Fareham Academy was founded in 2013 providing secondary school education to around 750 students.
The Academy had been a South West Communications Group customer for 20 years as we had been their telecoms provider when they were known as Neville Lovett Community School. The Academy was investigating VoIP telephony as a replacement for their existing 68-user system as the IT team wanted a solution that was easy to manage. They also knew the finance department would welcome any cost savings.
We recommended a Gamma Horizon cloud-hosted solution run over a new leased line from swcomms. The Academy had been using a 100Mbps leased line from a local supplier but we were able to supply a 250Mbps connection on a 1Gbps bearer, which means they will be able to increase their bandwidth at any time. We were supplying a superior connection, but it was going to cost less than their existing one.
With this connection in place, the Academy could benefit from a cloud-hosted telephony solution purchased on a per user basis with all ongoing support and upgrade costs built in. Calls to UK landlines and mobiles are free meaning that the combined cost of the new leased line and cloud-hosted solution was less than the existing outgoings.
The other benefits of the Horizon solution included:
Automated attendant – to answer every call with a welcome message and to route them to the most appropriate department. The Academy offers seven options: student absence, staff absence, year leaders, marketing, finance, community and reception. Reception staff do not have to transfer every call which allows them to deal with personal enquiries and other admin tasks.
Absence lines – for the reporting of student and staff absence. Messages can be left at any time or calls are answered by a dedicated member of staff in the mornings. If they are already on an absence call, a message can still be left on the voicemail system.
Voicemail-to-email – is especially useful for year leaders while they are teaching and are away from their desks. They receive notification of a waiting voicemail message via their email for retrieval at a more convenient time.
Handset twinning – with their mobile phones to give the Academy mobility options. The IT team uses this feature so they can be contacted while they are away from their desks. It is also used by staff on school trips, so rather than give out personal mobile numbers, parents are given school numbers that ring on these mobiles. This ensures personal mobiles are not called outside school trip times.
The Academy receives the same level of attention from swcomms with regular contact from their dedicated account manager and our service desk is on standby to receive any fault reports. The Academy has benefited from the long-term support of one of our DBS-checked engineers who is familiar with the site and the staff.
Management of the system is much easier with the IT team able to carry out moves, adds and changes for themselves via a web-based portal, which means they do not have to wait or pay for third party engineering support.
IT manager Steve Griffiths said: “The measure of a new system is how often people mention it and no-one has because it works so well! It is a lot easier to manage which is a massive benefit for us while the staff benefit from all the extra features it provides.”