Sheldon College is a nondenominational independent college. We cater for students from 15 months of age through to 17 and 18. Since its inception in 1997, we now have a student population of around 1,600 students with 210 academic staff. I think what we have to understand essentially as educators today is that the children we teach are neurologically wired differently from what we were. They're children who intuit their way through technology, and as such, it has to be embedded in every part of their learning domain. Sheldon College has always had Telstra as a partner in everything that we have done right from the inception of the school.
One of the advantages of using Telstra is, of course, they are the market leader in telecommunications and we are able to, therefore, access a whole range of technical services 24/7 whatever that problem may be. In the early days of Sheldon College, the IT resources were managed internally. However, as the college started to expand and grow, we simply outgrew the ability to service IT internally. We decided to use the TT Group to manage that service.
The college has implemented a full range of ITT resources and suites from the IT and PC networks right through to an integrated telephony system. With our Mitel network we're able to keep in touch with teachers all the time, whether they're in the class or on the campus or even off the campus. It works on the PC system, mobiles, laptops, so it's a fully integrated seamless system. One of the benefits we've recently been able to extract from the implementation of the Mitel solution is a whole range of cost savings and time saving initiatives. For example, teachers are able to be contacted instantly.
Before having this system, it was a matter of having to walk around the campus to try to find teachers and also students for that matter. Whereas now if the parent arrives, we can have the child within our office in minutes. Another great benefit of the Mitel system is the integration with Outlook. For example, I can sit at my desk and know exactly where any particular staff member or teacher is at any one time.
The ability to send a mass notification has some tremendous time-saving benefits. For example, if there were to be some kind of natural disaster on campus such as a flood, or a gas leak, or an electricity outage, we are able to notify students either by phone message, by SMS, or by email. Another great benefit of the Mitel system is cost accountability and cost allocation. For example, we are now able to allocate every single user's phone usage according to the appropriate departments. So no longer is head office, for example, or executive, picking up everybody else's phone calls.
This has led to an estimated cost savings over the years of approximately 40-50% per annum on our phone usage, so it's really given us much greater transparency. From a point of view of corporate governance, it really enhances our position in respect to phone call usage. I know exactly per annum how much it's going to cost us, this assisting in cash flow and in budgeting, and there are no sort of nasty unexpected surprises. We estimate an approximate annual saving of around about 30% per annum. For example, if we had to employ staff, we would be paying on costs such as superannuation.
Our core business is teaching and learning and, in order to provide the environment that we need for children, we need to look externally to partners, such as Telstra and TT Group, to be able to provide that technological support and expertise.