Is security in schools about technology or common sense?

Should we turn our schools into fortresses?

Security within schools has always an emotive issue, and given the recent events in Leeds, it’s been thrust centre-stage again.

There has been a tide of articles in the press recently questioning what security processes can be put into place to keep our schools safe. Installing metal detectors and security technology such as locked gates, personal alarm buttons and access control systems are all being discussed, but do we really want our schools to turn into fortresses?

One of the hot topics is naturally concerned with visitors, and how to make sure you don’t receive any unwanted ones.

Do you rely on technology to control visitors, or common sense?

The answer will probably be related to the number of pupils, layout of the school and the funding available. Small primary schools are unlikely to have the budget – or need – for extensive CCTV systems or biometrics access control technology. Others will benefit from having areas within the school that can only be accessed by staff with the right cards, or doors that automatically lock for certain parts of the day.

But what about those who simply don’t have the funds?

A lot of security comes down to common sense

A lot of ways to prevent unauthorised visitors comes down to common sense, which won‘t impact on an already stretched school budget. For example:

– Ensure only one main entrance is in use during school hours

– Keep it locked from the outside, so visitors have to call or ring for entry

– Have the entrance ‘manned’ by a receptionist or secretary at all times

– Make sure all playgrounds can only be accessed from within the school

– All visitors – even parents who are known to the school – should use this main entrance and report to the receptionist/secretary

Have a clear procedure for dealing with visitors

The easiest way to deal with visitors is to issue school visitor passes or contractor passes to all individuals, regardless of the purpose of their visit or how well known they are to the staff.

It’s important to adopt a one rule for all stance – if you break the rules for one visitor, your staff will lose faith in the procedure.

School visitor passes usually come as part of a ‘system’ that allows you to record visit date, name, host, company and vehicle information. All these details are held on a discreet bottom sheet, whilst pre-numbered passes are handed to the individuals. This creates a future reference sheet and a current fire register, which meets your health and safety obligations.

Some processes to follow:

– Ensure ALL visitors wear a badge clearly identifying them as such

– Make sure the badge is visible at all times

– Give all visitors information about fire evacuation procedures, child protection procedures and any other relevant health & safety information

– Allocate a person who will be responsible for them during their visit

– Ensure that visitors can’t wander around the school on their own – either bring the allocated person to reception to pick them or escort them to their contact

– If in any doubt, ask for a form of ID before handing out the visitor’s badge.

Make sure all staff are briefed on your policy

One of the reasons security processes fall-down is because not everyone is aware of the policy. Make sure all staff know that every visitor should be clearly identified as such, and give them permission to challenge anyone they don’t know within the school if they aren’t accompanied or wearing school visitors passes.

School visitor passes can be bought off the shelf, or customised to your own branding. You could choose to include specific school health and safety information for example.

Deter opportunists

Whilst these measures won’t be able to prevent tragedies like Ann McGuire’s death from happening again, they will put off those opportunists who look for open doors or unmanned reception desks. They are an important way of safeguarding our children during a normal day at school.

 

Proud to still provide printed ID cards

As more ID card suppliers in the UK switch to offering card printers only, The Card Network continues to offer printed ID cards in quantities as small as 10.

Supporting small enterprises and charities

Printed plastic ID card
Our high quality ID cards start in packs of 10

Many of the people who buy our ID card packs are charities, who need small numbers of ID cards for their collectors or fundraisers. Our packs of 25 or 50 cards are also popular with smaller companies and primary schools that want to badge their staff.

Neither has the money to invest in costly card printers. Whereas larger organisations with a regular need for ID cards may benefit from a plastic card printer, the return on investment simply isn’t there for the smaller player. We don’t believe you should be penalised for your size, which is why we continue to offer small runs of ID cards.

Use only what you need and ‘bank’ the rest for later

All our ID card packs also come with our ‘card bank’. This means we only print the number of cards you need now, then save the rest until you need them. So if you only need 17 ID cards at the moment, buy the 25 card pack and you can call on the remaining 8 ID cards throughout the year. You can ‘call off’ the remaining cards as many times as you like – the only charge will be a new posting fee.

10 ID cards, clips & card holders start from just £93.09. We can also add signature panels or magnetic stripe for extra security from as little as £1 extra. Our prices also include design & artworking – simply send us your details and we’ll do the rest.

The Card Network is committed to supporting small enterprise. We supply our high quality, low cost ID cards to schools, colleges, healthcare organisations, charities and companies all over the country.


 

School custom lanyards boost school spirit

School custom lanyards don’t just aid security in terms of identification, they can also help to unite pupils and students by promoting a sense of belonging.

