Keeping schools secure… and Ofsted happy

The perimeter systems surrounding an educational estate play a vital role in creating a safe and secure environment. Leighann Harris, Account Manager at Hadley Group, explores the benefits of cold rolled steel fencing systems


HILE schools can be amongst the safest places to be, no school can afford to ignore the risk and impact of having to deal with a range of security-related incidents. Fencing provides the first line of defence for pupil and property protection so it is imperative that schools carefully consider this aspect of their security policy. In fact, Ofsted now includes the perimeter school fencing and physical access control as an area of review in the safeguarding of pupils on school grounds. Security fencing systems should conform to the highest standards and specifiers should start by considering how the steel profiles are manufactured. The way in which fencing systems are processed depends on the temperature that the steel is rolled at in the mill and this will result in how the components can be bent and manipulated to achieve the desired characteristics and aesthetics of the fencing system. Fencing systems that go through the cold rollforming process benefit from a number of advantages, including significant savings

in weight and increased strength, which in turn improves performance. In cold rollforming, the steel is processed at temperatures that are close to normal room temperature. This results in increased strength of the finished product by as much as 20 per cent thanks to the use of strain hardening and also helps to increase resistance against tension and breaking, as well as resistance against deformation. Due to the fact that the steel is rolled more during the cold rollforming process, this results in better finished surfaces making cold rolled steel an aesthetically pleasing solution as well. The proven capabilities of cold rolled steel makes it ideal for effective use in even the biggest and most complex projects – including forming the metal into non-structural products such as fencing systems. For education estates, choosing the right cold rolled steel fencing system will vary on the levels of security required as each school will have differing requirements, as they will be prone to different types of threats depending on factors such as type of school and local environment. For example, there are cold rolled fencing systems that offer anti-grab security tags on the top rail to discourage intruders from utilising top rails to assist with climbing and sloping tops to deter intruders from gaining a foothold to assist with climbing, which would be ideal for schools in urban areas as they may be at greater risk to anti- social behaviour.

Fully engineered cold rolled palisade fencing systems are lighter and stronger than conventional palisade fencing systems, where the weight advantage 43

allows for easy handling for trouble-free installation, and the overall system delivers an attractive and robust perimeter fencing solution for many schools. And for nurseries with outdoor playgrounds, there are aesthetically pleasing, easy to erect cold rolled solutions that are supplied with pre- assembled panels, which simply bolt into place. Look out for fences that are play- safe approved to ensure that you are meeting the legal requirements of this kind of setting.

Undeniably, more precaution needs to be taken into securing school boundaries and cold rolled steel fencing systems can offer many benefits. By liaising with manufacturers such as Hadley Group, who design and manufacture their cold rollformed profiles in-house, specifiers can be advised on the wide array of fencing systems that are available, which will help to create safe and secure environments for students, staff and visitors alike.

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