Why 3CX is perfect for schools, academies, and higher education in 2022

Unified communications solutions have been making huge inroads in the education sector over the last two years.

This change in the industry has been largely driven by the locking and unlocking of coronavirus restrictions, as schools, academies and higher education institutions have been forced to drastically change how they communicate to meet the needs for remote working for their staff and students.

As a sector, there was already immense pressure for digital transformation in place prior to the events of 2020. For example, the rise of the academy style setup of schools, with multi-site organisations, has meant that many school IT departments have ever more complex hosting requirements and the traditional systems for managing communications, with on-site PBX and ISDN or SIP lines, no longer met these complex new hybrid working requirements.

Like most sectors in 2022, unified communications solutions mean you can save money, collaborate more effectively, and improve productivity, so it’s no surprise that the uptake has been dramatic in recent years when you combine this with the industry-specific issues mentioned above. So, what have we seen amongst our education customer base, and how can you benefit from a solution like 3CX? We explore three key drivers in this blog.

Managing concurrent users and increasing inbound call volumes

3CX is a great phone system for education primarily because of the simultaneous call license model. Where many market-leading phone systems opt for a price-per-user basis, 3CX has varying options depending on the number of concurrent calls. Amongst our education customers, the number of concurrent calls can vary massively, with some departments using the phone system occasionally, and others frequently. So, whilst a particular department or site might be hectic on certain days, due to events for example, it can quickly get expensive when you continually require licenses that are not being consistently utilised. Typically, the simultaneous call license model can save schools around 60% on annual costs vs a price per user model.

Moving away from ISDN

ISDN, the traditional phone network, is set to be switched off by 2025. Whilst this isn’t specific to the education sector, we have seen from many of our customers and IT departments in this space that uptake has been slower than other industries because of limited resources, and budget pressures. But this date is fast approaching, and, in some areas, there is already a stop-sale on new ISDN services, so now is the time to move away from legacy PBX.

As a result, another reason why 3CX is so popular is due to meeting the needs of this change and crucially, managing capacity. On a traditional ISDN network, capacity could be reached quickly, meaning calls from parents, suppliers, and other departments could be easily missed on busy days, and there’s very little that can be done to resolve this without the right system in place. It can also be very costly and time consuming to upgrade traditional ISDN lines to add extra channels, whereas with VoIP solutions, such as 3CX, it is much more cost-effective.

So, schools can benefit from the features of 3CX such as automated extension transferring and intelligent routing, which can save your reception team hours of time and ensure that important calls are never missed.

Easy setup and adoption

Deciding to purchase a system such as 3CX should never be purely due to industry change. With a host of UC solutions available to the education sector, the phone system you choose should meet all your current requirements whilst future-proofing the IT department with something that’s easy to rollout.

In most schools, there will be varying levels of technical expertise, with many users likely to be concerned about getting to grips with a new system. Fortunately, 3CX leads the way when it comes to simplicity for your users, whilst also offering flexibility for the technical experts in the organisation.

Starting with your day-to-day users, they will find that 3CX is easy to navigate, integrates video and conferencing for stress-free collaboration across departments and sites, and enables easy remote access for when they’re on the move. This means that reliable lines of communication are always open no matter the situation and contact with parents and carers is only ever a few clicks or taps away on a softphone.

On the flip side, one of the other reasons our education customers love 3CX is its flexibility when it comes to set up and hosting. With Gradwell’s fully managed 3CX deployment, the phone system is hosted in multiple data centres making it accessible wherever your users are. This reduces the requirement for hardware on-site, as well as ensuring the phone system is available even if on-site internet connectivity goes down. Adding extensions, managing users, and adjusting routing can be as simple or as complex as the organisation requires, with flexible options designed suited to your needs.

We recently installed a 3CX solution for Aspire Academy Trust, with Peter Bradburn, IT and Communications Director, commenting:

“Gradwell have been able to provide a solution that meets our needs as a multi-academy trust. We now have a phone system that works seamlessly across our 31 sites. Their platform has been very reliable and Gradwell have been keen to engage to ensure that we get best value from our calling packages. The installation process was excellent thanks to the training and staff that helped us.”

Peter Bradburn, IT & Communications Director, Aspire Academy Trust

In Conclusion

3CX enables the education sector to bridge the communication gap between departments, sites, parents, and external suppliers. We’ve seen amongst many of our education customers that their legacy PBX or traditional systems were poorly equipped for the needs of modern education organisations, and the move to modern cloud phone systems is not being driven purely by the ISDN switch off. Crucially, your school phone system does not need to break the bank and with 3CX you can easily standardise and simplify your phone system setup to guarantee improved collaboration.

As one of only a handful of 3CX Titanium partners across the UK, recognised for helping hundreds of businesses get the most out of 3CX, we can provide an unparalleled service. We have worked with businesses of all sizes on every aspect of system specifications, installation, and ongoing support.

Our 3CX offering stands out from the crowd in the following ways:

  • Unparalleled service levels – you will have access to more certified 3CX engineers than any other UK business.
  • Installation and number porting are project managed through to completion by a dedicated and experienced on-boarding team.
  • We can source the best 3CX compatible hardware with a variety of plug-and-play hardware from a wide range of brands.


Learn more

If you would like to find out more about how we helped education sector organisations reduce their annual phone system costs by up to 60%, get in touch with our 3CX experts by clicking below.

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