What was the problem?
Lancaster Road Primary School is a large three form entry primary school situated on the outskirts of Morecambe. With around 515 children on the premises, site security and safeguarding is a key priority for the Senior Leadership Team and Governors and this was a priority within the 17/18 School Improvement Plan. The school currently has four external perimeter entrances , one of which leads directly into a large supermarket car park. The School comprises the original building which has been enhanced by a number of extensions and more recently a large capital build to incorporate 6 additional classrooms, meeting rooms and a second school hall. There are a large number of external doors throughout the building - all of which lead directly to playground areas.
The school has an entrance/foyer area which is used by parents, staff, visitors and on occasion children. The layout does not offer a particularly welcoming environment to visitors as bottlenecks are caused by the current signing in solution and door access arrangements. There was no interface between the signing in solution nor the door access system. Staff ID badges were unreliable, often failing at sign in or access and there were often queues to sign in and access the building. In addition, the school had little internal control over the creation of badges nor the permissions assigned for access. This was done externally by a third party often leading to delays in staff being issued badges. In addition, there were elements of the physical door access system which were ineffective due to poor installation and these also needed to be resolved.
In short, Governors had identified the need for a system which met the School Improvement objectives for site safety and security and which offered a fit for purpose, cost effective, flexible solution which could be controlled locally and which had the capacity to encompass all perimeter entrances and external doors from the school.
Why did they choose us?
The School had recently gone through a significant modernisation programme, financed by central Government and delivered by Chris Bowker Ltd. This 12 month programme gave the School Senior Leadership Team the opportunity to experience the 'way Bowker’s work' and to observe our approach to a challenging agenda within a very tight timescale. What the school have told us they experienced was a solutions focussed team which delivered on time, to budget and worked within the parameters of a busy school during term time. This experience gave the School an insight into the philosophy of the company which is very much that of 'can do' partnership working. It followed that when the School Improvement project for site security and safeguarding was identified the School Business Manager contacted Bowker IT for our advice.
Over a period of a couple of months we worked with the School Business Manager to thoroughly understand the problems they were experiencing and to understand what they were trying to achieve. This was an iterative process which led to us drawing up a detailed proposal with clear outcomes. The Governors accepted and commissioned this to be delivered during the summer holidays. This was a large job involving Bowker IT and electrical disciplines together with a third party to deliver the signing in solution software. There were many interdependencies within the project and key to the success of this were clear lines of communication and a clear decision making process within this school. This is something that we always ensure when taking on any project and it was something that the school had identified was very important in terms of the delivery of this project.
What was the solution?
Paxton Net2 was installed to three existing doors to replace the ineffective ones they had. A further side door used by staff was also made to be door access controlled and all mag locks were fixed. A Net2 entry video intercom was installed to secure the Nursery gate and this can now be opened from a variety of positions in school.
A card printer was supplied to be able to make the school ID cards and integrate them with both Paxton and their existing InVentry systems meaning staff only needed one ID card. The school uses a traffic light lanyard for other visitors and staff.
Everything we do as a school is focussed on raising aspirations, improving outcomes for children and ensuring a safe and happy school experience for children. Bowker IT have become integral to our team working closely with us to ensure our IT strategy, infrastructure and provision supports our School Improvement Plan. We are innovative in our approach to IT and everyone we work with at Bowker IT has been flexible, responsive to our needs and able to work in a fast paced ever-changing environment. They take time to listen, understand and provide solutions no matter what they’re faced with. I can highly recommend to any school or business that’s looking for high quality IT support.
Mrs K Sutton, Head Teacher