The Friary School has improved security by installing gates at the front of school and by reducing front of school access to main reception only. Many parents will be well aware of this approach from their drop-offs / pick-ups at primary school and will understand that the safety of children is the most important aspect of school life.
Matt Allman, Headteacher, said: “One of my first acts as the new Headteacher – with the support of Governors – was to initiate an external Safeguarding Review and part of that process suggested making the front of the school even more secure. The school is a busy site with the sports centre, social services car parking, and school buses, so the easiest option of a gate across the front of the site was impossible.”
Instead, the school has installed gates either side of the front of school and locked a front of school door so that the site is secure all of the time that the students are with us. The only entrance is via main reception and this means that all visitors can be checked. Obviously, all exits are opened at the start and end of the day to allow ready access /exit and staff are on duty at those times to supervise too.
Naturally, the changes have been actioned after full liaison with Health & Safety / Fire Officers from the Local Authority and, as the changes do not affect any fire doors, there are no issues in terms of evacuation which is as usual to the main playground at the back of the school.
Matt Allman added: “Unfortunately, we have had to deal with some ill-informed social media posts which take our time away from improving learning and instead push us into dealing with unfounded worries. Even so, we take parental concerns seriously and have invited those parents into school to view the site changes. The safety of the children is our absolute priority and without hesitation we will always make any changes that help secure that further.”
“Any change brings comment and my favourite has been one of our brilliant Sixth Formers (who will remain nameless) saying to me that she would called me Mr Trump after building the gate at the side of the school. My reply was that yes I had, though I was now expecting her to pay for it.”