Case Study: Bexhill High School

Bexhill High School (BHS) is an International Community Technology College, situated in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex. The school is home to over 1,500 students, aged 11 to 18 years.

About Bexhill High School

  • Independent educational college
  • From pre-school to year 12.
  • United Kingdom

Customer Needs

  • Hotdesking for 250 teachers and staff
  • Seamless communication across two sites
  • Improved employee efficiency

Solution Components

  • MiCollab 
  • MiVoice Business on 3300 controllers (2xL)
  • MiVoice IP phones (5340, 5324, 5302, 5304)

In November 2010, the brand new Bexhill High School opened, following funding of £37m from the Government’s Building Schools for the Future programme. A new Skills Centre was also constructed on a second site, offering the community a wide range of vocational courses, from engineering to woodwork, to hair and beauty.

“It was clear that Mitel could offer a costeffective IP communications solution and one that didn’t compromise on features and capability.” - Jon Martin ICT Programme Manager East Sussex County Council

Bexhill High is officially an International Technology Community College and a showcase of technology innovation in education. A new state-of-the-art telephone system was essential, to match the technologically advanced facility.

Jon Martin, ICT Programme Manager at East Sussex County Council, who managed the IT implementation at Bexhill High, explains: “Bexhill High is a state-of-the-art facility offering new ways of learning, with three large LCD screens in every open plan learning pod and wirelessly connected netbook computers for every student. We needed a technologically advanced telephony system to match the fantastic ICT facilities in the school.”

Alongside the Mitel® IP communications platform, MiCollab was deployed, providing Bexhill High with a range of advanced features to better connect staff, parents and students.

“It was clear that Mitel could offer a cost-effective IP communications solution, and one that didn’t compromise on features and capability,” added Jon Martin. “BHS previously had only 30 extensions for 250 staff and the Mitel system provided the opportunity to put in place a feature-rich IP system to support all teachers and staff across both sites.”

Results

  • Quicker response to calls
  • Increased availability via telephone
  • Greater control over telephony costs

Taking calls from anywhere

Bexhill High employs 250 members of staff, who work across the main school and the Skills Centre. Using the Mitel system, teachers and support staff are no longer tied to a single location and can easily communicate from any of the 100 desks and workstations available. Teachers have a single number, so staff, colleagues and parents can contact them wherever they are, maximising their availability.

Staff can simply log-in to any IP handset and their extension number controls the call flow and any enabled features, such as pre-programmed speed dials, regardless of where they are and which phone they are using. Mitel’s voicemail to email function is also proving critical to ensuring teachers can receive and respond to messages quickly. Due to the nature of their role, teachers are not always available to take calls, but the new phone system converts all voicemails to .wav files and sends them to the individual’s email address. Teachers can easily pick up the voicemail from their laptops, in the school, at home or at other locations, for maximum convenience.

Communications insight

The comprehensive reporting of the Mitel system is providing Bexhill High with greater insight into telephone usage across the school. Jon Martin explains: “Call reporting provides Bexhill High with complete visibility over who is calling into and out of the school, so we can keep track of billing and focus on driving down costs in specific areas. Having granularity of calls to and from the Skills Centre is particularly useful, given the commercial nature of some of the activities, such as the hair and beauty set-up.”

The ability to record calls at the touch of a button is enabling teachers to easily capture parent feedback so issues or concerns can be shared with colleagues and handled appropriately. Phone users simply push a button to instantly start an ad-hoc recording.

Future plans

Looking ahead, Bexhill High is planning to expand and evolve its solution with Mitel Audio and Web Conferencing applications, to make full use of video conferencing in the future. It’s a development that will be key to Bexhill High fulfilling its aim to continue collaboration with other schools, colleges and educational providers.

Jon Martin explains: “With the advanced network and classroom facilities BHS is ideally set up to take full advantage of the video conferencing capabilities offered by Mitel. BHS has lots of relationships with other schools, both national and international, so this fits brilliantly with the BHS ethos and collaborative approach to learning.”