England’s oldest school was brought up to date with a bespoke solution covering the complex estate of 220 separate buildings, from medieval Grade 1 listed structures to brand new premises.
The King’s School is a co-educational independent school within the Precincts of Canterbury Cathedral, with over 820 students aged 3-18 across the Senior and Junior schools. The vast estate is set over an entire city, with an incredibly diverse mix of historic buildings dating back as early as 597AD, through to state-of-the-art developments built within the last two years.
Amenities that include day and boarding houses, staff accommodation, recreational centres and sports centres, and a newly built science hub, international college, theatre and performing arts centre, are dispersed across a vast area; many within the public cathedral grounds, and others isolated further afield.
Student safety is a priority for The King’s School management team and as part of a comprehensive review of all aspects of security, from safety policies to major incident planning, a rigorous tender process resulted in Sunstone Systems becoming the school’s security partner tasked with providing solutions to meet their unique and complex needs.
At the time of the review, security was dependent upon disparate analogue CCTV systems and a range of hardware and software from multiple suppliers. Sunstone looked at the entire system to identify opportunities for a more holistic and robust solution that would also be easier and more cost-effective to manage and flexible enough to meet the needs of how the site would continue to evolve over time.
Moving from the confinements of an analogue system to the flexibility of a digital solution was crucial to be able to meet these needs. Sunstone designed and installed a new Internet Protocol (IP) surveillance system platform providing an opportunity to bring the school’s old surveillance system up to date by migrating different buildings in planned phases, while connecting new projects to a central system immediately. Wireless point-to-point links were installed where direct network connection is not possible between buildings – a significant issue in such a large site giving the central security office the opportunity to see different camera viewing options for each site. An innovative access control system is being implemented over the school’s sites to set the basis for facilities and building management.
Being a World Heritage Site, it was also essential to consider how to implement new technologies in a sympathetic way to complement both historical and brand-new buildings. Sunstone worked closely with The King’s Schools construction and electrical contractors to collaborate on the best ways to achieve this. To date 14 new projects have been delivered with CCTV, access control and intruder systems. All connected to the new central platform. As part of updating the older buildings HDTVI technology was implemented utilising existing cable runs, reducing the impact to buildings and infrastructure and offering a more cost-effective route. Camera housing was specifically designed to fit with the environment.
Now the school has a significant number of IP CCTV camera’s, access control points and intruder alarm systems. The phased upgrade approach has seen the IP system grow to encompasses numerous buildings all linked together to provide one central security system. All systems used allow for growth over a period of time to allow the school to best manage its annual budgets. The collaborative approach between Sunstone and King’s School Security teams and contractors created a true partnership to be able to deliver shared goals ensuring the best outcomes for the School. This has resulted in the security team having a system that is easy to use, supported by engineers who understand the school and its restrictions with the ability to continually flex the security system as new projects come online.
Ben Hartley, King’s School Security Manager:
“Safeguarding our pupils remains at the forefront of everything we do at King’s. Our continued work with Sunstone Systems has enabled us to maintain the highest standard of CCTV and access control allowing the school to, not only meet but, exceed the expectations of all of its stakeholders. The team at Sunstone has developed a deep understanding of the unique environment in which we work and their customer focus combined with excellent product installation means that we can continue to provide a safe and secure environment within which our pupils can thrive.”