Client Name: Beaconsfield High School
Location: Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
Type of client: Secondary Academy
Services provided by M+C: Building Surveying | Planning Services | Procurement | Project Management | Funding Application
Contractor: Forum Contracts
M+C Lead: Barry Lawrence
Beaconsfield High School is an all girls grammar school based in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Because the school achieves good academic results, it remains a popular choice for parents in the area. The school’s senior management team had identified that the school buildings’ safeguarding measures were insufficient, and asked M+C to work with them to address this. As is common within the education sector, the school’s budgets were insufficient to fund any improvements. With this in mind, M+C recommended that the school make an application to the ESFA for a grant under the CIF initiative.
M+C lead consultant, Barry Lawrence, initially conducted a non-intrusive visual survey of the site. He found that the school site was very open to both vehicles and foot traffic. The perimeter fencing was low-level, and there were no security controls to gates. Once onsite, the reception area offered very little access control, and visitors were able to move freely between buildings. Furthermore, there was no CCTV installation which seriously restricted reception staff’s ability to monitor visitor’s movements around the school buildings. In addition to these problems, the site was vulnerable to break-ins and vandalism outside of school hours.
Barry and the M+C team designed a solution to address the issues that the school were facing. Their proposal included:
- A new front reception lobby with controlled access to the main reception area
- Toilet facilities and seating area for unauthorised personnel to use whilst waiting for an escort to accompany them into the main building
- Electromagnetic door locks requiring either reception staff activation, or a a fob/card to open
- A secure meeting room just off of the outer lobby providing an area to converse confidentially with a visitor, without allowing them further access to school buildings
- CCTV installation, monitoring key points of the site including the car park entrance
- New car park barriers, with access controlled by reception
- New higher perimeter fencing
These measures enable school staff to control who gains access to the site, and more importantly, restrict movement to appropriate areas.
Barry completed a full tender process in order to provide cost certainty to the ESFA. Forum Contracts returned the most competitive price, and were provisionally appointed pending the CIF fund result. Although the school were facing budget constraints, they managed to commit 5% of the total cost of the works from their reserves. It is fair to say that many CIF approved schemes are those which will provide the school with ongoing maintenance cost savings. Whilst this project did not fit that criteria, M+C and the school made an excellent case, based on the need to improve safeguarding and the application was successful.
The project was too large to take place solely within the school holidays. The school therefore made provision for some of the works to take place at the end of the summer term. The M+C project management team worked closely with the school to schedule tasks to minimise disruption to learning. In addition, the school made the site available during evenings and at weekends so that the contractor could complete the noisiest/most disruptive works outside of school hours. All works were complete by the beginning of the new school term in September and the school site is significantly more secure.