Blake Fire and Security Systems

School Security and the Spectre of Ofsted Special Measures - 3 things you NEED to Know

Date: 14 March 2018

This blog post is based on the Ofsted Common Inspection Framework. This has been replaced by the School Inspection handbook which states that Ofsted no longer require schools to take any specific steps with regard to site security.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 new 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

If you're a school based in Essex, London or the South East, scroll down this page and click the Get Your Quote button to speak to an expert on School Security & Fire.


Ofsted put a Cumbrian school into Special Measures for nothing more than unsatisfactory perimeter fencing - you can read more about that here.

With that in mind, it's worth taking another look at your school security...


However, before panic sets in, read on! It will stop you from having to trawl through the endless Ofsted related documents and explains:

  • why you need to take note of what happened to the Cumbrian School;
  • how Ofsted documentation refers to school security; and
  • what you can do about it...

But I didn't even realise Ofsted considered our school security?!

Your school's security systems play a part in helping Ofsted inspectors to see that your school is a safe environment for pupils. After all, that is one of their major concerns.

Although Ofsted is by no means a 'safety' or 'security' authority, their document Inspecting safeguarding in early years education and skills setting is peppered with health, safety and security references such as:

Section 5.4

Inspectors should look for evidence that … children and learners are safeguarded while on the premises

Section 3.2

Safeguarding ... relates to broader aspects of care and education, including:

  • children’s and learners’ health and safety
  • appropriate arrangements to ensure children’s and learners’ security..."
Section 4.18

"Signs of successful safeguarding arrangements....the physical environment for babies, children and learners is safe and secure and protects them from harm or the risk of harm".
(Correct as of December 2017)

Clearly, adequate school security and safety is important to Ofsted. Given the events in Cumbria and the chaos of special measures, it's a good idea to review your school's security. Here are some effective security measures you can put in place:

school security.jpg

Perimeter fencing

Perimeter fencing is your school's first line of defence. It's the first thing parents and visitors (including Ofsted) see and showcases your attitude towards school security.

The primary goal is to keep

  • the pupils safely within the school grounds; and
  • the bad guys out!

You may already have a fence around the school but, if it has a weak-spot or isn't sturdy enough, Ofsted may have a problem with it!

Whether you opt for a traditional fence with manually locking gates, or an automated gate system like the one we installed for Eastwood High School in Essex, your installation should be carried out by an accredited (DHF / Gate Safe) installer. If installed incorrectly, your gates could actually become extremely dangerous!

In one awful instance at a domestic property, a gate installer was charged with manslaughter after his faulty installation cost a woman her life...

Audio & video door entry

Your school's second line of defence is access control - in particular, a video and audio door entry system that allows:

  • reception staff to see and speak to visitors at the main gate before granting remote access;
  • key fob entry for authorised personnel; and
  • control over a flow of excitable children and their parents at the end of the school day

In our case study of Chalkwell Hall Junior School, we touched on how the door entry system we installed solved each one of their security concerns and helped to keep Ofsted happy!

CCTV system

A well maintained CCTV system helps to:

  • monitor the school grounds to prevent loiterers from hanging around in school hours;
  • keep an eye on the playground and other communal areas; and
  • offer an archive of footage in the case of a crime.

In addition to the above, it also shows Ofsted that you are fulfilling your duty to provide the most secure environment possible.

But what about your school?

If you're still unclear whether your school's current security is sufficient to keep everyone safe AND Ofsted happy, we've got an easy way for you to find out!

Read our guide to find out if you need help. Click the image below to get started.

You're in safe hands, we're an NSI Gold accredited security company trusted by over 200 schools in Essex.

Blake Fire and Security Systems Getting School Security Right free eBook

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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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