Creating a safe and secure learning environment

Issue 2 2021 Education (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Access Control & Identity Management

The age-old question for education providers is where to allocate budgets, with conflicting priorities and scarce resources proving to be an ongoing challenge. While security can often be the last item on the agenda, investing in solutions that keep people safe, reduce cybersecurity risks, protect assets, and optimise facility use, is essential to creating an effective and protected learning environment.

For University College London (UCL), managing the access of over 42 000 enrolled students, 20 000 staff, and a system of more than 70 000 cardholders across its multi-site campus seemed like an immense undertaking. The sheer scale of the university’s operations determined the need for a comprehensive electronic access control solution to manage multiple systems, while providing unobtrusive, yet robust security.

A single identity

Gallagher Command Centre’s integrated security solution made it easy, connecting the university’s 107 buildings, controlling 1291 doors, 52 turnstiles, and 37 lifts. Gallagher systems also secure UCL’s top security areas such as high-risk research space and data centres, while helping to divide public and semi-public areas from departmental spaces. The solution was integrated with staff, student, and visitor records systems, and filters duplications to ensure a single identity for efficient cardholder management.

As a growing organisation, UCL’s security requirements are continually changing, but the scalability of the Gallagher system means that its needs can be consistently met. “Gallagher systems have been introduced as a progressive response to the need for more security control on site,” said Mike Dawe, security systems manager for University College London. “As UCL’s estate grows rapidly, the Gallagher system remains a key component of its security response, and in the measures deployed in new buildings.”

Access control management is an important component of effectively managing the flow of people and restricting access when required. Gone are the days when locking a door is a sufficient way to keep students safe.

Securing hostel access

The Western Cape College of Nursing on South Africa’s Athlone Campus, a sprawling complex of lecture halls and administration blocks, including four hostels accommodating 2000 nursing students, is a great example of how access needed to be more secure.

The nursing college had no method of limiting access to its hostels. People came and went as they liked with no record of who was on site, and it was difficult to enforce visitor hours. Theft was a problem and reported cases of sexual assault had become a major concern.

Using Gallagher Command Centre, the college was able to effectively manage access to the hostels using integrated visitor management systems to monitor visitor movement and control visiting periods.

Biometric fingerprint readers were mounted on full-height turnstiles at each of the hostel entrances and exits to prevent unauthorised entry by people using lost or loaned cards. Anti-passback measures built into Command Centre meant students couldn’t ‘pass in’ a visitor, as it recognises and records that someone has tried to enter twice. In the evening, the system generates an alarm and reports on visitors still on site, allowing security to find lurkers and ask people to leave as well as prevent further visitors from entering.

Alongside access control, the college installed a comprehensive video surveillance solution, which has achieved significant cost savings through deterring vandalism and reducing theft. The video management system is seamlessly integrated with Command Centre, creating one easily managed security solution to track student, staff and visitor movements and ensure that when an incident does occur, security staff are quickly informed and able to respond effectively.

Gallagher’s security solution provides a reliable way to clearly capture data, enabling security personnel to easily find the right information for quick incident resolution. This has led to improved processes and procedures, and has aided in convictions.

The combination of the new access control system and an increase in physical security barriers means the college has also been able to decrease the number of security guards patrolling the facility, reducing overhead costs. Customising and generating reports for college management is also a straightforward task, saving time and money.

“We’re hearing more education facilities ask how they can make the most of their security budget,” says Morne Grobler, group operations officer for Africa at Gallagher. “We know, when securing educational facilities, it is critical for systems to be integrated and managed from a single platform. A scalable, integrated approach offers significant cost savings and flexibility, with the peace of mind that students and staff can work and relax in safety while on campus.”

For more information contact Gallagher Security, +27 11 974 4740,,


Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

Retail solutions beyond security
Issue 8 2020, Axis Communications SA, Technews Publishing, Hikvision South Africa , Editor's Choice, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
The need for security technology to deliver more than videos of people falling or stealing from retail stores is greater than ever.

AI-powered hardhat detection
Issue 8 2020, Hikvision South Africa , Industrial (Industry), CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
Hardhats save lives, but only if people wear them. Intelligent, AI-powered hardhat cameras are helping to ensure workers in dangerous locations stay safe at all times.

Cloud surveillance for safer campuses
Issue 2 2021, Secutel Technologies , Education (Industry)
Violence within educational facilities has sadly been increasing over the few past years and includes theft, vandalism, intimidation, and the usual assortment of South African crimes.

Tracking technology keeps learners safe on school trips
Issue 2 2021 , Education (Industry)
Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron, will provide telematics units worth more than R200 000 for scholar transport vehicles in eThekwini, as part of the ‘Safe to School – Safe to Home’ school transport project.

Suprema ranks first in survey
Issue 2 2021, Suprema, neaMetrics , News, Access Control & Identity Management
In a recent survey conducted in Korea, Suprema was chosen as the top brand for access control management software and mobile access solutions.

S&ST launches second App Challenge
Issue 2 2021 , Integrated Solutions, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
Security & Safety Things has launched its second App Challenge for the development of creative, specialised video analytic applications for specific use cases in retail, transportation/smart cities, healthcare and entertainment/stadiums.

Surveillance in remote areas
Issue 2 2021, LD Africa , Products, CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring
The JH016 4G Solar Powered Outdoor Security Camera is designed to meet the security needs for remotely monitoring off-the-grid locations, without Internet/Wi-Fi or power.

Curro adopts hybrid approach to enhanced learning
Issue 2 2021 , Education (Industry)
Curro’s technology landscape is made up of a centralised data centre, on-site data centres, and an intricate network fabric that needs to cater for over 70 000 endpoints and supports over 11 terabytes of traffic every day.

Controlling pedestrian access
Issue 2 2021, Turnstar Systems , Education (Industry)
Turnstiles can be used throughout a site to monitor and protect different areas, for example student residences, dining facilities, computer rooms and libraries – wherever there is a need to allow access only to authorised individuals.

Paxton hires top talent in South Africa
Issue 1 2021, Paxton , News, Access Control & Identity Management
The international access control and video surveillance manufacturer, Paxton, announced it will continue to invest in new talent to accelerate expansion into the South African market.