Is your school fence dangerous?

A secure, welcoming environment can go a long way to building parent and pupil trust.

On the other hand, fencing that’s been vandalised, looks in disrepair, or appears too easy to breach communicates a less positive message.. However, simply installing a secure fence isn’t enough. Any fence must be maintained regularly to ensure it continues to protect the school, and doesn’t endanger any pupils or staff in close contact with it.

So far, so obvious, but what should you look out for when checking whether your fencing is safe and secure?

  • Check for sharp edges – such as peeling paint and splinters – knots in timber that could trap student’s fingers and foreign objects stuck in the fence.
  • Additional features – Is there anything attached to the fence that could pose a risk? Does any attached lighting have dangerous dangling cables? Or have signs been cable-tied to the fence, creating a potential arm trap?
  • Climbing aids – Make sure bins or play equipment are stored away from the fence to stop people climbing in or out of the school.
  • Natural hazards –Thorny plants growing through the fence can pose a safety risk, as can any overgrown trees pushing down on the fence.
  • Instability – Give the fence a push to check its structural integrity and look for any leaning. The fence may look fine, but a bad installation or shifting foundations could pose a danger, especially if a pupil tries to climb.

 

Access points

The next thing to check is any access points to your site. It’s essential any vehicles entering or leaving the building are not using the same access points as the children. If this isn’t possible, consider implementing restricted times for vehicles to enter; before the school day or during lesson times.

Are gates clearly signposted, and are locks secure? If your school uses automated gates, have they been installed by a reputable professional and regularly maintained? Improperly calibrated gates can pose a huge safety risk.

Health and wellbeing

We generally think of a dangerous fence as something that could physically hurt a pupil. However, as mental health awareness has increased, so too have the designs of fencing. Tall, rusty chain-link fence could create a prison-like atmosphere, rather than a safe, nurturing environment, and cause unnecessary mental distress.

Noise control

Noise pollution can also impact mental health, as well as disrupting learning and playtime. If your school is close to a busy road, it may be worth considering an acoustic fence to block harmful sound.

Privacy

Pupils’ wellbeing isn’t just impacted by what goes on within the school grounds. If your school is on a major thoroughfare or in a densely populated area, students are also at risk from passers-by. To prevent this, it’s worth upgrading your fence to something that provides students with privacy and stops outside contact. 

Playgrounds

Does the fencing around playground include anti-trap properties, and have gates been fitted with soft-close features to prevent injury from slamming? Look out for RoSPA approved designs when purchasing new fencing, and remember the importance of aesthetics. Bright, welcoming colours and designs can help improve mental health and wellbeing.

If you’re considering the safety of your school, why not enlist a professional? Contact us today and we’ll talk you through how to improve the safety and wellbeing of your students and staff.

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