School Infrastructure Guidelines 2021-03-26T22:39:03+00:00

KDRDIP School Infrastructure Guidelines


This KDRDIP school infrastructure Standards and guidelines Manual is a document that the school should use to maintain a Safe, Secure and Caring environment that fosters teaching and learning. This manual therefore sets out the Standards and Guidelines that should be followed in infrastructure projects implementation. In order to enhance Child Safety, The Manual incorporates the following key components:

  • Safety on School Grounds
  • Safety in Physical Infrastructure

Each of the 2 areas of School infrastructure covered in this manual begins with a statement followed by the necessary guidelines which when implemented should facilitate the realization of the Safety Standards. We encourage stakeholders to treat these guidelines as critical inputs to their learner protection efforts.

General Objective
The objective of this manual is to create and maintain a Safe, Secure and Caring environment that facilitates and enhances quality teaching and
learning processes in all schools in the project area.

Specific Objectives

More specifically, School infrastructure standards and guideline manual seeks to:

  • provide opportunities for the learner to exploit and maximise potential for learning, growth and development.
  • provide opportunity for the learner to participate in enhancing school safety.
  • promote, maintain and contribute to the understanding of child and staff safety.
  • provide a benchmark for monitoring and appraising the safety status of schools.
  • empower the school to liaise with parents, members of the community and other partners in order to increase awareness about issues related to school safety forge alliances and networks that enhance school and child safety.

A safe school with standard infrastructure should have the following indicators:

  • High retention rate of enrolled learners.
  • Strong focus on teaching and learning, reflected by better academic
    performance and all-round character development amongst learners.
  • Visible strategies in promoting the rights of children as provide in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and in Children’s Act.
  • High levels of interaction between school administrators, teachers, learners, sponsors parents/guardians and the community, among others.
  • Active participation of community in school programmes.
  • Visible presence of key stakeholders such as relevant Government officers,
    private sector representatives, religious leaders, and representative of NGOs in providing material, psychological and spiritual needs of the learners and staff.
  • Adequate and well maintained facilities such as toilets and sanitation facilities
  • Clearly demarcated school grounds with proper fencing and secure gates/boundaries.
  • An environment free from drug and substance abuse, trafficking and illegal hawking.
  • Low incidences of indiscipline.

Safety on School Grounds

School grounds refer to the entire enclosure designated for use by the school for any of its activities such as learning, playing, games or sports. Such grounds should be large to house the required physical infrastructure, including classrooms, offices, latrines, playing grounds and assembly walkways,
among others.The school ground must be well managed and the necessary
documents of ownership obtained from the Ministry of Lands or the Local Authority, whichever is appropriate. Please note that no KDRDIP project will be implemented in any institution if the aforesaid requirement on land is not in place.
The following are vital indicators for a safe school ground:

·         Title deeds well kept in a tamper-proof facility and away from any risk or clearly demarcated school compound pending documentation and issuance of title deeds.

·         Registration documents properly kept.

·         Properly fitted and lockable gate or gates with a security office.

·         Good security arrangements with provision for both night and day security personnel (watchmen).

·         Well maintained and clean learning rooms.

·         Well maintained and clean desks and chairs in classrooms, offices and other relevant places.

·         Properly maintained play grounds for various sporting activities and a free area for general play.

·         Properly arranged and maintained walkways, motorways and parking.

·         Properly reinforced fence with appropriate mechanisms for repair and maintenance.


In order to ensure safe school grounds, the following guidelines are necessary:

  • Any school confirmed to have no valid title-deed after verification with Ministry of Lands or any relevant authority should be assisted to secure ownership of the land or be moved to own grounds.
  • The school should post a “NO TRESPASSING” and “VISITORS REPORT TO HEAD TEACHER’S OFFICE“ signs at the main gate entrance.
  • For schools without a gate and a fence, a sign should be posted next to the main passageway into the school with the words “NO TRESPASSING” and “VISITORS REPORT TO THE HEAD TEACHER’S OFFICE”
  • All visitors to the school must sign the visitor’s register and record
    their IDs at the gate. The gatekeeper must verify that the IDs are valid
    and keep them safely. The IDs are to be returned on signing out on
    completion of the visit.
  • School staff as well as community members should have the right to
    question any stranger found near or within the school grounds.
  • The school should erect sign boards to show directions to various
    facilities such as the administration offices, staff offices, classrooms,
    toilets, dining hall, dormitories and staff houses.
  • School grounds should, wherever possible, be located in places with
    least climatic hazards such as floods, wind effects and similar natural
    Similarly, schools should be located away from disruptive land
    use activities such as industrial facilities, bars, heavy traffic routes, sewage
    or dump sites etc.
  • The school grounds should be levelled to make them easier for use
    by learners and teachers.
  • Bare areas of the school grounds should be planted with grass
    to minimise the effects of dust. Trees in the school should be labelled, indicating their uses and those that may be poisonous.
  • School managements should mobilise resources to ensure that requirements of safe school grounds are met.
Any dispute regarding the ownership of part or whole of the school
grounds should be solved within the provision of the Laws of the
Republic of Kenya.·         Playgrounds should reflect the diversity of sport talents in the school
The equipment used for such games should meet the necessary safety requirements. Proper segregation (separation) of these grounds should be ensured.

