Chichester High School for Girls is a large comprehensive school in West Sussex serving the educational needs of around 1,500 11 to 19-year-olds. Forty primary schools in the Chichester area feed into the School, and its sixth form is run jointly...
Chichester High School for Girls is a large comprehensive school in West Sussex serving the educational needs of around 1,500 11 to 19-year-olds. Forty primary schools in the Chichester area feed into the School, and its sixth form is run jointly with Chichester High School for Boys.
The School needed a new telephone system to replace their inadequate 3COM IP telephone system that had been installed in 2009. It was no longer feasible as their key communications tool as it was out-of-date and unsupported, therefore if a fault occurred, there was no guarantee it could be fixed. As a result, the School wanted a modern solution that would not become obsolete so quickly and would be supported into the future. It needed a system that would be totally reliable and would be both easy to use and administer.
swcomms took a full ShoreTel IC demonstration kit to the School. The ShoreTel solution is a VoIP telephone system with built-in unified communications (UC) capabilities. Following the demonstration the School took the decision to invest in both swcomms and ShoreTel. The ShoreTel UC solution now provides the School with reliable VoIP telephony for 102 users. Its reputation boasts unrivalled resilience, providing 99.999% availability for mission-critical business continuity. Its innovative single system architecture has created a solution with no single point of failure. It is also completely scalable with capacity for up to 20,000 users. And emerging software upgrades are provided as part of the on-going support of this future-proofed solution to ensure that it will never become obsolete.
UC collaboration features
The solution also provides a whole host of UC collaboration features, such as conferencing, instant messaging, mobility and presence that the School can take advantage of in the future. By choosing the ShoreTel UC, the School has invested in a solution that achieves a lower total cost of ownership. Independent market research has revealed that just 25% of the cost of a telephone system is paid out in the initial deployment with power consumption, on-going management and future additions and enhancements making up the remaining 75%. The School’s IT team has been given the ability to easily manage its own telephone system. For example, they can add a user with just three clicks of the mouse. This self-management reduces the cost of involving third party engineers every time the School needs to make any changes. ~
On a day to day basis, an automated attendant greets all callers with a welcome message and provides options that will efficiently direct their call. They are invited to press 1 to report a pupil’s absence, press 0 for reception or to dial the extension number they require. The School can use the same system to broadcast messages about sports days, school closures, trips, etc, to save the receptionists from having to repeat themselves over and over again. This information is exceptionally easy to amend and can also be accessed and changed remotely. Absence messaging reduces the volume of calls handled by reception staff during the busy morning period. Parents have the ability to leave a message to report their child absent at a time to suit them and staff will have access to this information at a more relevant time.
A clear reception PC interface gives the receptionists clear visibility of the availability of staff on site and to use a simple click and drag option to transfer calls. While voicemail-to-email messages enables staff to quickly access messages that have been left while they were teaching. The administration team no longer has to handwrite or email messages to the staff, as they can simply transfer calls to the relevant member of staff’s mailbox.
Installation was carried out during the February half-term to avoid any disruption during term time. Once complete, the project management and training teams handed over the responsibility for the School’s telephone system to their dedicated account manager, ably support by the customer service team and service desk for a single point of contact for any queries.
To complete the solution, the School’s lines and minutes were also migrated to swcomms’ care to benefit from fair and competitive rates. In conclusion, Chichester High School for Girls has not only purchased a telephone and UC solution that ably serves its immediate and future requirements but has also invested in a strategic relationship with a communications provider that has more than 30 years’ experience in the education sector.
Jim Turner, IT manager of Chichester High School for Girls, said: “I found swcomms a fantastic company to deal with. Despite the fact that they recommended ShoreTel, I never felt it was forced on me. They listened to my requirements and tailored a solution to the school; they did not offer me a ‘call centre’ solution bodged to fit my school. They were also the only company with enough faith in their kit to actually bring in and demonstrate a whole system live for us, which to me is a great endorsement of the ShoreTel products. The whole project came in on time and on budget, and the system just works and all our other technology integrates with it, such a refreshing change for IT in a school.”
Paul Masters, assistant IT manager, said “The engineers that attended the site for the implementation were very polite and friendly. “They arrived with a large amount of the kit already configured and ready to go. It wasn’t long before myself and Jim were running round site deploying the new phones while they were making the finishing touches. The change over to the new system went very smoothly and without any issues. The week following the implementation we had an engineer based on site to assist with user specific configuration changes that needed to be applied. swcomms are a pleasure to work with.”