel experienced a lockdown system in a London school first hand!

He talks of his visit to his old Jewish primary school in North London. He was reading from one of his books to the children.

Suddenly they are interrupted by sirens.

The children and their teacher recognise that it is a security alert - not a fire alarm.

And David and the camera crew have to leave the room.

He explains that the children are now taking part in a 'security drill'.

The programme makers are not allowed to show what is happening behind the closed door. But we are told that these drills happen all the time. And the children will practise all the things they can do to protect themselves if the school were to be attacked by an intruder.

The programme serves as a poignant reminder of the part robust security measures and lockdown systems play in safeguarding children in schools and colleges.


There are two types of lockdown systems: partial and total.

Partial School Lockdown

A partial lockdown happens when there is an external threat outside the school premises.A chemical spill or a gas leak, for example. All external doors are locked, and students and staff are required to remain inside the building. Activities taking place outdoors are halted and everyone is brought inside.

A partial lockdown helps protect everyone from harm while still allowing some level of normalcy within the building.

Total School Lockdown

A total school lockdown alarm is initiated in response to something more severe: An imminent or active threat inside the school. Or in very close proximity. In this case, not only are external doors locked, but internal doors and windows are also secured.

The lockdown alert alarms go off. They sound different to a regular fire alarm. And students and staff are directed to either gather in designated safe spaces or hide from view, often under desks or in other concealed areas.

During a total lockdown, all activities cease, and the primary focus is on ensuring the safety and security of everyone within the school.

Both partial and total lockdowns are important components of a comprehensive emergency plan. This type of plan allows schools to react effectively and protect their people from various types of threats or emergencies


Intruders or unauthorised persons: Lockdown systems and robust security measures help prevent unauthorised individuals from entering the school premises. Thus protecting students and staff from potential harm caused by trespassers with malicious intentions.

Civil disturbances or nearby criminal activity: Lockdown systems provide protection if an incident, such as a protest, riot, or crime, occurs near the school. These measures ensure that students and staff are safe from potential harm or violence spilling over onto the school grounds.

Terrorist threats: Lockdown procedures and security measures enable schools to respond quickly and efficiently. So they can safeguard students and staff by containing them within secure areas and limiting access for potential attackers.

Hazardous materials incidents: In cases of hazardous materials incidents (e.g., chemical spills, gas leaks), lockdown systems and security measures allow schools to protect students and staff from exposure to harmful substances or dangerous conditions.


While the concept of a school lockdown system may have originated in the United States, the need for tighter security crosses the pond.

Threats may vary, but the ability to get everyone inside and to a designated safe place is a vital step in safeguarding your pupils and staff.

The two tragic incidents back in 1996 at schools in Dunblane and Wolverhampton resulted in students and staff being harmed. While a lockdown system cannot guarantee complete prevention of such incidents, it would have provided additional layers of protection. And possibly mitigated some of the consequences.

And it can serve as an essential part of your emergency plan, minimising risk and protecting the school community during emergencies or threats.

In 2019 an Essex school issued this statement:

“At 7.55am… a man was seen with a knife close to Lincewood Primary School. As soon as staff became aware of the situation, emergency safeguarding procedures were acted upon. As there were a small number of pupils in the school at this time, attending a pre-school breakfast club, the school was immediately locked down, all the doors were closed and locked and children arriving for school were taken directly into the main building.

“This is a scenario for which staff have trained and staff present in the school knew exactly what action to take. Essex Police were called and dealt swiftly with the matter. No pupils or adults were harmed during this incident.”


To ensure the safety and security of our children, leaving no stone unturned is crucial. By installing a Lockdown System in your Essex or London school, you send a powerful message to parents and governing authorities that you've covered the "what if" scenarios. And taken every possible measure to ensure the well-being of your students, staff and visitors.

Parents are happy. Their children are in a secure environment, where their safety is the top priority. Allowing them to focus on supporting their child's education without the nagging worry of potential threats. And instil a sense of trust and confidence.

Governing authorities, too, can be confident that the school is proactive in addressing potential risks. By installing a Lockdown System, you demonstrate a commitment to a comprehensive emergency plan. And are maintaining a high standard of safety and security, which in turn reflects positively on the entire school community.

Sadly, in today’s world, it seems like the next serious safety concern is just around the corner! And a Lockdown System offers an essential layer of protection. It enhances the security of your school. And solidifies its reputation as a place where students can learn and grow without fear.


Depending on the type of system you have installed, it may be possible to integrate a Lockdown Alert Switch into your existing Fire Alarm. This integration allows for a quicker installation with less disruption to the school environment.

It is also possible to install a button which is linked to access control that locks all the doors in an emergency.

To determine if your system qualifies for a Lockdown Alert integration, you need a site survey. We’d be happy to arrange one.

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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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