What You Should Know About School Security Fencing & Gates
Fencing is an important feature for both security and aesthetics in any educational environment. It blocks intruders or any unauthorised persons from accessing the site, keeps staff, students and visitors safe and is often one of the first things any prospective parent (or OFSTED inspector) sees when they arrive at the school.
Therefore, if you’re specifying security fencing for schools, you should be mindful of its core aims: safety and aesthetics.
The Role of Security Fencing In Schools
Arguably, the core aim of security fencing in any school environment is to keep students contained and safe during the school day. Perimeter fencing can eliminate the risk of learners accessing nearby roads and will also mitigate any opportunities for children to leave the school grounds unattended.
The purpose of fencing in schools is also to keep kids contained and safe during the school day. So, they can’t access any nearby roads or leave school unattended.
Fencing also serves as a means to manage pedestrian flow to certain areas. If you’ve attended a busy school on sports day, you’ll be aware of the useful role that fences play in directing visitors to the appropriate destination.
Lastly, security fencing can act as a demarcation solution used to ‘section off’ games areas to ensure minimal disruption between classes, and it can also be used to separate play areas from the on-site car park – great news if the year tens are playing football…
Put simply, high-quality security fencing can form the fabric of any school setting.
Know Your School Before Specifying Security Fencing
Carrying out a risk assessment before specifying security fencing for your school project will be crucial in obtaining a solution that’s right for your school.
A risk assessment will help to identify any weak spots, pedestrian flow, vehicular considerations or pedestrian access needs that should be addressed.
The Importance of Quality Fencing in Schools
As with any school investment, the budget will be a leading factor in the specification. However, a cheaper upfront cost doesn’t always mean a more cost-effective long-term solution.
School environments aren’t for the faint-hearted, and anyone who has worked with children will tell you that things don’t stay new for long…
Security fencing in schools will need to withstand the day-to-day demands that are part and parcel of a school setting. Children will be kicking footballs against them, leaning on them and – when a teacher’s back is turned – even climbing up them. It stands to reason that, over time, fencing may weaken, sag or become loose.
What may seem like a large investment may pay off exponentially in the long run if you’re constantly having to fork out for repairs.
School Fencing Provides Safety
Under British Standard BS: EN: 1176 playground equipment requirements, fencing and other products in playgrounds cannot have gaps exceeding 89mm. To further ensure it is free from neck entrapments, child-safe gates should also be added.
What Type Of Fencing Do You Need For Schools?
Schools often use a combination of different types of fencing for different areas, however, railings and mesh fencing are most common.
For the perimeter, schools tend to have either mesh fencing such as TwinGuard, VGuard or SecureGuard 358 or railings such as Forged Head, StyleGuard R or StyleGuard. Whether you choose mesh or railing often depends on the budget as railings are more expensive than mesh.
Schools with a strong heritage may instead want an ornate railing as a subtle nod to the school’s historic background. For a bespoke design, speak to a manufacturer – Barkers is often a bespoke design service with our DesignerRange.
As well as around the perimeter, fencing may also be used as a demarcation to manage pedestrians and to keep them away from car parks and roads. This is typically railings, such as PedestrianGuard, however, any railing can be used if you prefer to be in keeping with the environment.
If the school has a sports field or multi-use games area, you may want to consider ball court fencing such as TwinSports, or for heavy-duty areas, TwinSports Rebound. Ball court fencing is typically 3m high to contain the play.
Palisade fencing has become less common in schools over recent years because mesh is seen to be a less intimidating option. A mesh fence is considered more inviting and appealing, blending in more seamlessly into the surrounding area. This is largely due to its reduced steel content and ‘less aggressive’ top line.
Decorative & Powder Coating Options For Your School Security Fence
Decorative railings can be provided – if required – and will provide that added extra ‘personality’ to your school’s perimeter: something to consider for curious nursery-aged children who like to explore through their senses.
Additionally, for aesthetics, you can opt for your fence to be powder coated in a colour of your choice. In schools, it’s common to select a green perimeter fence in order to match the green grass of the surrounding area. From a psychological perspective, green also gives off a calming impression and makes us more connected with nature.
However, why not select a colour that matches the palette of the school uniform? This will aid identity and contribute to a school’s collective ethos.
Should School Fencing Be Security Rated?
In England, there are no specific standards that permit security rated fences for schools. However, in Wales, Designing Out Crime Officers are advising schools to use fencing which has achieved the. Secured by Design is the police crime prevention initiative. They certify tested products that will help to reduce crime.
Loss prevention standard (LPS) 1175 certified fencing is ideal for any site which wants peace of mind that the security provisions will perform if attacked.
Schools often utilise two classifications on the lower end of the matrix.
A1 (previously SR1) – withstands bodily force and basic tools for 1 minute.
B3 (previously SR2) – Prevents access to an attacker using tools of a higher mechanical advantage for 3 minutes
It’s difficult to say whether England and the rest of the UK will follow suit, but of course, a security rated fence that is SBD approved will provide maximum security to your premises.
In high-risk areas where there have been repeated incidences of climbing, vandalism and unauthorised access, it may be necessary to consider perimeter security that is SBD approved or LPS 1175 certified.
Security Gates For Schools
Schools need to have a handle on entry and exit from the site. They need to protect the pupils from unauthorised individuals entering the school, and from younger pupils leaving the grounds unattended. The school also needs to be secure when it is closed.
If you’ve opted for a third party accredited fence, it’s important to choose gates that uphold the same security levels.
Some schools opt for automated gates, which are ideal for convenience and ensuring only authorised people can enter and exit. However, particularly in a school where children are commonly playing, the gate must operate safely as they can be dangerous pieces of machinery.
Gates should comply with BS EN 12453:2001 meaning the following risks should be mitigated:
- Dragging/drawn in
As well as this, gates should have a minimum of 2x category 2 or above safety devices. These devices are often quite literally life and death, therefore the control panel should be set that if they break/fail the gate stops working. This ensures no harm can come to anyone using the gate.
Due to the importance of these devices, proven and tested components should be used.
Selecting the correct security provision for your school premises isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Discuss your requirements with our team for impartial advice on the best solution for your school.
To talk more about your school project, don’t hesitate to speak to an expert today.
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