Locking solutions for evolving school security challenges

Schools have always had to adapt with the times, however, recent events have indicated a more urgent need for enhanced security.

This has led to a number of schools contacting Lloyd Worrall to update or enhance their current security systems, primarily locking hardware.

Whilst we’re working to fulfil these requirements, we’ve put together this blog post explaining why and how you should be paying greater attention to your school’s security.

Times are changing

In July 2017, a teachers union first highlighted the need for schools to have lockdown protocols to respond to danger occurring in or out of the school. This was followed by further guidance on the general security of schools, specifying that schools are required to have robust, suitable locks in and around the building.

The Government also released guidance on lockdown procedures, however, this guidance is intended to be adapted by each institution to fit their needs. Advised protocols included having a delegated member of staff in charge of managing the response to dangers, such as an incident in the local community, risk of intruder, a threat from inside the school or air, pollution, fire, and chemical incidents in the area. Schools are advised to build a lockdown plan that includes all students and staff being accounted for and secured, locking all windows and doors, and having a designated individual who is responsible for ensuring areas have been locked.

Whilst many parents and teachers dispute these protocols, believing them to be unnecessary and fear mongering, the need is clearly evident. The Department of Education’s recent survey revealed that only ⅖ students actually feel safe at school. The survey also found that teachers were experiencing increased violence and abuse, with only 16% saying they felt safe at school every day. Threats from outside the school have also become more of a risk, the Professional Head of Intelligence Assessment teams probability yardstick indicated the probability of a terror attack on a school is likely (55%-75% chance of occurring) with a higher likelihood of attacks being conducted by individual or small cells using close range weapons (source).

In the event of a lockdown

Imagine this situation: your school uses an outdated, standard locking system and you need to go into lockdown. Every door requires its own key so the designated staff member will need to match a large number of keys to their corresponding doors as they move around the building. This means the response time is longer, increasing the risk to staff and students in unlocked areas. Classrooms using thumbturn systems which cannot be overridden by a key pose an even bigger risk, an intruder could lock themselves into an area potentially putting nearby staff and students in danger. The large number of keys required for this system can ultimately backfire, the chance of loss or theft is increased and could result in a potential intruder making a duplicate. This situation is far from ideal, the procedure doesn’t flow smoothly and most importantly, it poses unnecessary risks to those in the school.

Now imagine the same situation but this time with specialised hardware that utilises a clutch function and master key system. This means having a single key which can be used for all locks under the ownership of a designated staff member. The response time is far quicker, meaning areas are secured sooner and the risk posed to the staff and students safety is minimised. The clutch function of the cylinders removes the possibility of misuse in the event of an intruder as the key will override the thumb turn operation, preventing an intruder from locking themselves in an area and allowing individuals to be freed if necessary. Having to guard a single key as opposed to a large number of them also means less chance of loss or theft, removing the possibility for duplicates to be made.

How Lloyd Worrall can help

The cylinder is the most important part of a lock as it receives the key and transfers the movement to lock or unlock the door. As part of our architectural ironmongery solutions, we offer a range of cylinders (including security patent protected) assembled in-house by specialists in locking and security.

The range includes cylinders tested and approved to BS EN 1303 (the European standard on cylinders for locks used for security and protection), our cylinders are highly durable with various options in fire resistance, corrosion and performance.

We understand that every application has different needs, which is why we offer a range of cylinders to suit different security requirements. For applications in schools, we find cylinders with clutch functions and master key systems most effective.

Clutch function

Clutch function goes a step further than the classroom function cylinder.

Using both a key and a thumbturn system, the key has priority and when used, disengages the thumbturn system, acting as a manual override. This is beneficial in situations as it ensures the locking of a door and in situations where an individual may try to prevent access to the door by gripping the thumbturn.

Master key systems

We highly recommend master keys for improving building management and key control. In this system, school staff are given keys that open specific doors relevant to their roles whilst the master key holder can open any doors across the site. This means in a lockdown scenario, as explained before, the designated staff member has greater control over the time taken to secure the building without the disruptions of having a large number of keys to allocate to specific doors. Giving different levels of access is also an effective way to raise security standards.

In schools, certain areas may contain sensitive information or equipment, such as offices, ICT suites and chemical stores. Therefore, a system that provides greater security in these areas is vital. Having fewer duplicates and assigned staff members within a master key system means the keys are less likely to be stolen and can be tracked to see if and where they were used in a security breach.

Your schools safety comes first

It’s important to invest in experienced ironmongers that can accurately advise on the best solutions for you. Depending on location, size and even age range, the level of security can be vastly different. Whilst there’s no foolproof way to absolutely protect against all incidents that a school could potentially face, choosing the right solutions from the right architectural ironmongers will provide peace of mind.

At Lloyd Worrall, we’ve got vast experience in providing ironmongery specifications with decades of experience combined with specialist knowledge of regulations and correct applications. This ensures we deliver safe, secure and accessible solutions to a range of school environments and spaces.

Back To News