Terrorism in schools – is it time we took preventative steps?

Increasingly we are seeing educational establishments fitting PAVA systems. As time has gone on we have noticed that educational PAVA installs are not simply focused on the benefit of school-wide announcement and fire safety, but also the additional safety ramifications of a PAVA system.

Obviously, having voice evacuation in the event of a fire, for example, makes perfect sense, and is a very responsible action for any establishment to take. But schools seem to be voluntarily focusing even more intently on how to ensure student safety in the wake of other kinds of emergencies.

At present, the Department for Education is consulting on proposed new guidance for school security policies. There is an acceptance that the current guidance does not account for today’s security needs and we see a focus here on the threat of terror in our schools.

‘The department [for Education] recognises that the existing guidance does not provide schools with the information needed to draw up effective school security policies and plans. The aim of the guidance is to provide schools with information to help them to handle the range of security matters that they are most likely to face.’

Pippa Allen-Kilross of Schools Weekly states that ‘According to the guidance, terrorist attacks in schools are most likely to take the form of improvised explosive devices, gun or knife attacks or using a vehicle as a weapon. Less likely forms are listed as postal devices and the use of chemical substances.’

The guidance issued would not be mandatory and each school would produce a security policy and take subsequent action synonymous with their needs. This could include the introduction of a public address system to inform students and staff of an emergency, evacuation or stay-put guidance; CCTV to allow the surveillance of an emergency and the school in general; and access controls for lockdown the of buildings and overall general security purposes.

Where do we fit in all of this?

Public address is just a small factor to the suggestions being made by the Government but we would certainly be interested to see what the consultation results are.

We have seen a steep increase recently in enquiries and in the installation of PAVA systems into the education sector. Admittedly most of these are into new build schools looking for the newest technology but it will be interesting to see how this will change if new guidance is published in 2019.

A more in-depth look at the school safety consultation can be found here: and as always if we can be of assistance please do not hesitate to contact us on 0191 276 2076 or by emailing