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Education

School goes HD

A case study of a CCTV upgrade at a school on a World Heritage site within the Precincts of Canterbury Cathedral.

The King’s School, Canterbury, a co-educational independent school, has more than 820 students aged 13 to 18, including boarders and day pupils. The school estate includes an diverse mix of old and new, ranging from medieval Grade 1 listed buildings to new premises. Unlike many schools, which typically occupy a single site that can be enclosed, the King’s estate includes around 220 separate buildings; many within the public Cathedral grounds and others further afield. The school also runs security at the affiliated Junior King’s Canterbury, attended by pupils aged three to 13, on an 80-acre estate four miles away.

As at any school, student safety is paramount. In 2015 the school’s management undertook a review of all aspects of security, from safety policies to major incident planning. At the time the site had disparate analogue CCTV systems plus a range of hardware and software from multiple vendors. The school instead wanted to unify systems across all sites from a single manufacturer. However, challenges included logistical, engineering and regulatory restrictions on fitting new wiring and equipment within the historic buildings, some with very thick stone walls. The Department for Education places controls on surveillance in schools. And, a solution had to be cost-effective, bring ease of use and be low maintenance; and support future school development.

The Herne Bay-based security installers Sunstone Systems designed and delivered a customised surveillance solution built around a core base platform with IDIS equipment and software. Once complete, the solution will comprise a mix of 120 cameras from the IDIS fixed range, including domes; network video recorders; and the associated software required. The installer has run HD TVi over existing coaxial cables, thus reducing the need for extensive rewiring. This in turn eliminated the need for extensive engineering work in old buildings, helping to contain costs while meeting Historic England’s heritage requirements. IDIS adds that its software overcame many challenges, for example, by enabling digital enhancements, digital zoom and privacy masking to enable compliance with Department for Education requirements while providing cover in the most sensitive areas of the estate.

The school reports that the system involves less time and administration by staff, delivers reporting and requires minimal maintenance. HD image quality ensures access to indisputable evidence of any incident. At the recreation centre, for example, 23 new IDIS motion-detection cameras enable staff to play back any events that require attention.

Comment

Lee Connelly, Security Manager at The King’s School said: “Safeguarding students is our top priority so we need surveillance we can trust implicitly. Sunstone Systems and IDIS were extremely creative in overcoming our challenges and the solution exceeded expectations. It does everything we wanted and more to protect students, the school and our reputation for responsible stewardship. What’s more, it provides all the flexibility we will need to meet our security requirements as they continue to evolve.”


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