Key management at your schools

This guidance provides advice on managing keys and master keys.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Boards
  • Proprietors
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Property Managers

Schools should set up systems for controlling keys and managing master keys. Your property is open to theft, damage and loss caused by lost or stolen keys. 

Keep keys safe

Losing keys is a major problem at schools.

Keep control of your school’s keys by:

  • having a register of all keys, with the names of who has them
  • keeping the number of keys issued to people at a minimum.

Manage master keys

Master keys are keys that will open all important locks in the school.

You can minimise the number of locks that require replacement if the master key is lost or stolen by having a master key that accesses a keypad system which can then be used to unlock the rest of the school. Then if the master key is lost, only one lock needs to be replaced.

Manage your master keys by:

  • keeping them in a secure place
  • not labelling them with the school’s name.

Pay for replacement keys

You're covered under our School Buildings Insurance Funding programme for keys that are lost or stolen in a specific incident for up to $50,000. Keys that have been lost track of over time are not covered.

If the master key has been lost or stolen, schools should consider installing an electronic swipe card system, which means a lost swipe card can be deactivated and you don’t have to change any locks.

The School Building Insurance Funding programme will contribute funding to the value of the like-for-like replacement cost of the existing locks and keys (up to $50,000). Additional costs of the upgrade will need to be funded out of the school’s 5YA or PMG.

School Buildings Insurance Funding Programme

Buy a new system

If you're buying a new locking system, always order spare key barrels. This lets you replace a barrel instead of the entire lock if a key is lost.

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