·         All walkways should be properly demarcated with flowers or shrubs rather than wires, which may cause injuries to learners.

·         In order to maintain safe school grounds, good working relationships should be promoted among all stakeholders namely, learners, the headteacher, teachers, other school staff, parents, School Management Committee/Board of Governors members, community and Government officials.

·         There should be proper and regular supervision and inspection of school grounds to ensure that there are no items such as broken glass loose sticks, stones or pot-holes that can cause injury to the learners’ teachers or other school personnel.

·          Learners and staff should collectively be responsible for playground safety.

Safety in Physical Infrastructure

These facilities include structures such as classrooms, offices, toilets, dormitories, libraries, laboratories, kitchen, water tanks, playground equipment, among others. These facilities can be either permanent or temporary structures. Such physical structures should be appropriate, adequate and properly located, devoid of any risks to users or to those around them. They should also comply with the provisions of the Education Act (Cap 211), Public Health Act (Cap 242) and Ministry of Public Works building regulations/standard.


It is important to observe the following with regard to the various types of school buildings:

·         Classrooms are important infrastructures in a school setting since learners spend most of their time in these facilities. It is important to observe the following:
The size of the classroom, in terms of length and width, should be as specified in the Ministry of Education building specifications i.e. 7.5m x 5.85m or 7.5m x 6.0m. Such classrooms should accommodate a maximum of 30 learners in one-seater desks or 40 learners in two seater desks in line with the provisions of the Ministry of Education circular on Health and Safety Standards in Educational Institutions (2001).

·         The doorways should be adequate for emergency purposes, open outwards and should not be locked from outside at any time when learners are inside.
–  For storeyed buildings, the stairways should be wide enough and
located at both ends of the building and should be clear of any
obstructions at all times. The construction of stairways should give provision for learners with special needs/disabilities. The handrails in the stairs should be strong and firmly fixed.

·         The corridors should be both well ventilated and lit. The width should be wide enough for the learners to walk along without bumping into each other.

·         Classroom windows must be without grills and should be easy to open.

·         The classrooms should be properly lit and ventilated.

·         The floors should be level and kept clean always. For cemented floors, any cracks should be repaired in good time. Similarly, for mud walls and floors teachers should ensure that they are regularly smeared with fresh mud and floors smeared with cow dung to prevent the development of cracks and the generation of dust that can pose risks to the health of both teachers and learners. In all cases, efforts should be made to cement all the classroom floors.

·          Each block should be fitted with serviced fire extinguishers.

·          Regular inspection of classroom buildings, halls and stairways should be carried out and immediate measures taken to correct any problems noticed.

·         The furniture in classrooms, especially the desks, should be appropriate for use by both male and female learners. Poorly constructed or inappropriate desks can lead to physical deformities such as curvature of spine, contraction of chest, roundness of shoulders or a confirmed stoop. They can also create tension and fatigue among learners.

·         The class teacher should ensure that the desks are arranged in a manner that facilitates easy and orderly movement of learners in the classroom—ideally each desk should have no more than 3 learners and the space between any two desks should be at least 2 feet.

·         The positioning of electrical sockets should be beyond the reach of young learners in order to avoid tampering.

·          All buildings and facilities should be accessible by special needs

In boarding schools, dormitories are the single most used physical infrastructure, where learners spend the longest continuous period of time in a day. It is therefore important to keep these structures clean and properly ventilated. In every school, care should be taken to observe the following:

·         The space between the beds should be at least 1.2 metres while the corridor or pathway space should not be less than 2 metres.

·         Since sharing of beds is prohibited in schools, admissions should be tied to bed capacity at all times.

·         All doorways should be wide enough, at least 5 feet wide, and they should open outwards. They must not at any time be locked from outside when learners are inside. Each dormitory

·         should have a door at each end and an additional emergency exit at the middle. It should be clearly labelled “Emergency Exit”.

·         Dormitory doors should be locked at all times when learners are in class or on the playing fields. The keys to the doors should be kept by the Dormitory Master/Mistress or the Dormitory Prefect.

·         Dormitory windows must be without grills and should be easy to
open outwards.

·         Fire extinguishing equipment should be functioning and placed at each exit with fire alarms fitted at easily accessible points.