Custom printed school lanyard
Increase security & foster a sense of belonging at the same time

If you’ve been tasked with re-stocking the shelves with school lanyards, don’t just default to the standard ones before you’ve considered the benefits of custom designed.

School custom lanyards aren’t as expensive as you might think and have a number of benefits. Along with school ID cards, they help with identification and security. They make students more visible for a start, and whereas it’s easy for a third party to source a standard ‘staff’ or ‘student’ lanyard to blend in, it’s extremely difficult for them to create their own branded one.

They’re also a great way to identify specific classes or groups within the school, for example junior students and senior students could have different colours.

Let’s not forget the parents here either: surveys show that parents particularly value the security and visibility benefits of school custom lanyards.

Promote a sense of school community

School custom lanyards also help to boost school spirit amongst teaching staff and pupils. Print your school’s logo or mascot and use your school colours to create a lanyard that can be worn with pride.

By creating a different lanyard for senior students or the sixth form, it’s also far more likely that they’ll be worn without complaint. Junior pupils will ‘aspire’ to having one as they move through the school and the sixth form will be happy to have a visible badge of their seniority.

School custom lanyards are also great for school clubs and organisations, where they give a sense of belonging to a select group.

500 school custom lanyards designed to your own specification start from just £252.00.

 

Safeguarding with school ID cards: Deyes High School

All schools have a responsibility to provide a secure and safe environment for pupils, staff and visitors. Pupils need to feel safe, parents need to be confident that procedures are in place to safeguard their children and staff need to feel that everything has been done to make the working environment a safe place to work.

But this doesn’t mean putting up expensive security barriers or other costly access systems – a lot can be achieved through common sense and by investing in some cost-effective paper or card solutions.

School ID cards help to improve security

Many primary and secondary schools are now looking into printing school ID cards for staff and pupils. As well as improving security by identifying the wearer and whether they have the right to access the building, school ID cards also promote a sense of community.

Deyes High School in Liverpool saw the benefits of school ID cards back in 2010. They contacted us in the early part of the year about the best way to print ID cards in-house, when they needed to.

We recommended a Pronto printer with the right software to help them easily and quickly print school ID cards throughout the year. As promoting the community of the school was also important to them, they also had some custom lanyards printed with their own branding and school colours – something that parents in particular always appreciate.

The following year, Deyes High School upgraded their entry-level plastic card printer to the Evolis Dualysis printer – capable of much more powerful performance, and continue to order consumables from us.

A different look for sixth form

Custom printed lanyards don’t just help to unite the school together; they also act as a visual identification. Deyes High School ordered some custom lanyards in 2011 specifically for their sixth form students – making it easy to identify pupils from a distance.

100 custom printed lanyards, printed to your own design start from just £130.20.

Search our range of school ID cards or plastic card printer packages.

Child ID cards: a new fixture at family festivals?

Family-friendly festivals are more popular than ever. From one-day music festivals like the Underage Festival in London to quirky weekend creativity spectaculars like the Just So Festival in Cheshire, our children are getting bitten by the festival bug early.

But as the festivals get bigger and more popular, the chances of parents becoming separated from their children increase.

Camping festival
Child ID cards help with lost children

Child ID cards are a great safety precaution for children and parents

If you’re organising a family friendly festival this year, what plans do you have in place to handle lost children? How will you reunite them with their parents quickly?

Providing children with their own festival ID card is a great way of capturing all necessary personal information into one place. Including a photograph makes the child feel important and grown up (so they’re more likely to wear it without complaint).

Include parents’ names and telephone numbers, plus any allergy, special needs or healthcare information on ID cards. All of this ensures that the child gets the best care and swift action if they are in an accident or become separated from their parents.

If you’re offering camping over the festival, the ID cards become even more useful. It’s easy to become separated in a busy campsite, particularly when there are lots of other children to play with.

Make sure they’re visible

The cards can be attached easily like a name badge, or worn around the neck on a lanyard for older children. In our experience, a lanyard makes children feel like they’re at a ‘real’ festival – another bonus.

But are they cost effective?

You can buy a reliable and powerful plastic card printer from just £585.38, which includes everything you need. Although it might seem like a large initial outlay, you’ll be able to use it again next year – or for other requirements.

Simply take a photograph on the day and print the ID cards onsite. Or to save time in the welcoming process, ask families to send the information to you in advance.

Just be aware of data protection laws when it comes to children – do not store any of the personal information, and ensure relevant staff have gone through CRB checks.

You could even make a small charge to parents for the service.

The ID cards also gives the children a great memento of the festival to take home with them. And for parents, an ID card that can be used again.

Looking for a family friendly festival near you this summer? The Independent lists the top six child-friendly festivals here.

 

 

 

The future of school ID cards?

