Safety and Security is Paramount at SGGS
In our latest isolation blog, Linda Casement, SGGS Facilities Manager, shares the story behind some of the latest security installations making our school more secure than ever.
Convenience and Security
Keeping students and staff safe as they arrive, study/teach and head home has always been of utmost importance to SGGS. As such, we always looking for ways to improve processes and the facilities available to help reach this goal. Historically, our school was a relatively open site, out of necessity for the benefit of the wider community. Closed gates would have caused significant disturbance and congestion on the narrow roads surrounding us, which would impact parents, students and those living in the village.
Our new electronic gates have been installed with this in mind, inset along the path leading up to school to allow vehicles as big as coaches to leave the road and wait for admittance. There is a buzzer and camera linked to reception for added security and to ensure a smooth access system for all vehicles without granting immediate access to the school grounds. Other gates have installed recently too, including ones that secure our PE field and the entrance at the rear of our site. A temporary car park area was initially devised and our onsite car park has now been re-landscaped to make gate access and through traffic as simple and easy as possible.
Vehicle access to members of staff is now granted via these electronic gates, reducing conflict with students arriving at the same time through the smaller entrance behind school. The gates are timed to open and allow school buses in and out, before 9am when the gates are locked until 3.30pm.
Investment and Planning
We first began looking at investing in electronic gates around 3 years ago. After a number of CIF (Condition Improvement Fund) bids, we were finally successful last year. CIF is an opportunity for eligible education institutions to apply for capital funding, the priority for the fund being to address significant conditional needs that will keep education provider buildings and sites in safe and good working order. Without achieving this funding, the cost of these new gates and security measures would have exceeded £80,000.
Before the gates could be installed, we required planning permission, which was unsurprising considering they are situated on the boundaries of our Grade II listed manor. Renovation work on the manor was also much needed, so this delayed the installation of our gates as it made more sense to allow construction vehicles clear access to complete this project first.
Worth the wait
Finally, in March it appeared were in a position to begin implementing our new electronic gate system, but then the coronavirus pandemic closed school until the end of the summer. As such, our new gates have only begun being used in earnest at the start of this new term and school year. I have worked at SGGS for many years and must admit, even I have been surprised the difference this added layer of security has made to the site feeling as secure as possible.
In addition to the new gates, new security lighting has been installed on the SGGS grounds and Yew hedges put up around the front of the manor building. This is in line with Grade II listing requirements but has the added benefit of granting us further privacy.
SGGS takes its role in ensuring student and staff safety very seriously and would like to reassure parents that all government guidelines are being followed since returning to school post the COVID-19 lockdown. Everyone at SGGS remains committed to the happiness, safety and security of our school community.