Splicecom Float Costal Learning Partnership's Boat

Coastal Learning Partnership is a Multi Academy Trust (MAT) located along the South Coast of England, and was formed on 1stMarch 2020 when three like-minded Trusts decided to combine their strengths, resources, talent and expertise.The three original ‘founding trusts’ – Harbourside Learning Partnership, Ocean Learning Trust and Saturn Education Trust – now exist as a single, wide family of 16 schools, working in close partnership for the benefit of its 5,500 pupils.

The Trusts’ strapline - “Broadening Horizons Together” - seeks to capture what they stand for: through their collaborative work and the provision of an inspiring educational experience, they aim to open up a future of possibilities for every child.  Their core vision and values are to ensure everyone within the partnership; serves one another and the local community, is inspired to broaden their horizons and seize new opportunities, and is empowered to grow, develop personally and enrich the lives of those around them. 

Unified Communication is the key
As is common with the formation of MATs, the existing communication infrastructure consisted of telephone systems and lines from a mix of different vendors and suppliers. “Following the merger of the three existing MATs we identified a need to upgrade equipment, including switches, lines and phones, in many of the schools and we wanted to provide all of them with an easy way to connect to each other,” said Sue Grey, Estate and Infrastructure Data Protection Officer for Costal Learning Partnership. “We also wanted all our schools to enjoy access to features such as voicemail and the ability to record calls.”

Half of the 16 schools were already using Splicecom SelectVoice and Maximiser on-premises phone systems, supplied by the British manufacturer’s long-time partner on the South Coast, Intech Telecom. The oldest of these systems had originally been installed at Heathlands Primary School in 2008 and was still giving outstanding service. “We ran a competitive tender and despite strong competition, the latest Splicecom solution, proposed by Intech, offered the best equipment, most features and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for the best price,” Sue continued.

The Solution
The trust opted for a Splicecom SelectVoice cloud system so it could be rolled out across all 16 schools and be easily deployed to any new school(s) joining the MAT. In total the system roll out included 17 sites (St. Luke’s comprises of an Infant and a separate Junior school) and over 300 extensions. Hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud and managed by Intech, Costal Learning Partnership chose to pay monthly for the SelectVoice system components, licences and phones. “We planned for a staged installation and rolled it out as each of the schools were coming to the end of their individual contracts, which was over the duration of approximately one year”, said Sue.

As well as being able to protect their original investment, by re-purposing the original Splicecom handsets on their new cloud system, Yealink T3 and T5 handsets were purchased for use in offices, classrooms and reception areas. The deployment of Yealink IP DECT wireless phones allowed staff to still take, or make, phone calls whenever they were out of the office and walking around the school. Additionally, some staff chose to use Splicecom’s Softphones for Android & Apple iPhones (iPCS) and Microsoft laptops/PCs (Navigate Pro), although these apps were originally sourced for disaster recovery usage in the event of failover.

The Reality
“We’re seeing the real benefit of our new Splicecom cloud phone system every day,” Sue explains. “It enables schools to speed dial each other, while we now also have a single Directory for them to use, all of which makes life easier for the staff and saves valuable time.”

“In addition, the level of support offered by Intech is excellent. They are available and reactive and this is very important to schools, for example, if the internet goes down and phones need to be diverted to a mobile. Intech have also been happy to work with our IT partners to ensure the best outcomes for the schools,” Sue concluded.

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