Safeguarding at a Primary School, Walsall

Picture the scene at a busy school…

A potentially dangerous trespasser gains entry into the school grounds and is quickly noticed by staff on reception. In addition to calling emergency services if appropriate, their first challenge is to inform all those on site that they need to enter a lockdown situation. The priority of any school is to ensure the safety and security of staff, pupils and visitors.

The vast majority of schools have a well-rehearsed process for this. However most of these take several minutes or more to action – in a worst case scenario, this may be too long.

Which is why a large primary school in Walsall decided to improve their lockdown procedures with an Audio Alert Safeguarding System, supplied, installed and supported by Elementary Technology.

It means if ‘Mr Red’ were to gain unauthorised access to the grounds, they no longer need to make 25 separate phone calls to classrooms, the library and elsewhere to announce the Lockdown Procedure.

It means those in corridors and in the playground will also know about it, after hearing a distinctive Lockdown announcement.

Not a generic fire bell. Not the same sound played for session change. Not a staff member with a claxon. Instead, a distinctive, verbal announcement throughout the whole school site. One which is actioned by pressing a single button.

This fully integrated audio system brings other features and benefits to the school as well. The calming effect that classical music has on people is well-documented, and through connection to an audio system, classical music or indeed any other music can be played throughout the school. Or, as is used at this school, into selected zones.

Outdoor audio is also an option, perfect for ‘Wake and Shake’ sessions in the morning, outdoor discos at lunchtime or for commentary for sports events.

The PA system which comes as part of our service is also proving useful. Some examples:

  • Locating a member of staff (they no longer need radios with them at all times)
  •  A warm welcome to special visitors such as parents or local celebrities
  • the headteacher can wish the school community a Happy Diwali
  • A wet play can be verbally announced (or a pre-recorded announcement by pupils can be an alternative)
  • Announcements at Christmas Fayre, fete, sports day and similar events

Supply and installation of this technology is only part of our service on such projects. As with any new technology in schools, education-specific guidance and training on its effective use is vital and it’s essential schools request this as part of the service.

As part of our support package we trained several members of their staff on its use from a technical perspective, and more importantly, supplied a Lockdown Process document for the school to follow. Starting from Mr Red is spotted and concluding when the lockdown situation comes to an end.

Busy schools have enough to do without being left to their own devices to compile a robust Lockdown Process plan.

Technology and Services Supplied

  • Advice and provision of options
  • Survey and specification
  • 1 x Audio Alert Amplifier System
  • 2 x PA system
  • 23 x ceiling speakers with a variety of tappings of 1 – 6w (adjusted to suit area)
  • 2 x external waterproof speakers
  • 500m of audio cable installed through ceiling throughout site
  • Project managed installation, with audio structured into three zones with independent control of volume and input select
  • Full, education-specific training
  • Provision of bespoke Lockdown Process Plan

The Business Manager at the school commented:

‘This new technology has transformed our safeguarding procedures and added a new dimension to our school community. It’s also reinforced our compliance with OFSTED and local authority safeguarding guidelines.

Elementary Technology have been superb, from their initial advice and guidance to their ongoing support. For a long list of reasons, we’d strongly recommend other schools integrate this into their site and their procedures’

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