Cornerstone C of E

Cornerstone C of E Primary School is situated in Whiteley near Fareham, Hampshire, and currently teaches almost 219 students aged four to 11.

The issue:

Cornerstone was working with Hampshire County Council on a new-build and needed a replacement phone system for when they moved into their new site which opened in September 2021.

Cornerstone had already adopted digital technology to enhance teaching and learning by empowering collaboration and communication across the school community. They had become one of just nine Microsoft Showcase Primary Schools in the UK.


The solution:

The school has adopted Microsoft Teams to support communication between staff members but also to interact with their pupils for home schooling. They even used some of the more advanced features, using polls to enable the pupil council to ask for votes from their classmates to pick themes for the following weeks.

As proficient adopters of Teams, Cornerstone contacted swcomms to discuss how they could expand its use to include a telephony solution. Cornerstone and swcomms held an initial discussion to understand what the school needed from a phone system to ensure the Teams solution would be suitable.


We also worked closely with the county council and the school’s IT company to ensure all parties were confident in its capabilities.


Our education consultant demonstrated how the Teams telephony solution would work on a daily basis by showing the school how the main call features worked, including transfer and forwarding, with notifications if any missed calls appearing in the Activity tab in Teams.


On deployment, voicemail was provided to every user with messages being sent as transcriptions in emails for convenient retrieval. These can be used by reception staff collecting absence messages at the start of the day after parents’ calls have been greeted and routed by the automated attendant to relieve the early morning call traffic congestion.


The school benefits from a single pane of glass management with the majority of their communications tools - calls, instant messaging, user presence, video meetings and screen-sharing - access via the Teams platform. It links with the school’s Outlook calendars as well to indicate when staff members are in a meeting, on a call, away from their desks or on leave to enable their colleagues to choose the most appropriate way to contact them.


Staff used Yealink handsets to suit more traditional users, but they can also use PC softphones or mobiles across multiple devices to give them mobility options around school and while working from home.


We also linked the neighbouring rectory to the school’s solution for easy communication between the two.

We migrated the school’s existing lines and telephone numbers to Gamma’s Direct Routing for Teams service, which was more cost-effective solution than Microsoft’s calling plan.

The school enjoys free calls and, in the unlikely event of a Teams outage, Gamma’s SIP Trunk Call Manager, will redirect incoming calls to mobiles to minimise disruption. The Teams solution can also be used on the 4G network should there be an internet outage.

Following installation, the school benefited from our Teams end-user training to show them how to use all its features. Cornerstone uses our ongoing managed support for any day-to-day moves, adds and changes, with our support desk on hand if any issues arise. The school also benefits from regular contact with their dedicated account manager to advise them of any technological updates and to generally check they are still happy with the solution.


The testimonial:

"Working in close partnership with swcomms to develop our use of Microsoft Teams for our telephone system has simplified processes and made our communications more effective and efficient.

“Staff can take and make calls from school phones, laptops and mobile phones from anywhere at any time within the school.

“The automatic recording of messages: which are then transferred into audio and text transcripts for the office team, save time and give greater clarity.

“Although we still think we can develop our uses of the system further, it has already provided multiple benefits.”

Tim Clarke, headteacher


Download the full case study

More information:

Read our blog: Find out how schools can use Microsoft Teams as a telephone system
Watch our video guide to Connect the Classroom
Read our blog: Making the HSPN 2.1 withdrawal deadline an opportunity for Hampshire schools

Contact us directly on 0800 054 6789 or via email to to find out more and a quote from our consultants.

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