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Communications technology for independent schools – why their needs differ
Posted by Simon Dunstan on 05/01 at 10:00 AM Education, Data networks, Internet connectivity, IT services, Telephone systems, Wi-Fi,
Communications solutions for independent schools image

We design and deploy plenty of communications solutions for schools but we find independent schools more challenging as their needs are more complicated.


Like all educational establishments, independent schools are looking to digital transformation to try to find cost savings and to be more efficient. However, whereas state schools have been historically constrained by the county council services offered to them, independent schools have always had the freedom to choose where they purchase their goods and services from.


For instance, whereas state-funded schools and academies may have used Grid for Learning services for their internet connectivity and web filtering, independent schools often bought more cost-effective and efficient services on the open market.


In recent years, state schools have started doing the same as our recent infographic reveals. In addition to internet connectivity and web filtering, they are looking to businesses like swcomms for their telephony services, Wi-Fi and, even, IT support. Again, independent schools are one step ahead, not only because they can, but because they have had to be.


Independent schools often encompass large sites accommodating old buildings. Rather than year groups, these schools are run on house systems, have boarders, have longer days and staff live on site. Their communications needs are far more complex so they have had to seek out solutions that have been a step up from the norm.


We have delivered such solutions to Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Stowe School, among many others and these have included the following elements:


  • Resilient telephone systems to ensure these schools are contactable at all times
  • Migration from outdated ISDN services to SIP to find significant cost savings
  • Multiple extensions for all departments, houses, management, tutors, etc.
  • Multi-layered automated attendant so callers can reach who they need as quickly as possible without having to disturb busy receptionists and administration staff
  • Contact centre applications to cope with increased calls for exam results or for emergency situations
  • Modern local area networks to support all voice and data needs
  • Campus-wide Wi-Fi – both outside and within the school buildings – without any blackspots to support mobile devices and telephone handsets for mobile members of staff
  • Reliable, business quality internet connectivity that truly meets the school’s needs
  • Easy-to-manage web filtering to protect your students, staff and network from harmful content and intrusion  
  • Engineering and IT support to relieve pressure on IT staff

Obviously, these elements can be applied to state schools too. We design bespoke solutions that suit the particular school or college we are working with and use innovative technology to meet their requirements...whatever they are. 


If you want to find out more about the solutions we have delivered to the aforementioned independent schools, you can download the case studies here Cheltenham Ladies’ College and Stowe School or give me a call and I would be happy to discuss your needs.

Posted by
Simon Dunstan's avatar
Simon Dunstan on 05/01/2018

A real long-server, Simon has worked for us since 1998. He is a highly motivated senior account manager with an in-depth knowledge of solution sales.

Responsibility for new business development, tender bid management and ongoing account management, Simon thoroughly believes in providing real value for money using innovative communications technology to help achieve business needs.

Simon is father to two energetic boys. He is head coach of Sidmouth U8s rugby team and is an Exeter Chiefs season ticket holder.