Case Study: Tidemill Academy, Deptford, Touchscreen Visitor Management
Tidemill Academy is a successful and happy community school in Deptford, South East London. In 2012 Tidemill moved into a state of the art, new location as part of an innovative £29 million Giffin Street Regeneration programme. Co-located with a library and the Deptford Lounge building, they share council facilities with voluntary and community groups, adult education classes, sports facilities and small business start-ups. This exciting development has enabled Tidemill to be fitted out with state of the art classrooms and learning environments.
With the inclusion of the adjacent nursery, Tidemill have the capacity for approximately 480 children. The staff have worked hard to put an excellent support network in place for the pupils. There is a strong community focus and the school is heavily involved in projects attracting visitors as diverse as authors, theatre groups and gymnasts to talk and work with the children. They are a National Teaching School who provide professional development for experienced teachers and leaders as well as working closely with the Institute of Education to train teachers new to the profession. In a typical week Tidemill welcomes 70 – 100 visitors with large groups of up to thirty people arriving in reception. In her role as Office and Administration Manager, Benita Henry was looking for a way to quickly manage a large footfall of visitors whilst maintaining a professional image and safeguarded environment.
There was a paper system already in place but it was becoming difficult to keep up with the volume of visitors and the visitor books were showing signs of daily wear and tear. The contact names were not immediately legible and visitors did not always sign out. As a school fire marshal, this was a safety issue for Benita who could also see how introducing photo-based ID would improve evacuation procedures. Additionally, the large number of paper passes being used meant an electronic option began to make sense from a cost point of view. On top of these very practical considerations, an electronic touchscreen would fit in with the look and feel of the new reception area and the forward looking ethos of Tidemill.
Tidemill is a long-standing customer with SG World, purchasing a number of safeguarding products over the years, so Benita got in touch with David Smith, SG World Account Manager to arrange a demonstration of VisIT ED, a touchscreen visitor management package for schools. VisIT ED combines visitor ID and staff booking-in into one solution with a simple user interface, flexible range of features, one-off licence fee and full UK based support.
Benita went through a detailed selection process, benchmarking VisIT ED with a number of competing options. “We chose VisIT ED for a few reasons – obviously we had a good existing relationship with SG World and an excellent level of support. The costings also stacked up – although the initial up front investment for VisIT ED was higher, in the longer term it proved the most cost effective. The visitor pre-booking and ‘regular visitor’ feature really helped us deal efficiently and speedily with visitors and it just looked better than other products. We are always raising our game and need to adopt best-in-class systems which will support our reputation as an outstanding place of learning.”
Tidemill are one of 11 academies under the REAch2 (Raising Educational Achievement for Children) trust, offering school-to-school support and expertise across the group. “Tidemill are an excellent reference installation for the other trust schools in the cluster to come and see VisIT ED in action.” said David Smith. “The Robert Fitzroy and Aerodrome Primary Academy in the Croydon area are the latest schools in the trust to install Visit ED.”