According to the Department for Educations’ statistics the numbers of teachers, support staff and teaching assistants is increasing at pace. There are now around 0.9 million full time school employees across approximately 25,000 schools, equating to average school workforce of 35 full time employees. For school managers, managing the whereabouts of so many people is becoming increasingly difficult using traditional methods, and that is before numbers of daily visitors are taken into account.
Keeping track of who is on the premises is a challenge, particularly considering how essential it is to safeguard the safety of pupils and ensure the identities of every pupil, teacher, staff member and visitor. In the past most schools have relied upon the traditional manual registers and a signing-in book. Both fine in their day, but with the increased pressure to ensure the safety of pupils and to find more efficient ways of working, technology is playing a larger role in the process.
During my time working with schools I have found that the key visitor management concerns have been meeting the safeguarding in schools criteria issued by Ofsted. These criteria evaluate the effectiveness of schools to minimise the risk to children, young people and adults and as such, knowing precisely who is on the premises forms a key part in this. Photo identification has also become an increasingly large concern, as schools must be able to ensure that a person issued with a visitor pass is who they say they are.
Modern visitor management systems help to address these concerns by utilising a wide variety of technologies such as touchscreen interfaces, photo badge/pass printers, one-click fire roll calls for evacuation and automated notifications to improve the levels of traceability and control for schools. All of these features make it infinitely easier to manage the movements of personnel and pupils whilst creating an auditable trail, making it more straightforward during inspection.
As schools become increasingly accountable for safeguarding pupils, such technologies are playing an ever more important role. Fundamentally, they have helped to reduce human error from the visitor management process, have optimised internal administrative functions and above all, improved the levels of safety and security within schools.