The Stanway School near Colchester is a typically busy secondary education hub with more than 1200 pupils aged 11 to 16 on the roster. Part of the Sigma Trust academy chain, the school opened in 2002.
Like many large secondary schools these days, Stanway has been using two way radios on site for a number of years to help coordinate learning and site management. Handsets are used by teachers, ground keepers, IT staff and facilities supervisors for a range of day-to-day communication purposes.
At the heart of these, health and safety is a core priority. As well as having two way radios designated for fire marshalls to use in line with the school’s fire evacuation policies, handsets are used to get the message round quickly if and when, for example, there is damage to facilities which might potentially pose a hazard to pupils.
So when school leaders were alerted to the fact that its existing fleet of two way radios was not providing full coverage across the grounds, they moved quickly to upgrade their equipment.
Good things in small packages
The existing two way radio set up Stanway School had in place was unlicensed, meaning the handsets operated on free-to-access public radio spectrum. While this is a cost effective solution, the fact that it is a relatively narrow amount of bandwidth with a high concentration of users can make interference and coverage over large areas an issue.
Our first priority was to carry out a site survey to ascertain just how we could provide reliable coverage across the whole site at all times. Some school grounds are large enough to require ancillary equipment like antennas and repeaters to boost signal, but we found that we could achieve complete coverage ‘back to back’ (i.e. with handsets communicating directly without any need for further equipment) if the school switched to licensed radios.
We recommended a Technically Assigned License, which would give the school exclusive use of a specified radio bandwidth within the site boundaries.
As for handsets, after discussing options with school management they settled on the Motorola EVX-S24. Extremely compact and lightweight, the EVX-S24 makes an ideal choice for schools, hospitals, retail and light industry because it is easy to use, unobtrusive to carry and versatile, yet guarantees reliable performance.
Some of the features that appealed to the school in particular were the emergency transmit interrupt, an essential tool for ensuring urgent alerts get through to all users, and unique ID private calling, which allows handsets to be allocated to different user groups who can then communicate with each other privately without disturbing everyone on the network.
Got a two way radio set up that just isn’t reaching the parts you need it to reach anymore? Brentwood Communications has been specialising in delivering perfect coverage in every situation for more than 40 years, so why not get in touch on 01245 403520 and find out what we can do for you.