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Academy’s software

A case study of how some 112 IP cameras and 33 legacy analogue video cameras help teachers manage more than 1500 pupils at an east London school. During the £10m refurbishment of the main Brampton Manor Academy building in 2009, the new headmaster, Dr Dayo Olukoshi, was keen to extend the CCTV coverage at Brampton Manor Academy.


The aim: to help protect the new facilities and provide staff with greater knowledge of and control over student behaviour. Although enclosed by high fencing, CCTV inside the main school building was only partial up to that point.  A total of 33 cameras streamed to digital recorders which recorded 30 days of video images, mainly focused on doorways and emergency exits. The headmaster worked with the academy’s director of finance and administration Graham Glass, who is also the facilities manager. Dr Olukoshi took the view that it was important to extend surveillance into all school corridors and throughout the new multi-million pound media centre and 300-seat theatre which could otherwise have become a target for theft or vandalism.

Milestone XProtect Enterprise 8.0C IP video management software now provides viewing, recording and analysis of high resolution, HD-quality images at up to 25 frames per second from 112 Axis,  Sanyo, Mobotix and Arecont Vision IP cameras, plus the existing 33 Panasonic cameras.  Images are transmitted via a dedicated Gigabit multi-mode fibre backbone to four comms rooms and one central server room. The server room holds three Dell servers and three RAID-5 arrays (two Dell Power Edge 1950 Dual Quad Core Xeon 4GB RAM; two serial attached SCSI Dell MD 1000 7.5TB RAID-5 arrays; 1x Dell R610 Dual Quad Core Xeon 4GB RAM; and one serial attached SCSI Dell MD1000 15TB RAID-5 array) offering redundancy and a total storage capacity of 30 Terabytes.
The servers contain XProtect Enterprise software which records, manages and enables viewing of the video images. The combined system provides near total coverage of the site and has the E6 school reports virtually eliminated bullying, vandalism, unauthorised entry into the school and theft of school property. All specification, installation and configuration work was by Middlesex-based Security Systems Technology Limited (SST).

XProtect Enterprise provides the academy’s managers with a tool for delivering an open and safe environment for more than 1,500 pupils, aged 11 to 16. The software lets some 20 teachers in pastoral roles do monitoring. Relevant cameras are also displayed on quad-view monitors in the school’s library and reception office. The building of the academy’s sixth form centre later in 2012 will also see the integration of Milestone with a Paxton Access system so that the three entrances into the centre will only be accessible using an identity card. The Paxton ID card reader will be integrated with cameras covering these entrances to ensure that only the 300 authorised sixth formers and relevant staff can enter the building. Graham Glass says: “Milestone has proved a very accessible and intuitive system for viewing a wide array of cameras here at Brampton Academy. The interface is easy to manage and recorded images can be quickly found when rare incidents do occur.  Milestone partner SST (Security Systems Technology Limited) keeps us up to speed with technical enhancements which Milestone is continually bringing to XProtect to keep our initial security investment future-proof.” Brampton Manor Academy in East London is funded directly by central government. Parts of the original 1950s-built school have had major refurbishment, under the nationwide Building Schools for the Future scheme.

About the installer

Milestone partner SST was awarded the six-figure contract after a competitive tender process in early 2009. SST did an audit of requirements and selected different IP camera makes and models based on a mix of technical and site-specific factors such as the amount of backlight available to the camera, deterrent value, field of view needed, cost and likelihood of being tampered with. SST selected cameras for their ability to deliver to specification for each location – whether monitoring one of Brampton Manor Academy’s long corridors, doorways, a gym, library, sports hall, parents interview room, the state-of-the-art music centre, 300-seat theatre and car park.  Particular attention was paid to aesthetics.  SST not only sited cameras sensitively but also ensured that trunking work, designed to protect and hide wiring to internal cameras, blended into the surrounding walls up into the cabling trays in the ceiling voids. Cameras are there to protect staff, pupils, their possessions, and the £17m main school building and equipment. For example, cameras are placed sensitively to deter graffiti. A regular cleaning and checking regime is also used to report any fresh graffiti in the toilet cubicles or on walls. If graffiti is spotted, it is reported and a member of staff can access the software to pinpoint the images and identify pupils relevant to the time when the graffiti must have happened since the previous timed check. Graham Glass says:  “Through analysis using Milestone we can see who has entered the toilets during a specific time and then use the evidence to take disciplinary action where appropriate. Needless to say graffiti is rarely a problem these days.” Cameras are identified by their location and dragged and dropped into viewing groups on-screen.  For Brampton Manor  these groups include ‘corridors’, ‘media centre and theatre’, ‘external’, ‘sports hall’ and ‘doorways’. SST has learnt that Milestone has further extended the user functionality of XProtect Enterprise so that it will be possible shortly for the academy’s teachers to drill down to live or recorded video views from specific cameras directly from an overhead map of the building on-screen.  The software developers have enabled importing and integration of bitmaps of buildings with system component placements depicting the networked devices that are viewable.   
SST fitted two rooms with audio recording, integrated and synchronised with the IP cameras so audio and video can be used as evidence in case of any abusive language. The first room is a parent interview room where a pupil’s behaviour can be discussed with parents.  The second is a ‘time out’ room where pupils are sent to be alone, after any poor behaviour.  Also mounting an AXIS 233D PTZ camera on a 10-metre poll at the edge of the school’s property, connecting it via 10/100 ethernet link and two Netgear WG602v4 wireless Access Points in wireless point-to-point bridge mode, supported by two omni-directional, high-gain antennas for transmission of high resolution video transmitting back to the network at a consistent 54 Mbps. Graham Glass adds: “Coverage is now excellent. If there is an incident of any kind we can find it quickly in Milestone and use the video, and in some cases audio evidence to tackle any wrong-doing which is now very rare.” As for the Sixth Form Centre, the Academy hopes to hand over access control management to the sixth formers.  “We want to trust them to use their swipe cards to enter restricted areas themselves rather than having to physically be there to unlock ICT rooms and other areas where valuable equipment is located.  There is clear mutual benefit in using security technology to help pupils take more responsibility for things,” Graham Glass says. He sums up: “We have fewer problems today partly because we are a better school in which pupils are more motivated to succeed … one of the reasons we are a better school is because of the Milestone-based surveillance system.”  


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