Page 20 - Independent Schools Magazine
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More protection is needed for pupils and teachers
With schools starting to deploy school lockdown procedures due to various risks and threats from pupils and outsiders, Klaus Allion, Managing Director at ANT Telecom, examines what schools are doing to protect their staff and pupils.
Whilst some schools are carrying out ad hoc lockdown drills, if an incident does arise, a pre-recorded alarm and message played from
a tannoy doesn’t really seem enough does it? What processes are in place to help staff deal with incidents quickly and effectively? How is everyone made aware if an incident occurs, including those off site? How is a response put into action? Today’s connective technologies mean modern
panic buttons offer much more functionality than a basic alert;
they can automate a range of actions to escalate a response instantly and discreetly. A panic button not only triggers an alert to notify colleagues of a developing incident, it reports the details of who triggered it and their location.
Historically, many schools have been reluctant to invest in such technology due to misconceptions around cost. However, since
these tools are managed in the Cloud, deployment is relatively inexpensive. Calculations show it
costs as little as a daily newspaper to protect staff. The price of failure is far more expensive.
It’s worrying that many institutions still use the bell as an alert mechanism. This does nothing
to help third parties locate an incident, while the sudden sound of an alarm can send schools into confusion and panic. Similarly, many schools believe that mobile phones provide an effective solution. This assumes that in the heat of a situation, a colleague has
the time and opportunity to make a call. But who do they call? And what happens if no-one answers? In either scenario, staff can be horribly exposed.
Whilst schools do have a level of safety in place, they don’t appear to be going as in depth as needed in terms of reviewing and updating their processes. Moreover, they’re not taking advantage of new technology innovation that is available to support them in their efforts to protect staff and pupils.
Robotics team wins the UK’s only trophy
“It was thoroughly well deserved,” said the Maynard School, Devon, Head of Computing, Laura Burt, of
the robotics team winning the UK’s only trophy at the FIRST LEGO League Open European Championship in Aarhus, Denmark.
With 50 countries represented from across the world and a total of 118 teams, only  ve of whom were representing the UK, the Maynard Wine Gums was the sole all-girls’ team from Europe and just one of only two in the entire competition.
Aimed at 9-16-year olds, the teams had to build a robot to tackle a series of missions,
each representing a different aspect of animal-human interaction. Over the course of two days, the judges assessed
all the students on their skills in robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem solving and communication.
“At the end of what was an incredibly busy weekend, it
was absolutely fantastic that
our team was awarded second place overall for the ‘Inspiration
in Core Values’ category. This section of the competition looks for the team that embodies extraordinary enthusiasm and spirit throughout the FIRST LEGO League experience and we were so excited that the Maynard ‘can do’
attitude was rewarded with the UK’s only trophy from the entire championship,” said Mrs Burt.
The team of Kitty Guinness, Bella Brent, Anna Harries, Miri Cooper Wedge and Anya Hitt (all in Year 9) had worked tirelessly in the weeks beforehand to perfect
their robot, Sir Killalot, and he thankfully behaved on the day!
“Given our robot was the
smallest one there, we didn’t really have very high expectations and it was a bit daunting to
start with. Compared to the previous quali ers, this was
much bigger with so many
more teams covering a huge
array of cultures,” said Kitty Guinness. “The atmosphere was
just amazing and we all spent any free time helping each other and discussing our different projects although much was lost in translation with some of the teams who couldn’t speak any English! I suspect that all of this socialising accounted for winning our trophy for ‘inspiration’!”
“In one of the tasks we had to stand on a table and  ip the tablecloth without touching the  oor and our lifting and jumping tactics had the judges almost crying with laughter! It was a fantastic weekend and we all really enjoyed this rare opportunity to meet so many other like-minded young people from around the world,” she added.
20 Independent Schools Magazine
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