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Gatemaster & First Fence: The Ultimate Guide to Safer School Gates

24 January 2023Appears in Products
Gatemaster & First Fence: The Ultimate Guide to Safer School Gates
Gatemaster & First Fence have paired up to share expertise on school fencing and gates. Read on to find the safest gate hardware for your school.

Why gates and fencing are important on school grounds

There are many reasons to install security fencing surrounding the school perimeter. Two of which are:

1. Security – to prevent break-ins, trespassing and vandalism

2. Safety – to stop the students from running away or onto busy roads

Security fencing and barriers can provide this level of protection easily. But you need a way to secure the gate as well. We’re here to help you find the best and safest gate hardware for your school gates.

Read on to get the best tips from Gatemaster, the UK’s leading manufacturer of stainless-steel gate hardware.

NOTE – We currently have SPECIAL OFFER prices on our gate locks and accessories.

How to increase security and safety with the right gate hardware

There’s more to gate hardware than locks. For locations like schools, you must find the safest hinges and closers as well as a secure lock.

Here are some of our tips when it comes to gate hardware for school gates.

What lock should I use on school gates?

There are many considerations to make when deciding on the right lock. Factors like gate material, gate size, style, usage, and distance between the gate and gate post to name a few.

For school gates, the lock not only has to be suitable for the gate itself, but convenient to use for staff and secure for the students.

For instance, you might require panic exits on some gates in case of emergencies. But you need to prevent the students from using this gate as their personal entrance and exit. It’s therefore worth considering the potential usage of the individual gate on the grounds.

When it comes to the main school gates, our recommendation would be a latch deadlock like the Superlock BLD. The latch bolt allows you to operate the lock with just the handles when unlocked. This is useful during drop-off or pick-up times where parents and students alike have to leave the gate without staff getting involved. The main gate can be left unlocked during opening hours, but you can deadlock it at night for added security.

In terms of lock types, the choice depends on the type of gate you have and what you prefer.

If you have a standard metal gate with bars or mesh, you’ll benefit from using a bolt-on lock. Simple to install, our Superlock range only requires three holes drilled through the gate frame. Then, simply bolt it on using the fixings supplied.

If your main gate is made from solid timber or composite, we suggest using a surface-fixed lock. The Superlatch works on both wooden and metal gates and is a great option as it has a keyless entry thanks to the keypad. This is useful for school gates that need to be secured, but also allow students or staff to enter frequently.

You could use the Superlock range on composite gates, provided your gate manufacturer is happy to cut out a slot for it in the cladding.

If the gate is wrought iron, which many school gates have, having a lock that is too modern might disrupt the look. We would therefore recommend using a weld-in lock for this type. These will be welded into the gate frame and sit flush with it. This makes for an inconspicuous look.

For the perfect school gate set up, check out our range of mesh fencing & gates, along with our gate accessories.

Safe, self-closing school gates

Can’t trust the students or their parents to close the gate after using it?

A common problem as evident by the many “Please close the gate” signs available. Fortunately, it is an easy fix with a gate closer.

Now, it’s important you don’t get just any gate closer. As school gates are used by children, there are specific suggestions to make them as safe as possible to use. RoSPA has set out several recommendations to help you find the right solution for gates in public areas used by children. Here are a few relating to gate closers:

  • The distance to the ground must be between 60mm and 110mm
  • The closing speed must be adjustable and no quicker than 5 seconds
  • Minimise finger entrapment by ensuring the distance between gate and gate post is minimum 12mm
  • Maintain the gap between the gate and gate post during closing

Following these recommendations will help you keep injuries to a minimum, which is handy on gates in areas that aren’t supervised.

Make sure your fencing is suitable for school. Get all the tips in our blog here or look at our range of security fencing.

You might think it’ll be difficult to find a gate closer that follows all of the above. But we’re here to inform you of our solutions – one of them being the APS Hydraulic Closer. As this gate closer sits within the pivot point, it ensures a non-reducing gap throughout the closing. In addition to this, it also has adjustable closing and latching speed so you can adjust it based on the location and its requirements.

Find the best hinges for the job

School gates are opened frequently during the day and are often a decent size and weight. The reliability and durability of your entire gate therefore depends on the hinges you choose.

To ensure longevity and to avoid hinge failure, heavy duty hinges will be the best choice for most large school gates. We recommend you check the weight limits for the hinges before you install them. If you have a lighter gate, you might be able to use a simple hook and eye hinge.

But if you decide you do require an adjustable hinge that can carry the weight, try the Superhinge. It’s designed to work on heavy and large gates; the largest of them can carry gates of up to 900kg per pair of hinges!

Once installed, the shear off nut makes this hinge virtually tamperproof, so you don’t have to worry about vandalism either. Just make sure to lubricate it every six months, made easy with the integrated grease points.

Bonus hinge tip: If your gate uses hook and eye hinges, you can secure them further with security collars. Installed on top of the hinge, they prevent people from being able to lift the gate off the hinges.

An added safety measure for peace of mind

A big concern is falling gates. School grounds will have several gates, some of which might not be maintained as frequently. These gates could therefore be at the risk of falling in bad weather or if force is applied.

This is obviously a safety risk best to avoid. British Standard BSEN12604 recommends that all swing gates are either fitted with three hinges or has a gate tether installed. These safety precautions will help prevent the gate from falling should the top hinge fail.

Our Gatemaster Gate Restrainer sits inconspicuously between the gate and gate post but will kick in should the gate start falling due to hinge failure.

A braided, stainless-steel rope could be the difference between a scare and a serious accident.

It’s even easy to install, so there isn’t really a reason to not incorporate it when you install new school gates.

If you want to learn more about Gatemaster, you can read about them on their website.

We have SPECIAL OFFER prices on our gate locks and accessories… Shop Online today or Call our Sales Team on 01283 512 111.