A new integrated smart ID card solution has been developed by Multicard in Australia specifically for the education market.

Rather than allowing schools, colleges and other Education providers to just verify the identity of a student as most school ID cards do, it also tracks and reports attendance; acts as a library card; takes payment as a cashless vending card; controls access to school/campus services and even validates students’ exam papers.

The card uses contactless smart card technologies, making it easy for pupils and students to use, and for administrators to connect with their existing databases and produce new IDs.

Can we expect this to roll out across our schools and Universities?

School ID card
Turn your school ID card into a smartcard

You might be thinking Big Brother, especially in terms of being able to track a student’s whereabouts, but do the pros outweigh the cons?

Multicard clearly thinks so. They gathered the views of several Universities during development, to understand what they want from the system. They are encouraging institutions to upgrade from their regular school ID cards to this more personalised, powerful solution that enhances security and could make falsified exam papers a thing of the past.

The solution can be located anywhere on school or college premises through a mobile application, which means an ID check can be set up outside an exam room or lecture theatre for example.

Would it benefit your school?

We’re interested to know if you think this solution would benefit your school or college. Do you have school ID cards at the moment? Do you see the need? Is verifying the identity of students at exam time a key attraction?

If you’re interested in creating school ID cards which can also act as an access control card or cashless vending card, please give us a call.

For more information see www.multicard.com.au

School visitor policy: mainly common sense?

Security within schools is always an emotive issue, particularly given recent headline hitting events in the US.

Is your school at risk from unwanted visitors? Are your procedures adequate?

Most importantly, are staff fully briefed on your policy? Would they challenge visitors they didn’t know within the school, if they weren’t accompanied or wearing school visitor passes?

A lot of security comes down to common sense

A lot of ways to prevent unauthorised visitors comes down to common sense, which won‘t impact on an already stretched school budget:

  • Ÿ  Ensure only one main entrance is in use during school hours
  • Ÿ  Keep it locked from the outside, so visitors have to call or ring for entry
  • Ÿ  Have the entrance ‘manned’ by a receptionist or secretary
  • Ÿ  Make sure all playgrounds can only be accessed from within the school
  • Ÿ  All visitors – even parents who are known to the school – should use this main entrance and report to the receptionist/secretary.

Have a clear procedure for dealing with visitors

The easiest way to deal with visitors is to issue school visitors passes or contractor passes to all individuals, regardless of the purpose of their visit or how well known they are to the staff.

It’s important to adopt a one rule for all stance – if you break the rules for one visitor, your staff will lose faith in the procedure.

School visitor passes usually come as part of a ‘system’ that allows you to record visit date, name, host, company and vehicle information. All these details are held on a discreet bottom sheet, whilst pre-numbered passes are handed to the individuals. This creates a future reference sheet and a current fire register, which meets your health and safety obligations.

School visitor passes can be bought off the shelf, or customised to your own branding. You could choose to include specific school health and safety information for example.

Cost effective measure that won’t impact on your budget

There are, of course, many other ways to increase security within your school, from sophisticated access control systems to ID cards and biometric solutions. However not all schools want to introduce such measures, nor do they have the budget.

Our packs of school visitor passes in a system start from just £64.40 for 200 and include a writing board, wallet storage tower, pen set, wallets, clips and lanyards.

School ID cards that pay for your lunch

With half-term over and the evenings drawing in, many schools and colleges are reviewing their security systems and procedures. This often leads to the consideration of school ID cards, as more educational establishments see the benefits of safeguarding staff and pupils.

But did you know that an identity card can be much more than just photographic ID?

Introduce cashless payment – no need to carry snack money around

Paying for lunch
Have students swipe for their lunch instead

Turning your school ID cards into cashless payment cards could make problems with forgotten or stolen lunch money a thing of the past. Our school ID cards can incorporate smart card technology that allows for cashless vending, so pupils don’t need to carry cash around. Parents manage the cashless account online and can top-up whenever required. This means they can also monitor what their children are eating during the day, particularly helpful for those with food allergies. It also gives parents peace of mind that their money is being spent on school meals rather than anything else.

The benefits

As well as being more convenient for everyone, this has a number of benefits above and beyond enabling faster service at tills. Most notably they can help to reduce bullying. Free meals pupils are also given exactly the same card as everyone else, which prevents differentiation.

It’s easy to print these cards in-house yourself by investing in a plastic card printer. Then all you’ll need is a stock of the right cards. We stock some of the best performing and value for money plastic card printers on the market. We also have a large selection of blank smart cards from all manufacturers, equipped with the necessary technology.

So if you’re thinking about school ID cards, think about turning them into a smart card.

Have any questions or like more information? Simply call one of our friendly staff with your requirements and we’ll be happy to help and provide a quote.