We were approached by Todmorden High School, on the edge of the Pennines, to offer advice and a quotation for a campus wide PA system. Todmorden High School is set across two buildings within an 11 acre site, and home to over 1000 folk each school day.
It is a successful and oversubscribed school, judged to be consistently ‘Good’ by Ofsted. The safeguarding of its students remaining of paramount importance, as does safety for all.
System Requirements from a pro-active School
Todmorden High School proposed a need for a solution that would ensure strong levels of protection were in place, ahead of any major incident.
The Leadership team and Governors had identified the growing risk of site intrusion, both inside and outside of school hours, and had learnt from recent high profile national cases were intruders to site had caused significant damage, worry and threat. Although the school had an entry level system offering an evac and invac solution, together with a suite of CCTV cameras, they were deemed to be vulnerable given a lack of visibility in key areas, and an inability to address the whole school, should an emergency situation arise.
The option to make announcements to the staff and student body, in relation to seasonal events and moments of national silence, were also felt to be pivotal steps forward in terms of school improvement, on occasions the option to play music across the campus would also be of value and support open evening events, providing a welcoming backdrop on entry to the school. A further option for the school was the inclusion of a ‘roving mic’ so that the Headteacher could address Sports Day, and speak with real amplification when needed, crucial in terms of fire evacuation and planned termly drills. The PA has assisted with the day to day running and the moral of the school. They have long since lost their loudhailer.
The solution was a 100v Inter-M system using the latest analogue audio network bridges to link the detached buildings. On the initial visit, Alarmtech recognised that although the main building was large, cables could easily be run through the schools suspended ceiling and some usable pre installed containment. This meaning a conventional 100v line system was going to be the most cost effective solution. The school was split into 8 individually controlled zones which could be paged to separately or as a collective. Where possible Inter-M ceiling speakers was recessed into the ceiling for a sleek finish, alternatively a robust high mounted wall speaker was used in areas such as the gym and hall. Inside the main school office is a lockdown activation button that when triggered latches into position continuously playing a pre recorded lockdown message. A RM-8000 microphone is also located in the office allowing simple paging to the entire site. We completed all site design and a bespoke off-site rack build minimising time to be spent on site, allowing the project to be delivered well in time for the start of term.
Cost vs Impact
The School was supported in its aim by securing the approval of Finance Governors. Staff were reassured that the school had invested in developing a secure site with lockdown strategies fit for 2021 and the future, a key factor in strengthening staff wellbeing.
The site is now well placed to respond as a collective to any eventuality, and has benefited greatly from staff buy in relation to the capital spend. Staff and students feel valued and invested in. Everyone matters.
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