The security measures came after a review that was carried out earlier in the year of St Luke’s primary school and Haute Vallée and Le Rocquier secondary schools.
The Education Department and the police found ‘several areas for improvement in terms of safeguarding, site security and controlled accesses.’ And in a ministerial decision, Treasury Minister Susie Pinel ordered £150,000 be used from the Education Department budget to upgrade the security measures at the three schools.
The added security, which includes the installation of new fences as well as gate locks, comes after a few ‘minor incidents’ at Haute Vallée where members of the public and ex-students were reported to have gained access to the schools grounds to confront staff.
In addition to the newly erected fences, new gate locks are due to be installed at Haute Vallée before the end of this school term, which means that the school will be secured during the school day.
Stuart Hughes, headmaster of Haute Vallée, said these incidents were largely due to the open design of the school which then prompted the Education Department to look at all aspects of site security to ‘mitigate the risk.’
He said: ‘The health, safety and wellbeing of students and staff is our main priority and over the past three to four years the Education Department have being systematically reviewing existing arrangements for site security across all schools, and in doing so, work in collaboration with other government departments, which include the Police and Jersey Property Holdings, to improve security and safeguarding.
‘The Secondary and Primary Schools in Jersey are well provisioned in terms of facilities. The social climate of Jersey is very different to the mainland UK when compared across a range of indicators, not least crime incident rates related to the Education sector and the nature and makeup of the actual risk exposure.
‘However, as part of the Education Department’s improvement plans the review of site security and safeguarding is continual which brings recommendations for improvement to reduce risk.’
The £150,000 will be used to make improvements in five key areas:
- The department’s responsibilities towards students, staff and members of the public.
- The prioritisation of the safety and well-being of teachers, to allow them to concentrate on teaching.
- The delivery of a positive message, improved peace of mind and wellbeing for those involved with the schools.
- Easier recruitment and retention of good teaching staff.
- Discouraging criminal activity.