Published on 4 April, 2006
A girls' college has shown that CCTV is not only useful for crime prevention - it can be used as a staff training tool, too.
Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College for Girls in Thornton Heath, Surrey has invested in the latest video surveillance technology from Vicon to enable it to remote monitor the performance of trainee teachers via CCTV cameras.
The college, which has more than 900 students studying at its secondary school and sixth form centre, invests heavily in the ongoing training of its teaching staff and has its own teacher training facility. Norbury Manor recently decided to introduce CCTV in its observation room to monitor how teachers taking a class interact with their pupils.
Patrick Harris, network manager at Norbury Manor, says remotely monitored CCTV is less intrusive than the usual methods used to assess the performance of trainee teachers. "Traditionally, a trainee teacher is either filmed by someone sitting in the room with a camera, or the teacher's mentor sits in the classroom observing the teacher's performance and taking notes," says Patrick. "The trouble with both these approaches is that they're off-putting to the teacher who might already be nervous."
Norbury Manor wanted a CCTV system which would not only capture video of a teacher taking a class, but also record audio to allow the college to assess what teachers are saying to their pupils. Finding such a system proved difficult for Vistec Systems, the security installation company contracted by the college to find such a system, until it came across Vicon's Kollector Elite Digital Recording System.
Ron Wakeling, business development manager at Vistec Systems, says: "The Vicon Kollector was the only system we could find that has the ability to lip sync with perfect accuracy. With the other systems we looked at, the sound of the person talking was out of sync with the movement of their lips on video."
The college's observation room is covered by one fixed CCTV camera and three Vicon Surveyor VFT cameras with pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) functions. Video images from the cameras are recorded onto the Vicon Kollector and transmitted over Norbury Manor's Local Area Network for viewing in any room in the college by authorised staff from a desktop or laptop PC. The Vicon Kollector uses ViconNet software that enables digitally recorded audio and video footage to be transmitted over IP for remote viewing and sharing of images.
Norbury Manor's Patrick Harris says: "We have a range of PCs which we can control the Kollector from. Because the system is networkable, if we have to move the location of the observation room, we won't have to spend masses of money on relocating the CCTV system too."
The college has been so impressed with Vicon Kollector and ViconNet that it's considering equipping other classrooms with remotely monitored CCTV. Vicon and video surveillance, it seems, is helping Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College for Girls live up to its motto: "Progress to Excellence".