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Safeguarding children in the early years sector

Almas Team
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A nursery can have superb staff, play facilities, and excellent safeguarding, but if they don't get the fundamentals of security right, none of that matters.

Safety is one of the top priorities for parents when they are choosing a nursery for their children. A nursery can have superb staff, play facilities, and excellent safeguarding, but if they don’t get the fundamentals of security right, none of that matters. A bad Ofsted report, or worse, an incident in which a child, staff member or parent is hurt or abducted, can badly damage reputation.

Who is in your nursery?

One of the biggest challenges facing childcare businesses is safeguarding the children in their care. Parents demand to know that their children will be completely safe at all times. Security provision needs to be a top priority for all childcare business, no matter what their size. Businesses should think about the potential threats of:

  • unauthorised people entering a building
  • the potential for a child to escape, be taken or assaulted
  • the risk of staff members being attacked or assaulted
  • the risk of theft, robbery or vandalism
  • Health and safety liability

 

How biometrics can help to improve security

Before the development of biometric access control systems, most businesses were reliant on keys, fobs, pin codes, swipe cards and keypads to control access. All of these methods are prone to loss, falsification and abuse (whether intentional or not). Furthermore, none of them gives you the ability to know exactly who has entered your nursery or at what time they gained access.

By removing the need for keys, fobs, swipe cards and keypad combinations you can take complete control of who has access to your building. You can control the times at which they have access and have an accurate record of the entry and exit times.

A biometric access control system can range from quite simple single-entry fingerprint readers through to more complex multipoint entry systems. With a biometric fingerprint reader, you decide who has access to your nursery; unauthorised people cannot gain entry. You can also control access to specific parts of your building: for example, allowing parents to enter only the reception area while staff can access the whole building. With centralised access control, an administrator can control alarms, lock or unlock doors, enable or disable door locks and other access control features from a single interface, in a matter of seconds.

Biometric fingerprint readers are widely accepted as being one of the most secure forms of biometric control. Fingerprints are unique to every individual and can’t be lost, stolen, duplicated or changed.

Comprehensive care and security

Combining a biometric access control system with a CCTV safety monitoring system creates a very powerful security system, allowing you to monitor not just the entrances and exits of your building, but the children and staff within it too. This can help you to prevent the risks of burglary or vandalism, as well as providing a means to mitigate health and safety issues such as slips, trips or falls. With the addition of a bolt-on time and attendance package, biometric systems can be used to track staff movement, making employee management easier and less time-consuming.

There is always room to improve

Ofsted’s “Early Years: Safe and Sound” (2006) report states that outstanding providers investigate any accidents, rehearse safety procedures and have ‘very effective measures in place to ensure the premises are secure and that children are collected only by authorised adults’. These include:

“a biometric system on entrances and exits ensures that only parents and staff whose fingerprints are registered on the system can gain access to the nursery… Parents registered with the nursery can enter and leave while the staff continues to concentrate on caring for the children.”

This is very sensible advice but there are still many childcare establishments who don’t use biometric systems to secure their premises. The reasons for this are usually a lack of understanding as to what biometrics have to offer, concerns about the costs involved and worries over the impact of GDPR and privacy laws.

GDPR: no need to worry

Our biometric fingerprint readers meet the highest standards of security, combining cutting-edge technology with the best components. We use patented encryption technology with a highly accurate algorithm. We never capture or store a complete image of a person fingerprint and its not possible to use fingerprint data outside of the system.

If you are thinking of implementing a CCTV safety monitoring system or biometrics solution you need to undertake a security audit. This will identify if there is a need for such technology and what the benefit will be to your business. We will advise you of your responsibilities under GDPR and can provide a range of tools to help with security compliance.

Why Almas?

Ofsted considers biometric access control superior to other forms of security and many of our happy customers (and parents) say the same. We will help you to build an integrated security solution which will protect your nursery and can advise you of your responsibilities under GDPR. We offer a range of payment options, including no upfront cost and full maintenance. Almas customers have access to a technical hotline 24/7 and strict SLAs. Set yourselves apart from the competition as well as improving security and saving time.

Almas are expert in security for nurseries and early years childcare. We have a strong presence in the early years’ sector and provide over 500 childcare establishments with security solutions.

 

When did you last review your security provision?

As businesses grow and evolve, risks change. Get in touch today for your security audit by calling 0333 567 6677 (UK) or 01 68 333 68 (Ireland). If you prefer, you can always send a confidential email.

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