The safety of children should be at the top of everyone’s list. 

Like healthcare centers being the safe haven for communities, schools are the safe haven for children. They’re a place for learning, development, and growth, without having to worry about anything threatening occurring. 

But it’s not all about the children. The teachers and other staff members have a right to feel safe as well.

Why is a safe learning environment important?

A healthy learning environment gives children the ability to focus on learning. An environment that’s safe and secure allows for the encouragement of innovation, risk-taking, and common sense, just to name a few critical skills that are greatly needed in adult life to succeed. Creating a safe learning environment is a top priority for any school, and while many schools have a mission that describes what their vision of a safe school is, the importance lies in implementing tools that put this vision into practice.  

And as our expectations of safety have grown so have our needs. Meaning the old school way of a paper login sheet doesn’t cut it anymore.

Reporting can be tedious, information can go missing, but most importantly – how can you truly monitor who is on the school grounds at any given time with a piece of paper? As technologies have advanced, so too have the many automated safety measures available, providing new solutions to old problems. 

Safety and security isn’t limited to the classroom

While it’s important that the classroom itself is safe, the safety of children and staff applies to all aspects – playgrounds, walkways, fields, bathrooms, etc. To enforce this, schools already take pretty serious measures. Railings for steep slopes, plenty of teachers watching children during breaks, emergency procedures which are practiced, the list goes on. 

But there’s one aspect that needs more attention.

The security of the school grounds. 

Back when I started school, there wasn’t much security. At least not of what I remember. Anyone could wander onto the grounds (in fact, I remember a couple of occasions when random people would wander in off the streets. Mainly as a short cut to another street).

There was no real management of who was on the grounds and what the nature of their visit was. I also remember riding BMX bikes on multiple school grounds during the weekend. Which was harmless but others would go there after hours to destroy property or cause other damage.

Then all of a sudden every school in the area got big, black fences around them. Which seemed to minimize the vandalism to the grounds but not who was on them as they were wide open during the day. Which I’m sure we don’t need to discuss why this is a huge security risk to the children and staff.

Black fence around a school

How far is too far?

Fencing around the school is fine but security shouldn’t turn the school grounds into a detention center. As mentioned, the environment should encourage innovation and nurture children as they learn. Not to intimidate them and make them feel fear while they’re at school. In saying this, there are some key things schools need to know at all time:

  • Who’s on the school grounds 
  • What’s the nature of their visit
  • Have been screen tested

Who’s on the school grounds

It’s up to management to know who’s on school grounds at all times. It’s very easy for people to wander the grounds without question if there’s no form of visitor management in place. This becomes extremely important when you consider the vulnerability of children mixed with their curious nature.

What’s the nature of their visit

The next thing schools need to know about visitors is the nature of their visits. 

Have they been screen tested

Perhaps the most important thing schools need to know is whether the person checking in is cleared to be around children.

Police checks can take up to 48 hours to get a response. Which is too long for someone who’s making a delivery or visiting a staff member. Screen tests need to be done on the spot and in real-time to ensure that everything is done smoothly. 

How can schools take control? 

Implementing a high-quality visitor management system, like Sine, will take full control of all these issues and drastically improve the safety and security of everyone within the school grounds. 

City College background

Sine has put safety and security front of mind, which is constantly improved on. Here are some key features:

  • Verification checks – entry forms can be set to ask visitors for clearance forms and other needed documents. Check the feature out here.
  • Photo ID – at check-in you can require your visitors to capture a photo of themselves.
  • Arrival Alerts – if teachers or staff are expecting a visitor they can be notified of their arrival via mobile or integration notifications. 
  • Real-time know how – using the Sine dashboard, users can have real-time access to see who is on your site, when they arrived, and how long they have been present.

You can see the full list of solutions Sine offers to schools here

St Hildas School quote