Blake Fire and Security Systems

Could Shoddy Perimeter Fencing Plunge Your School Into Special Measures?

Date: 10 March 2022

In 2017, Kirkby Stephen Grammar School (KSGS) in Cumbria was put into 'special measures' because of their 'unsatisfactory' school perimeter fencing.

The shocking news introduced schools to a whole new world of potential pitfalls that could crop up during an Ofsted Inspection.

The good news for schools is that the 2022 Ofsted report - the School Inspection handbook - states that 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.

But that doesn't mean you can take your School's security off your list of priorities!

Because the DfE's Guidance on Health & Safety: Responsibilities and duties for schools, 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.

Take our rule-of-thumb test to work out whether your perimeter fencing is up to scratch.

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Is your school perimeter fencing up to scratch?

The Cumbrian school's perimeter fencing was found to be inadequate by Ofsted Inspectors because it was "too accessible to the public".

This could mean a couple of things:

  1. it had gaps or holes that would allow someone to enter the school grounds
  2. the fence was weak and could easily be broken down

Here's a rule of thumb test to ensure your perimeter fencing can keep the bad guys out.

Your school perimeter fencing should:

  • not have large gaps or holes that would allow children to escape or outside threats to enter the school grounds
  • be made with sturdy material
  • not be easy to climb

If your fencing passes that test, great, that's a good start... But it doesn't mean you're in the clear!

Are your school's security systems outdated?

Will your Alarm and CCTV System work when you need it most?

Will you need to install an Access Control System to ensure you keep unwanted visitors out?

There's no telling, which is why the Responsible Person should ensure all relevant systems are in place and existing equipment meets legislation.

What about budget? New security equipment could cost a fortune!

Keeping school children safe is, and always should be, the first concern. After all, your perimeter fencing is the first line of defence and the first thing a visitor sees before entering the school grounds. It says a lot about your school's attitude towards security and the safety of the children, staff and visitors.

Of course, your Alarm System is also essential for deterring burglars from breaking in and stealing valuable equipment like laptops and PCs. Whilst a CCTV system is vital to monitor any unsavoury visitors and your pupils' well-being within the common areas, as well as outside the school grounds.

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Rather than a burden, consider it an investment, protecting your school's occupants.

If you install security systems on the cheap, it could cost you extra outlay in the long run when your less expensive security arrangements turn out to be unsatisfactory. You may need to fork out a second time to replace faulty systems.

Sadly, an Essex school experienced this very frustration because they chose the cheap option over the right one! After hiring a fireman to install their Emergency Lighting, they had to pay twice the original quote to get a professional in to fix the botched job and bring it up to regulations!

Can you say without a doubt that your school security systems are in good working condition, meet all current British standards and are maintained by an accredited company?

If not, you need to...

Take our the 4 minute school security quiz!!!

Blake's have helped over 200 schools in Essex to upgrade their school security to meet legislation.

Read our guide to see if yours is up to scratch! Click the image below to get started.

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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