An access control system really does put control back in your hands. Unmanned entrances and exits, for pedestrians and road traffic, can be remotely controlled with a range of devices to let you decide who comes and who goes, how many people or vehicles can have access and when they can have access.
A school environment is susceptible to access from unknown people and with children needing to be kept safe and property protected, it’s simply not a risk worth taking. Historically, schools have been slow to adopt sophisticated access control strategies but times are changing. It’s likely you already have some form of access control on the main entrance leading into a school reception area. However, that might be the only security measure you’ve taken thus far.
In schools, having this type of policy means that staff, children and visitors are all familiar with how to enter and exit buildings safely. It also means that anyone not conforming to the policy cannot enter your school, and you can be quickly alerted to suspicious activity.
Have you conducted a risk assessment of your school grounds?
As a caretaker, facilities or building manager, you’re responsible for the school buildings and their security. Every point of entry poses individual risks and challenges and must be considered individually.
A professional risk assessor will carry out a thorough assessment of the school grounds. Starting with the perimeter and progressing into school buildings, checking and verifying your expectations governing each entry point.
At Silver Group, following the risk assessment, we send you a detailed report listing areas of vulnerability and suggestions for improvement. We can then work with you on designing a comprehensive system, installing and maintaining it.
Remember, we can also build integration into your access control strategy. By working in conjunction with other systems, total overall efficiency is maximised. When video surveillance (CCTV) and an intruder alarm is combined with access control, the result is impressive. We’re confident your school will feel safe and protected like never before!
How does access control work?
Examples of access control applications vary greatly. Some are fully connected with a central server controlling the entire building. Others have adopted a piecemeal approach, adding more technology as time goes by. The benefit of the former is that it’s more streamlined and efficient. The latter can be clunky when adding new people on to the system or dealing with lost ID cards. Access control measures can be put in place at each stage of entry, from large external access points including gates, barriers and turnstiles down to doorways leading into individual rooms. Building occupants, including staff and pupils (if old enough) can gain access using an identification device.
Identification devices have developed considerably over the years. Historically, one would have been issued with a printed badge or pass of some description. Identification would have been made visually by a security guard or member of the reception staff. Those days are long since gone.
Electronic and biometric capabilities including:
- Proximity cards, using radio frequency identification, both long and short-range
- Swipe cards or smart cards
- PIN pads
- Biometrics (fingerprint or retinal scans)
The expense of this technology is off-set by the increase in security and reduced risk of crime, in addition to the reduction in staff needed to oversee access control. The benefits are myriad. Lost cards can be deleted off the system; people can’t print fake passes for other people and accurate headcounts can be performed by quickly checking who’s swiped in and out.
If you manage large premises on a sprawling site, you may want the reassurance of being able to monitor activity from one central location. Hooking up your access control to TV monitors allows you to keep an eye, in real-time, on who is moving around the school. It also means that you can remotely lock down a room or larger area if you have safety concerns.
Integrate your access control with other systems
We talk a lot about integration at the Silver Group because we’ve seen it in action and feel strongly that it provides so many additional, powerful benefits. In isolation, security systems can only do so much. But with integration, the effects are amplified tenfold.
If you have CCTV, intercoms or intruder alarms installed, we can integrate all three with your access control system. This can be done wirelessly so that disruption to the school and its buildings is kept to a minimum. And with smart technology, you (and your staff) can keep an eye on everything from outside the building on a mobile or tablet.
Our access control systems in action
Tempted by what you’ve read? We hope so. We’re confident that if you choose to install access control you’ll be as thrilled with the results as our other customers have been. Marlborough Primary School in Harrow were able to go back to the drawing board with their school security during a major reconstruction of the old school buildings. Their contractors, Kier Construction, issued a tender for the security system and Silver Group were thrilled to be awarded the contract. As a three-form entry school, there were over 700 occupants to consider, the majority young children. That was the driving force behind the strategy we suggested, and which was eventually adopted.
Integration featured heavily with the external entrance guarded by audio intercom and key fob access for staff. A nearby exit-only gate was installed with magnetic locks which meant that unintended access (from children) was impossible. In addition, external high definition IP cameras, linked to a hard disk recorder and large LCD screen for monitoring were installed. This meant the school had a constant live feed (with back-up recordings) of activity outside the school entrance which could be monitored when necessary.
Take long-term care of your access control system with a maintenance contract
It’s easy to get carried away planning a state-of-the-art security system. Once it’s installed and doing the job it’s designed for, it’s tempting to forget about it until something goes wrong. We strongly advise taking a proactive approach – prevention is most definitely better than a cure! A regular maintenance schedule will detect faults before they grow too serious and expensive to correct. Our technicians are experienced, highly trained and will service your systems unobtrusively and always with the utmost professionalism.
Access control in a busy school environment makes sense. As we said earlier in this blog, times are changing and with the expensive equipment now housed by many schools, it’s just not possible to let people come and go freely. Parents can be reassured that you take their children’s welfare seriously and the school’s financial team will be happy that their investments are also being given due regard. It’s a win-win for everyone, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Our access control systems are compatible with a range of environments. When working with our customers, we typically start with a risk assessment before moving on to create an access control policy.