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Article Date: 9th October 2017

WLS - Smart Card Access Control at South London Primary School

Smart Card Access Control - CCTV System - Security System

WLS - Access Control at Rokeby School

Smart card access control, plus an HD CCTV system were required by Rokeby School near Kingston upon Thames in South West London. The school also needed a new automatic traffic barrier to prevent unauthorised vehicular access and two automatic pedestrian gates to boost safety and security. WLS carried out all the installation work at the beginning of the school’s summer holiday and our engineers completed the work in just two weeks. We spoke to Facilities Manager Simon Heffernan to find out how things went.

Are you happy with the new security system WLS has installed?
We are really pleased with the quality of the security system WLS has provided, particularly the CCTV system. I have seen a few CCTV systems in my time and they have all been quite grainy, particularly after dark. We had a fire engine come out to the school one night and could clearly see the fire fighters as they moved around the site. The infrared part of it is very effective.

How has smart card access control improved school life?
The smart card access control system has made life much easier. We had nothing like it in place before. All we had were keypads, with different codes for every door. Remembering them all was a nightmare. Now we can just walk up, swipe our smart card and the door or gate opens. The old system also did not record any of the comings and goings, now we have it all recorded on the PC.

In addition, different staff members can now have different access levels. We can focus on a specific staff member and build them an individual, tailored package. You can also have timed access, so the smart cards will only work at certain times. At the end of the school day, you can just lock it all up and go home.

We can put our logo on the cards, along with the staff member’s name and a photo. That means the cards can double up as both a security pass and ID as well. The next stage will probably be to have staff use them for the photocopiers too. Currently, the process is quite long winded. You turn round for a moment, it locks you out and you have to put the code in again!

What gave you the confidence to work with WLS?
Once we have chosen a company to do the work, we then have to get references. I must say, every reference that we received for WLS was very complimentary. That gave us a lot of confidence.

How easy was it to understand the initial quotation WLS provided?
The quotation was broken down into a shopping list. WLS listed the different areas, the smart card access control, CCTV, the traffic barrier and gates, in a way that was easy to follow. That is important because I have to go back and sell the system to the bursar. The bursar may have to then go and sell it to the governors. There is a whole chain of decision makers to think about. The information has to be detailed, but not so much so that it is going to baffle the not so technically minded.

The drawings WLS produced were also very helpful. WLS laid everything out so we could visualise where things were going to go, where we were going to put the CCTV and what it was going to do. It helped me sell the idea to the rest of the school’s management and to get it all signed off.

How did you find the installation process?
WLS has done all the work in very good time. Getting the whole system up and running in just two weeks, from the smart card access control to the CCTV and gates, was really impressive. The engineers that were working here were also very friendly and helpful and the whole procedure has been very smooth, from the initial site survey to the final installation.

How well did WLS accommodate any extra requirements you had?
When a contractor comes on site and begins work, inevitably there are always going to be extra things that need doing. For example, we identified a blind spot in the CCTV coverage. WLS was able to accommodate those extras into the same time scale and that was very helpful for us. With schools, there is only ever a very short window of opportunity to get things done.

We are lucky enough to have an eight instead of six week window, but if something goes pear shaped and you don't start until the middle of that window, it is all a bit of a panic at the end. I like to get everything out of the way at the beginning of the summer, then I can go on holiday with a bit of peace of mind that everything has been done. WLS has really bent over backwards to make that happen.

Did WLS provide effective training on how to use the new equipment?
WLS spent half a day showing us how to set up the smart card access control system and how to create the initial smart card templates. Once you have that starting template and you know what it can do, you can then adapt it a later stage. For example, we are creating staff badges to begin with, but in the future, we also want to create visitor badges. The system is very flexible and we are already looking at our other site and thinking about introducing the same system there as well.

Were you happy with the aftercare WLS provided?
There were a few teething problems but WLS came and fixed the issues and everything is fine now. A lot of that has been about getting it all to work how we want it. You get a standard set-up, but not everyone wants things to work the same way. With the entrance barrier for example, we wanted to be able to program it ourselves from the PC, so WLS came back and did a bit of extra wiring on it, which was great.

What else makes WLS a good company to work with?
WLS having all the skills we need under one roof is really helpful. In the past, I have had one company that serviced the barrier, another company that serviced the gates and another company that serviced the gates up at our sports field. Now we have added CCTV as well, and the fact that we can now rely on one company to do everything makes our lives a lot easier. No matter what system we have an issue with; there is one company and one phone number to call. WLS can send an engineer to deal with our CCTV, our barrier and our gates.

If you are looking for smart card access control, CCTV, or automatic electric gates in the London area, please use the email option below. WLS is an NSI Gold and Gate Safe accredited company with 30+ years’ experience.

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