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The Blair-led Government unveiled the largest UK schools spending programme for 50 years back in 2004. This unprecedented £55bn investment programme which was called Building Schools for the Future (BSF) led to the construction of more than 70 new schools and the extension and rebuilding of many more.
Early adopters of IP video
This unprecented upgrade and expansion programme also led to an IT boom in the sector. One bi-product was that schools became early adopters of IP camera technology. You only have to look at many of the earlier installations of Axis network camera systems and Milestone Video Management Software (VMS) back in 2007 to see how new schools, colleges and academies were embracing the next generation of IP-based surveillance ahead of most other sectors.
At this point the primary focus of systems was to reduce vandalism and stamp out bullying as well as safeguarding pupils. It was also deployed to prevent theft; and help investigate damage to school buildings and incidents on school grounds. The new cameras were used to identify suspects as well as saving time and manpower following the reporting of an incident. Initially cameras were confined to entrances, corridors, stairwells, ICT rooms, outdoor play areas and school perimeters.
Video used for distant learning and student doctors
It is also possible to see video as part of schools’ and Further Education institutions’ wider Curriculum Management Systems (CMS) upgrades and Audio-Visual improvement strategies. For example in one ground-breaking deployment at the University of St Andrews Medical School, Axis network cameras and Milestone VMS sits at the heart of a system called MedVu which enables students to gather video evidence of practical skills learning as they train to become doctors. This evidence is stored and remains accessible securely to the medical students throughout their studies at St Andrews (see ref video).