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5 ways UK schools can improve communication and efficiency

Nomis Connections illustrates 5 ways in which UK schools can use technology to improve their communications and efficiency.

Communication is important for all schools in the UK. Staff need to communicate with parents, local authorities and other stakeholders on a very regular basis. Being able to do so in the most efficient way possible is important.

Because of this, Nomis Connections has drawn from its extensive knowledge of the education industry to illustrate the 5 best ways for schools in the UK to improve their communications, and improve their efficiency at the same time.

1. Improve how calls are handled and queue them at peak times

Many schools in the UK will experience peak call times. Typically, these will be between 8.00 and 10.00 in the morning, as parents, staff and the occasional supplier will call to convey various messages.

Whether your admin team consist of one person, or several people, you’ll often find the phone ringing a lot.

Many of the schools we help elect to have call routing in place, giving the caller a series of options according to the purpose of their call. From this, callers are always put through to the most suitable person to handle their request.

Call routing can also be combined with call queuing. This allows calls to be queued, with a comfort message, until they can be answered. This is a great way of ensuring parents and other callers aren’t ever met with an engaged tone.

2. Record staff and student absences without speaking with them

Staff can spend a lot of time recording absences, and this task can make up the majority of calls during peak times.

Recording multiple absences can prove difficult and time consuming, and is now something staff can automate using the same call routing technology mentioned in point 1.

To successfully manage this, staff can assign an option in their welcome message to ‘Press 3 to record an absence’. Once pressed, callers would then be routed to a voicemail box where they’d be invited to leave their child’s name, class, reason for absence and expected return date.

After the busy morning period, admin staff could then recall the message box and record the absences according to the messages left.

Top Tip: You could use your welcome and comfort messages to inform parents of important school events.

3. Integrate your school database (SIMS, for example) with your phones

In many UK schools there is little or no integration between IT and telecoms systems. A lack of integration can add to the time it takes for staff to manage their tasks.

If you integrate your school database with your phone system, staff can use PC applications to display information from your database on your phones, and vice versa. This allows staff to quickly find the details of parents they need to call, and efficiently manage your school database.

4. Reduce your monthly phone bills by making and receiving calls over the internet

VoIP is a method of making calls using your internet connection. Though some services belong in the consumer domain, business-grade VoIP services are available and offer a number of key benefits to schools.

VoIP allows UK schools to reduce their monthly phone bills by up to 50%, while benefiting from the latest technology.

VoIP connections also have built-in scalability, meaning you can increase the number of calls you can make and receive over term times (or as your school grows), while decreasing them during quiet period – over the summer holidays, for example.

This adds a level of cost control that cannot be achieved with other communications methods.

5. Mix corded and cordless phones to stay in contact around the school

School staff are often not in a fixed location throughout their working day. Many will switch between offices, classrooms and outside for break times, or PE lessons. Through these events, many staff still need to stay in contact with each other.

Schools can now mix corded and cordless phones together under the same network, saving time, aiding safety and ensuring staff are always contactable wherever they are.

How can Nomis Connections help with communication in your school?

Nomis Connections are an independent provider of telecoms services and solutions across the UK. With many happy schools with our solutions, we provide our customers with a single point of contact for their telecommunications needs.

We now have a communications system we are confident can take us forward for many years.

Chris Dyson – IT Manager, Whitegrove School.