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News

TPS addresses BSEC conference on secure school environments

TPS Consult : 08 May, 2009  (Technical Article)
Conference participants provided with overview of building a secure environment for school premises for the prevention and detection of vandalism, theft and violence
TPS addresses BSEC conference on secure school environments
The issue of designing Security for Schools was addressed at the recent BSEC conference in Manchester, with architectural and security consulting experts TPS (part of Carillion plc) outlining approaches to the provision of a secure environment for all school users and for the buildings they use.

Ensuring that school premises are not rendered unusable by acts of arson, vandalism or blighted by thefts, and that pupils, staff, visitors and neighbours can enjoy a safe environment in and around a school is an important and perennial issue.

At a presentation directed at all those involved in the provision and operation of school buildings, including building commissioners, teachers, architects, security advisers, project managers and local authority personnel with responsibilities for delivering the BSF programme, TPS Director of Security and Explosion Effects, Mark Whyte, and Senior Architect, Bob Hodges addressed how to ensure that schools are secure for all their users, using well considered, holistic and economic security design.

"Violence within schools is always an emotive subject, as is vandalism, burglary and arson," said Mark Whyte. "With the considerable investment being made in the BSF programme the opportunity exists to get security right. To do this it is important for schools to meet standards set down in the 'Secured by Design' guidance programme."

"Security systems for new schools have to provide value for money and must justify the capital investment involved," Whyte continued. "Good security design is not simply about security hardware - it's about creating a safe and secure environment for staff and pupils and enhancing the learning environment. This requires a collaborative approach between headmasters, local authorities, the police, architectural liaison officers, architects and engineers."

Whyte's statement that early engagement of security consultants is essential was widely supported. "We found a consensus of agreement at BSEC that successful protection of educational environments and their users arises from early consideration of the particular security requirements and risks associated with a particular area or site, and the integration of appropriate security responses to these issues," Bob Hodges revealed.

"It is important for all parties to consider security issues at the outset of a school project in order that a coordinated and cost-planned approach can be developed to provide the correct level of integrated and appropriate security provision."

Hodges has over 15 years experience working on education environments. For a number of these years he has worked for clients in locations where school buildings are at risk of attempts at arson, vandalism or theft and where pupils and staff may be at risk from pupils, pupils from other schools or parents of pupils. "During this time, we've worked in liaison with Local Authority Security Advisors, the Police through the 'Secured by Design' initiatives and have provided educational environments for pupils of various ages and abilities, including those with Special Educational Needs including Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties. In such cases, security from the inside out becomes a further consideration as the risk of pupils absconding is often higher."

Mark Whyte concluded: "Safety in Education is paramount. We are calling for the best possible security measures for our schools and as a company working to that these measures provide value for money."

TPS is amongst the largest players in this market, currently working on a range of BSF schools projects across the UK in both security and architectural design capacities.
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