Installation of a New
    Access Control System

    St Edward’s School, Oxford was founded in 1863. Currently, it has approximately 660 pupils, between the ages of 12 and 18, 76% of whom are boarders. The academic standard is very high and the school offers a huge extra-curricular programme of sport, music, and drama.

    Like all schools, St Edward’s takes the security of its staff, pupils, their possessions, and its premises very seriously. The majority of the school’s students are boarders, which the school accommodates in eleven accommodation blocks.

    Chris Lewis Fire & Security was initially asked to install access control to the boarding houses in 2001. Four years later, it was commissioned to upgrade and network the access control system to provide more flexible access to staff and students.

    St Edwards School Chris Lewis 2
    St Edwards School Chris Lewis 3

    The Challenge

    More recently St Edward’s has needed to upgrade the fire protection system in one of the boys’ boarding houses, Apsley House, and to incorporate disabled access in some of their accommodation blocks. It required two of the girl’s boarding houses and two of the boy’s boarding houses to be installed with automated doors and access control pads at heights which complied with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).

    Richard Hayes added, “We made the decision that it is not currently feasible to provide disabled access across all the accommodation blocks, but by installing it at two of the girl’s and two of the boy’s houses we can give disabled pupils an option as to which house they join.”

    The Solution

    Chris Lewis Fire & Security installed a Paxton Net 2 access control system with minimal disruption by using the school’s existing IT network and cables. The system allows the school to monitor and control movement across its buildings, and it is centrally-managed through a Windows-based user interface. This interface can be accessed from any workstation on the school’s network.

    Any number of authorised personnel can remotely access the software simultaneously. The software permits authorised personnel to control every door on the system individually, as well as to amend access rights of proximity fobs as required.

    This makes the system particularly useful as fobs can be issued to contractors and cleaners who only need access to specific areas at certain times. Other features include the ability to cancel a fob if it is lost or stolen, to issue a new or temporary fob, and to run reports on users’ and building’s access history.

    Students gain access in and out by entering a code into the keypads located at the doors. Authorised staff can change the code when necessary and control times when doors can be opened using the keypad. 

    At times when movement of students needs to be restricted, the system is programmed to allow entry only to those with an authorised proximity fob. This means the school can secure students in their accommodation blocks at night, whilst authorised staff can enter and exit the buildings as needed. 

    We also integrated the access control system with the school’s fire alarm system so that if smoke is detected, the doors in that building are released automatically. 

    Break glass sounders incorporated into the access control system were installed on each door. In the event of an emergency an individual can break the glass to release the door. The system’s interface identifies which door has been released, so staff can respond immediately to any potential problem.

    Richard Hayes added, “The system offers the ideal solution for keeping our students secure and keeping unwanted intruders out. The versatility of the system is ideal for a school environment because it enables us to restrict access at certain times. So, for example, we can let cleaners in only at those times when they’re working, and we can ensure that the pupils are safe and secure after school hours.” The Net2 system is extremely versatile and highly extendable. As St Edward’s decides to install access control in other buildings, the system can simply be programmed to incorporate the additional doors.
    The fire system upgrade to Apsley House had to be completed in four days to meet the school’s own time constraints, so a team of experienced engineers was deployed to work round the clock to complete the job on time. Richard Hayes commented, “Chris Lewis Fire & Security’s engineers did an excellent job in very difficult circumstances.”
    Disabled access at four of the accommodation blocks was provided by installing automated doors and lowering the keypads and proximity readers to the height recommended in the DDA.

    A very happy client

    “We have a long-standing relationship with Chris Lewis Fire & Security and we greatly value their product and technical knowledge, and their professionalism. They provide a very efficient call-out service if we experience a problem and their engineers are always very friendly and efficient.”
    Richard Hayes, Estate Bursar, St Edward's School

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