Ensuring the safety and security of students and staff is the primary responsibility of any educational institution. However, this doesn’t imply that the school environment should resemble a prison, with caretakers carrying cumbersome sets of keys that are difficult to manage. The functionality of doors and hardware plays a critical role in the overall operation, security and the feel of the premises.
Any specifiers involved in selecting access control and entry systems for schools should consider several important factors to ensure the safety and security of students, staff, and the overall premises. Here are key points to know:
- Compliance with Regulations: It is crucial to select access control systems that comply with relevant regulations and guidelines, such as the Department for Education’s (DfE) Security Advice for Schools. This ensures that the system meets the necessary safety standards and is suitable for educational environments.
- Tailored Security Solutions: every school has unique security requirements, and access control systems should be customised accordingly to suit factors such as the size of the school, the number of entrances, and specific access needs (eg staff-only areas, restricted zones). A comprehensive access control assessment can help determine the appropriate level of access control.
- Integration and Scalability: modern access control systems can integrate with other security components, such as CCTV cameras, intercom systems, and alarms to allow for a cohesive security infrastructure and streamlined management. The scalability of the system can accommodate future expansions or changes in security needs.
- Visitor Management: implementing a robust visitor management system is crucial for schools. This can include features such as pre-registration, ID verification, and temporary access passes for visitors. Integration with the access control system can help monitor and control visitor access throughout the premises.
- Multi-Layered Access Control: a multi-layered approach to access control could include features like proximity cards, biometric systems (eg fingerprint or facial recognition), PIN codes, or a combination of these methods. Multi-factor authentication enhances security and prevents unauthorised entry.
- Time-Based Access: schools often require different access levels based on specific time periods, such as regular school hours, after-school activities, or holidays. Access control systems that allow for flexible scheduling and time-based access permissions ensure that the right individuals have access at the appropriate times.
- Emergency Egress: Safety is paramount in schools, and it is crucial to have effective emergency egress systems. Access control systems should incorporate features like panic buttons, emergency release mechanisms, and clear exit routes to ensure quick and safe evacuation during emergencies.
- User-Friendly Management: The access control system should be easy to manage and administer. Intuitive software interfaces, user-friendly dashboards, and remote access capabilities facilitate efficient system monitoring, configuration, and user administration.
- Training and Support: Ensure that the chosen access control system provider offers comprehensive training and ongoing technical support. This ensures that school staff can effectively operate the system and promptly address any issues that may arise.
- Data Protection and GDPR Compliance: Protecting personal data is essential. Ensure that the access control system adheres to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines, particularly regarding the collection, storage, and usage of personal information.
At Em-B our team is experienced and trained to design, supply and install access control and security systems in schools. You can see some examples of schools and educational establishments that we have worked on here.
Our consultancy, design and installation services are professional and comprehensive, so contact our experts today and we can ensure access control is managed using the very best solutions available.