·         Regular spot checks by the teachers and the administration should be undertaken before learners retire to bed.

·         An accurate roll call should be taken every day and records well

·          There should be regular patrols by the school security personnel
or any other authorised security personnel. No visitor should be
allowed in the dormitory.

·         There should be inspection of hygiene standards of the dormitories and the learners on alternate days of the week.

·         Bunk beds should be strong and firm and fitted with side-grills to protect young learners against falling off.

Sanitation Infrastructure

Sanitation infrastructure includes all the structures constructed for the purposes of disposal of human waste and for cleanliness. A safe school must have sanitation facilities built up to the required standards and kept clean with high standards of hygiene. In order to enhance safety, the following must be observed:

·         In cases where pit toilets are used these structures should be built at least 10 metres away from tuition and boarding facilities and on the downwind side.

·         Where ablution block is attached to the dormitory, a high degree of cleanliness must be maintained.

·         Pit latrines should not be less than 6 metres (20ft) deep, and should be regularly well disinfected.

·          Pit latrines should be at least 15 metres (50 ft) away from a borehole or well or water supply point.

·         Where there are boreholes or shallow wells in places with difficult soil types or land forms, the school management should seek the advice of the water department before the digging of a pit latrine.

·         In mixed schools, girls’ sanitation areas must be separate and offer complete privacy.

·         Each school should ensure safe and effective disposal of sanitary wear.

·         In the construction of sanitary facilities, the following must be observed in relation to numbers:
The first 30 learners: 4 closets (holes).

·         The next 270 learners: one extra closet for every 30 learners.

·          Every additional learner over 270 learners: 1 closet per 50 learners.

·          All closets must be clean, well-ventilated and properly maintained.

·         At least one third of the fittings for boys should be closets and the rest urinals. If a urinal is a trough, then 0.6m (2 ft.) of the trough is equivalent to one fitting.

In all schools, appropriate provisions should be given to learners with special needs and very young learners in pre-unit and lower primary. For example, passageways should be accessible and toilet facilities should be suitable for use by special needs learners and very young school children.

·         Proper consideration should be given for staff sanitation, with at least one closet for 12 persons and with separate provision for ladies and gentlemen.

·         All sanitary facilities and equipment should be in the best state of repair, serviceable and inspected regularly.

·         If learners are responsible for cleaning their sanitation facilities, proper protective measures (e.g. provision of gloves) must be taken.

·         Soap and tap water or water cans fitted with taps should be set outside the toilets for washing hands after use of these facilities.

·         For girls, tap water/washing places should be behind a screen or wall.



The library is the Centre of academic life of the school. It is the designated
place for storing, lending and reading of books in a school. A library that
meets safety standards should be rightly located in a quiet place and should
have sufficient space in addition to being well ventilated and safe from invasion by destructive insects and pests. In the construction of libraries, ensure:

  • Adequate ventilation and lighting.
  • Wide alleys of passageways to facilitate evacuation.
  • Spacious room for easy movement.
  • Dusting books regularly, preferably every three days.
  • Properly reinforced and well-spaced bookshelves.

Administration Block

The administration block is an important structure in the school. It is the first station of call for all visitors to the school. It is also the storehouse of all the vital school records and equipment. An ideal school administration block should put into consideration the prevailing security situation of the school environment and the needs of the school. The following should be
observed in constructing a school’s administration structure:

  • There should be provisions of offices for key school personnel such as the head teacher and deputy head teacher, senior teacher, bursar and the supporting secretarial staff. In addition,
    the school should have a staff room and registry.
  • It should be centrally located and not far from classrooms.
  • The doors and windows should be burglar proof.
  • Each administration block, like any other block, should have a fire extinguisher.
  • Provisions should be made to acquire fire-proof cabinets for the storage of essential office materials and documents.
There should be provisions for easy access to legal and administrative documents such as the Educational Act, the Children’s Act, Sexual Offences Act, the Public Health Act Code of Regulations, school rules and any other documents accorded importance by the school authorities. Overall, the achievement of the right infrastructure in schools requires the collective efforts of different stakeholders. Nonetheless, the following guidelines would be necessary:

·         No physical infrastructure should be constructed or occupied without consultations with and approval of the Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Health (Public Health Department).

·         There should be close and cordial working relationship between the school, parents, sponsors and members of the community with regard to construction, utilization and maintenance of the school buildings.

·          A school site plan should be developed and be available at all times.


This manual has provided the necessary information guidelines and instruments needed in design, implementation and evaluation of a School Safety Programme. However, all those concerned must use the manual bearing in mind local circumstances. For this reason, school managements and their stakeholders must constantly examine and re-examine the local circumstances and decide on what they need to do to ensure safety of children in and out of schools. However, in all the situation teachers and school managements need to remember that School safety is a collective responsibility of all stakeholders.