XT460 for Tendring Technical College
Posted on: 6th Sep 2016
TENDRING TECHNOLOGY COLLEGE
Tendring Technology College has around 2,000 pupils aged 11-18 and is based in the south-east of England. The school was recently awarded an ‘outstanding’ rating by the Office for Standards in Education. The college continually evaluates its curriculum to ensure it keeps pace with requirements both from the government and for the needs of young people, giving them the skills to enter the world of work, further education and higher education.
Managing such a large school is complicated by the fact that there are two separate campuses – one serving students aged 11-14 and one aged 14-19. There are also 420 teaching and support staff based across the two sites with support staff including caretakers, cleaners and full-time medical personnel.
To improve communications between senior teachers and their colleagues and support staff, the school has deployed 40 XT460 two-way radios from Motorola Solutions across both campuses.
The radios are used to help teachers locate and meet with colleagues, call for assistance, request the help of support staff and better respond to emergencies. Teachers are saving a great deal of time as they don’t need to search for colleagues, the coordination of the maintenance team has greatly advanced while safety has been improved too; if anyone needs medical assistance, one of the school’s dedicated medical team can be called immediately and be attending the person in a few minutes.
With over 2,000 pupils and 450 teaching staff and support staff based across 2 campuses stretching across 40 acres (16 hectares), Tendring Technology College wanted to find a reliable and simple way to improve communications.
After a review of possible communications solutions Tendring Technology College opted to deploy Motorola Solutions’ XT460 two-way radios. The radios were selected for a number of reasons, especially the fact that they are easy to use with a simple-to-read display, are rugged and reliable, and the voice calls are clear and crisp with a 1500mW loudspeaker. Cost-efficiency was also a factor in the decision to use the XT460s: the radios work in unlicensed spectrum so there are no licence costs while the devices include 219 selectable codes to help ensure a strong and robust signal.
The school also valued the fact that it could use the radios’ eight communication channels to achieve group calling. The school has reserved channels for separate groups, e.g. senior teaching staff, cleaners and maintenance, so that people can communicate one-to-one or broadcast messages to everyone in their group.
In addition the school felt that the lightweight devices would be easy for people to carry around with them, while the rugged design would be important too. The XT460s are built to survive everyday wear and tear and knocks.
The licence-free radios mean that, apart from the purchase cost, the school does not need to pay any more for the radios or airtime. The school reports that radio coverage is excellent with clear voice calls across the grounds and the radios were even used to coordinate the safe return of a pupil who had left school to visit an adjoining village.
The radios’ ease of use has seen the users – from people who are technically literate to those who are not – pick up and use them with no training. And the immediacy and reliability of communications is improving operations throughout the school. For instance, one teacher mentioned that, when she needed to call together three or four colleagues for a meeting, she might spend 45 minutes looking for them across the campus. Now, at a push of a button, people can call and meet with colleagues. Also, sports teachers take radios with them during physical education lessons to enable easy communications with the school. And coordinating support services is much easier – for example, if a window has been broken, the caretaker can be reached immediately to remove the broken glass and repair the damage.
Importantly, too, safety is being improved. Radios are taken on school trips to help teachers account for all pupils. And each day the radios are used by teachers to coordinate the safe load / unload of pupils from fleets of buses to delay departures where necessary to ensure that no one misses their bus home. In addition, the school has a full-time medical professional on hand on each campus and, if a pupil is in need of assistance, help can be called immediately. Recently there was an incident where an air ambulance needed to be called to the school and the radios came into their own. The medical professional could stay by the pupil’s side while communicating with administration staff who in turn were speaking to the emergency services. At the same time teachers using the radios could ensure that other pupils were safe and kept away from the helicopter’s landing area.
‘We’re one of the biggest secondary schools in the UK. We’re very proud of being rated ‘outstanding’ by the Office for Standards in Education. Our approach to teaching is personalised to each pupil with high expectations of academic performance, achievement and behaviour. We’re always looking for ways to improve the way we teach and work. The new two-way radios we’re using from Motorola Solutions are helping the senior team communicate more effectively so we can respond better to incidents and collaborate more effectively as a team.’ Dan Browning, Assistant Principal at Tendring Technology College.