The Proper Foundation
Independent school in England boosts security on the perimeter
- By Steve Carney
- November 01, 2016
QUEEN ELIZABETH GRAMMAR SCHOOL (QEGS) AND
WAKEFIELD GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL (WGHS) HAVE BEEN
ENRICHING THE LIVES OF THEIR STUDENTS FROM WEST
AND SOUTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND FOR HUNDREDS OF
YEARS. THE PRIVATE SCHOOL FOUNDATION HAS A RICH
HISTORY IN ENGLAND. QEGS HAS THE DISTINCTION OF
BEING FOUNDED BY ROYAL CHARTER OF QUEEN ELIZABETH
I IN 1591 AT THE REQUEST OF LEADING CITIZENS
IN WAKEFIELD, SOME OF WHOM FORMED THE SCHOOL’S
FIRST GOVERNING BODY.
Wakefield Grammar School Foundation has chosen a complete Tyco
Security Products surveillance package that includes Illustra IP cameras
and exacqVision network video recorders with exacqVision VMS
software and Kantech EntraPass access control system pre-installed.
A ROYAL TOUCH
In 1854, QEGS moved to its current location in Northgate, Wakefield,
onto a large campus formerly occupied by the West Riding Proprietary
School. A little more than two decades later in 1878, when a movement
for the social and educational emancipation of women gathered pace
in England, Wakefield Girls’ High School opened with 59 students.
Today, the schools are a modern educational hub, segregated on one
large campus of about 40 buildings of varying sizes, some dating back
to the 16th century. The foundation comprises five schools total as
both QEGS and WGHS have a junior school and senior school, in
addition to the Mulberry House Nursery for ages 3 to 4. Together, the
schools make up the Wakefield Grammar School Foundation (WGSF).
A 19-person governing body and 500-person teaching and support
staff aim to ensure that all 2,100 students can enjoy an excellent, distinguished
education now and in the future.
SECURITY INSIDE AND OUT
Years ago, Wakefield Grammar School Foundation took steps to secure
the insides of its buildings with localized access control at its doors.
More recently, the governing board at the school was concerned that the
perimeter of the campus was unsecured and wanted to put a CCTV
system in place to add an extra layer of security, particularly since the
campus is located near the center of town, as well as train and bus routes.
The boys’ school is mostly fenced in, but has a gate that remains largely
open during school hours. The girls’ school has a low wall around most
of its buildings, which could potentially be scaled by a trespasser.
“The inside of the building was taken care of, but we needed a system
that would help us see strangers coming onto the site or others
that shouldn’t be there,” said David Butterfield, estates and contracts
manager at WGSF.
In searching for a surveillance package that would suit their needs,
Butterfield determined that the system would need to be easy to use
and produce clear images that could help identify a person and be used
to send information to the appropriate authorities, if necessary. In
addition, Butterfield’s years of experience in this area helped him
determine that a security package that would allow WGSF to expand
its capabilities and integrate its systems in the coming years was
important as well.
CHOOSING THE SOLUTION
With their security needs laid out, Butterfield decided that a complete
Tyco system provided them with the most cost-effective, robust solution.
After Tyco Security Products completed a site survey, Butterfield
was given a list of types of equipment and approved installers. Reflex
Systems of South Yorkshire, England, an integrator with close to three
decades of experience across security, life safety and fire installations
throughout the United Kingdom, was selected for the project.
Together, WGSF and Reflex Systems determined that exacqVision
VMS software, along with exacqVision NVRs with pre-installed Kantech
Onboard access control software, and 15 Illustra high-resolution
IP cameras would be the best solution to secure the campus’ perimeter.
“They had done quite a bit of research on everything. Once they
came to us, we decided that going with the Kantech embedded software
was the best decision from a future-proofing point of view,” said
Steven Ward, technical director, Reflex Systems.
Camera performance and image quality were some of the most
important factors for WGSF. Ten of the 3 MP Illustra Pro mini-domes
and five Illustra Pro LT bullet IP cameras allowed the campus to cover
all entry and exit points on the grounds, see critical details, as well as
perform well in areas with little to no sunlight. In addition to camera
performance, a selling point for WGSF was the strong integration
between exacqVision VMS software and Illustra cameras as one unified
product, optimizing performance, simplifying deployment, and
saving time and money. With exacqVision EasyConnect, WGSF could
automatically address and configure the IP cameras for fast installation.
If a network outage were to occur, exacqVision will automatically
reconnect to the Illustra cameras.
“It’s really easy to use and the quality of images is great. Zooming in
on faces is so easy to do, and the night time images are just really good,” Butterfield said.
One of the concerns that WGSF had before embarking on the project
was making sure the school’s bandwidth would be able to handle
distribution of camera signals without disruption. Reflex Systems
helped the organization’s IT team design a solution that would work
perfectly before installation of the security equipment. In addition, the
Illustra cameras’ bandwidth-friendly performance aided in making
sure everything would go smoothly.
“The installation went absolutely seamlessly. We prewired extra IT
points where cameras were going to be and when it came time to connect
everything to the network, they were snapped in and up and
working right away. It was a great experience,” Butterfield said.
Not long after the installation, WGSF directly benefitted from the
image quality and ease of use of its new system when a few of the
teachers at the school noticed an unfamiliar person walking around
the campus and reported the incident. “They were able to give me a
time and I pulled up the incident so easily, with great quality of images.
I was really impressed with that,” Butterfield shared. While the incident
was just a concern and nothing more, the speed, ease and quality
at which Butterfield was able to pinpoint the incident cemented in his
mind that they had chosen the right security solution.
While the school has not yet integrated its access control system, the
exacqVision Kantech Onboard combines the power of exacqVision
recorders with an access control system within one recorder. exacqVision
recorders with Kantech Onboard will enable WGSF to have quick
access to the most needed access control commands. The integration
of the two platforms on one system greatly improves response time to
critical alarms and events.
“The exacqVision VMS with Kantech On-board and Illustra cameras
is an ideal solution for educational environments who need easy
access to clear, crisp images and an intuitive interface that staff positions
can operate with ease,” said Stuart Bettle, Video Product Marketing
Manager, EMEA, Tyco Security Products. “The addition of the
Kantech EntraPass access control system onto the exacqVision recorders
will enable WGSF to manage and configure both video and access
control from a single hardware platform for a complete and cost-effective
FINDING MORE CAPABILITY
With the school’s current surveillance needs taken care of, WGSF is
looking forward to being able to use even more capabilities of the system
in the future as its security needs evolve. For example, Butterfield
plans to use the Exacq and EntraPass Go mobile apps so that the campus
night guard can view video from his or her mobile phone, as well
as integrating alarm features that will alert users to an event.
In addition, while WGSF’s access control was a standalone system,
one of the benefits that the organization saw in installing exacqVision
NVRs with Kantech Onboard is that they can integrate video and
access control in the future. With the pre-installed and pre-licensed
access control software embedded right on the server, WGSF will be
able to manage and configure both video and access control from a
single interface for a more cost-effective, complete
solution. This saves hardware maintenance
and power expenses by eliminating the need for a
dedicated access control server.
This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of CSLS.