Brian Sims

Access control solution from Paxton safeguards Christ’s Hospital School

CHRIST’S HOSPITAL School in Horsham, which plays host to circa 900 pupils (the majority of whom are boarders), is benefiting from the installation of Net2, the flagship networked access control solution developed by Paxton.

Christ’s Hospital School boasts a long history. It first opened its doors to 380 pupils back in November 1552. At that time, the educational establishment was located in London’s Newgate Street. King Edward VI became the school’s patron and founder, for the most part due to efforts expended by him to ensure charitable measures were put in place that would provide clothing, lodging and learning for London’s poorest.

In 1902, a new site was acquired for the school in Horsham, where it has remained to this day. The original building was deconstructed and then rebuilt. Across the intervening period since then, Christ’s Hospital has become widely known and respected in the UK for its outstanding education principles and the diverse breadth of pupils educated within.

On that last point, it’s the stated mission of Christ’s Hospital School to continue to enable those from diverse backgrounds to attend, be educated and thrive.

Replacement solution

Last year, the management team – led by security manager David Kennedy – needed to replace the school’s security system with a new solution that would be simple to manage and maintain for the benefit of the pupils and members of staff, not to mention the site itself. Vistec Systems Ltd, an integrated security systems provider based in Crawley, was tasked with meeting that challenge head-on.

With the 18 boarding houses on site all requiring different access permissions, as well as the school buildings, the dining hall and other common areas to consider, it was imperative that the school’s new security system could manage a huge number of doors and users, while at the same time providing a simple and user-friendly experience.

James Brookes, operations manager at Vistec Systems Ltd, informed Security Matters: “I’ve been working with Paxton’s systems for over 12 years now. As soon as I heard the requirements for Christ’s Hospital School, I knew that Net2 would be the right solution.”

Net2 is designed to make the management of any site straightforward. Easy to use and with a range of features, it moves beyond the basics of controlling the flow of people around a building, offering benefits such as building control and system integration. The Net2 system is easily scalable, making it perfectly suited to this particular school’s needs.

Brookes continued: “There were a few challenges to contend with for this installation, including the need to use existing cabling, the limited space for hardware storage and also time constraints. We needed to install over 280 readers and all the supporting Net2 plus access control units in only six weeks, while all of the students were on their summer holidays. Thanks to Net2 being so easy to install and occasional assistance from the members of Paxton’s technical support team, we were able to deliver.”

Prior experience

David Kennedy had previous experience of working with the Net2 solution gained in a previous job and was pleased with the proposal to deploy the Paxton system at Christ’s Hospital School.

“I knew that Net2 would be a great choice to manage a site of this size,” commented Kennedy. “This time around, it was possible to install the Net2 Marine Readers. They’re visually appealing and also provide a clear, lit indication of where the door is and whether or not access has been granted. I cannot speak more highly of them.”

Christ’s Hospital School’s new security system provides simple ‘read in’/‘read out’ access on all doors. As every user needs to present their access token to gain access to and also exit a given building, the Net2 software can provide exhaustive reporting on how many people are on the premises and in any given building, and even pinpoint the location of specific users in an emergency.

The school also has an alert system to ensure students’ safety. The security team will be instantly notified if students leave their dormitories out of normal hours. After a set time, should a student present their Net2 token to a reader to exit the building, an alert will be flagged in the system and the security team will know who’s trying to leave the site (and which building they’re attempting to exit).

Several keypad readers have also been installed on the external doors of relevant buildings to allow access and egress for temporary students who board over the Easter and summer holidays. Students will be issued PINs instead of tokens as the latter may either be lost or not returned. The use of PINs instead of physical tokens in this instance saves time, administration and money for the school when the students depart at the end of their term.

System flexibility

James Brookes from Vistec Systems Ltd added: “To overcome the challenge of the limited space, we used the Net2 Plus One door controller in the PCB-only format and installed several of them in a single Haydon PSU cabinet to minimise the amount of wall space required for the installation. This is another reason why Net2 was the best option for the site. Its inherent flexibility has allowed us to make it work to our advantage.”

The Net2 system has been in use on site since September last year and David Kennedy and his colleagues have reported very few teething problems. All members of staff, students and system administrators are pleased with how easy the Net2 access control system is to use and have mastered all of its features.

There are now plans in place to further extend the already substantial system to secure all of the internal doors on the higher floors of the boarding houses.

*Further information is available online at

**Watch the Case Study video for the Christ’s Hospital School project on YouTube

Company Info

Paxton Access Ltd

Paxton House
Home Farm Road

0044 1273811011

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