Why is Access Control Important for Education Institutions?

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There are different types of access control; PIN code, access pass or fob, intercom, and fingerprint, all of which can be useful in a place of education. By implementing an access control system in certain areas of your premises you can reduce the risk of unauthorised access being granted to those without the correct access rights. This will massively increase the safety of the students and staff on the property, which can improve a school's Ofsted report.

Ofsted guidelines say that all education institutions should give high priority to getting their safeguarding procedures right, including securing the perimeter of the school this ensures less risk of unauthorised access. An Access Control solution ensures that you know who is on the premises and who has access to specific rooms, it can also assist with perimeter security as an access control solution can add an extra layer of security to your site.

Government guidance

To truly understand what your security needs are, you first have to look at the guidelines that it has to cover. The best way to find this out is to look at the government's website but here is a quick rundown of what you need.

The government website states that your security policy should:

  • reflect the balance between maintaining an open and welcoming environment for learners, parents and the wider community and protecting them from harm
  • help create a culture in which staff and students recognise and understand the need to be more vigilant about their own and the safety and security of others
  • demonstrate an understanding of the issues that could impact your school or college and the wider community

You should also take into consideration your educational institution's size, location, unique circumstances, character, ethos, educational needs and local priorities.

Here is the link to the guidelines if you wish to take a read: Click Here

Restrict and limit access

Schools, colleges and other educational institutions without access control systems face the problem of not knowing who is accessing their site. Not only can unauthorised people walk onto the premises without anyone knowing, but people can also leave with no one knowing, which causes a lot of safeguarding issues, putting your students/staff/assets at risk. With an access control system, you can give each member of staff and student an access pass, fob or code, allowing only them access to the building. This system can also keep students out of certain rooms, such as the staff rooms, cleaning cupboards or anywhere else that they are not permitted to be.

Types of access control:

PIN code:

Pros: This device has a program which gives a PIN code which your staff memorise and it will only allow them to areas where they are permitted entry. A device could be programmed so each individual has their own PIN code rather than a universal code.

This is good for storage cupboards, entrance to staff-only areas, places where they store personal information or anywhere else you want to restrict access.

Cons: It’s more cost-effective than the pass or fob. One of the other flaws is that people can easily share their code.

Access pass or fob:

Pros: This device is programmed to accept a pass or fob. It allows quick access but can be programmed so it still restricts access to certain locations for different individuals however the physical pass can be standardised so that everyone’s pass looks the same.

They can be used to manage access to storage cupboards, entrance to staff-only areas, places where personal information is stored, or to be used by students to allow them access to buildings they are permitted entry to or the car park.

Cons: A couple of flaws of the access pass are that they are used continuously so they can be subject to wear and tear and they can be cloned, lost, stolen or shared.


The video intercom can add an extra layer of protection as you are able to identify the person and ask why they want to be granted access, before opening the door. These are commonly used in reception areas.


Pros: Fingerprints are truly unique as no two fingerprints are the same. A fingerprint scanner is a small device with a finger-shaped indent where you place your finger to be scanned before being permitted entry.

They are used in colleges and universities in place of access passes/fobs for staff and students. They are worth considering if you find students and staff members keep losing their fobs.

Cons: Set up would lengthy, and would need to be repeated every year for new students/staff intakes.

Other ways to control access

Access control is a great start to ensuring you are adhering to safeguarding guidelines and keeping staff, students and valuables safe. However, you should also consider CCTV, fire alarms, intruder alarms, and security barriers.

Take a look at our security page to find out more or more specifically our Security Solutions for Schools, Colleges and Universities page. You can also find more information on our blog page by looking under the section security.

To take an extra step in keeping important information safe you can also take a look at our cybersecurity page and read some of our blogs on cybersecurity.

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