Share

Welcome to our latest guide to school security. In this article, we cover a range of useful topics for those researching their school’s access control and door entry options . A key security challenge schools face is managing access for staff, pupils, and visitors.

Keeping track of who is in and out of the building can be critical to school security. Furthermore, unauthorised access is a challenge for schools. Unauthorised access presents its own set of security risks, which we will discuss later in this article.

If you are looking at your school’s door entry options, this article will give you the insight you need to make the right choice.

School access control case study: Door Entry System for a School.

Keen to learn more about access control in the school environment?

Keep reading this guide to find out more.

What is access control in schools?

In this section of our guide, we offer insight to our readers that are responsible for security, but new to the concept of access control.

Quite simply, any school looking to control entry to, from, and around its premises, requires some form of access control.

This applies to

  • Access via the school gate
  • Entry to internal areas of the school via reception or other entry points
  • Restricted access to staff rooms, or where cash is kept

An electronic access control system will provide data covering who is in or out of the building. This information is used for the use of fire lists, visitor data, and general health and safety in the event of a critical incident.

An overview of door entry systems in schools

In all honesty, a door entry system is the same as access control. Simply put, these systems provide general and restricted access to a site.

However, one area of distinct difference is gate automation. Gate automation falls purely under the category of access control.

In context, a school door entry system could:

  • Grant universal access to pupils and staff via the main entrances
  • Restrict access to areas where hazardous materials are kept (science labs)
  • Prohibit access to the staff room or anywhere that stores valuable IT equipment

The different types of access control and door entry systems for schools

In this section of the guide, we focus on the diverse range of door entry and access systems for schools.

Before we go into detail about why schools require access control and door security solutions, here is a brief overview of the several types of systems available.

To provide specific context, we mention where each system or solution is best deployed.

The different types are:

  • Key fob and car door entry systems: reception, the school gate, and internal access
  • Video and audio intercoms: reception, the school gate, and internal access
  • ANPR cameras: the school gate and external entry points
  • Keypad access: restricted areas and car parks

If we reflect on an earlier section of this article, it is clear there are a multitude of systems and solutions available to help schools manage universal and restricted access.

If you are in charge of school security and are currently looking into your options, find out more about the dedicated security systems we install at schools:

Why are access control and door entry systems needed in schools?

In this section of the guide, we elaborate on the earlier sections of this article.

We’ll a look now at why schools need an access control system, along with a more detailed summary of the settings where they are best deployed.

They are:

  • Managing access via the school gate
  • Providing access to visitors
  • Granting access to pupils and staff and tracking their whereabouts
  • Controlling access to staff rooms and other restricted areas

Managing access via the school gate

An ANPR or key fob / card / pad based system is used to grant and restrict access to staff car parks.

Furthermore, ANPR can be deployed to spot and track the number plates of suspicious vehicles.

Drug dealers, and sadly, sex offenders can target schools. An ANPR camera system can be set up to trigger an alert if a known number plate is spotted near the school entrance.

Lastly, facial recognition software can be used to fulfil the same objective. However, this is not a recommendation endorsed by Safeguard.

We understand there are some ethical arguments against this type of system and the aim of this guide is to offer as much insight as we can.

Providing access to visitors

Like any organisation, schools have visitors on a regular basis. Individuals coming in for meetings and suppliers popping in to discuss ongoing business are all examples of this.

To fulfil this requirement, a video intercom system would be a solid choice. Reception staff can easily grant access after visual identification is approved.

Granting access to pupils and staff and tracking their whereabouts

For security-conscious schools, a key fob entry system will help track who is in and out of the building.

This data can be used in the event of a critical incident such as fire. An automatically generated fire list can literally be a lifesaver.

For SEND schools this could be incredibly important in instances where young children may be prone to trying to escape.

Controlling access to staff rooms and other restricted areas

Restricted areas containing chemicals, cash and valuable IT equipment need a system that will control access.

A fob-based system would be the perfect solution.

The same applies to a staff room.

A simple fob access system would grant access to teachers and restrict access to visitors and pupils.

Looking to learn more about the security challenges schools face?

Read our article covering the various examples of security threats & incidents in schools.

The benefits and advantages of access control and door entry systems in schools

In this section of the guide, we summarise the key benefits and advantages of these systems.

They are:

  • Controlling, granting and restricting access
  • Managing the flow of pupils and visitors
  • Securing the site against unauthorised access
  • Preventing drug dealers and sex offenders from accessing the grounds
  • Protecting equipment and cash
  • Improving health and safety
  • Using technology to make attendance related data more efficient and accurate
  • Peace of mind for parents

As you can see the list of advantages are numerous.

These systems are incredibly cost effective, and the ROI is clear.

The cost / benefit ratio sits firmly in favour of investing in one of these door entry solutions or access control systems.

Looking to learn more about the benefits and advantages of access control in schools?

With so many advantages and benefits mentioned above, we have published a guide to the benefits & advantages of access control & door entry systems for schools.

At Safeguard Systems we work with a range of key manufacturers and technology partners.

In our experience, the following brands are the best choice for schools.

  • Paxton
  • Lenel
  • Hikvision
  • Videx

Schools work to tight budgets and need a cost-effective system. Where this consideration is key, our go-to brand is Paxton.

Have a read of our article covering the advantages of Paxton door entry systems.

Looking at cost-effective ways to improve school security?

If you are currently investigating and researching your options to enhance your internal safety measures, read our article covering six affordable ways to protect pupils, and staff, and improve school security.

Summary of our guide to access control and door entry systems in schools

We hope this guide has delivered value to you whilst you research your options.

There is a multitude of options for schools to improve security and manage access with these systems.

In addition to school CCTV systems, access control and door entry solutions will help meet a broad range of security requirements.