Find out more about what type of phone system is best for your school, education centre or academy.
With budgets tightening, and schools having to adapt to an ever-changing technology environment; having the right telephone system in place is important.
Being versatile, and providing a simple, effective and thorough communication solutions enables your school to keep in touch parents and carers, suppliers and staff members.
But what is the best telephone system for schools, and how do you choose between all the options?
What is the Best Telephone System for Schools?
In our experience, the best telephone system for schools is 3CX.
3CX is a software based telephone system that your school can use to control incoming and outgoing calls. Many schools across the country are already using a 3CX telephone system, due to it’s flexibility and ease-to-use features.
With such high reliance on telephony, your school needs to ensure that your telephone system is up to scratch.
3CX Telephone systems can be implemented in a few different ways, including:
1. Fully Cloud Hosted Phone System for Schools
A hosted telephone system uses the cloud to deliver your schools telephony. The benefit of this is that it requires little to no on-site hardware or server equipment.
A cloud telephone system is normally recommended for schools with fewer than 20 extensions, as it doesn’t require any hardware onsite, and therefore the rollout cost is often less than on-premise.
Cloud hosted moves your schools telephone system to the cloud, and allows you to work easier and more flexible.
2. On-Premise Phone System for Schools
An on-premise 3CX telephone system is perfect for larger schools, colleges, multi-academy trusts and universities.
An on-premise 3CX telephone system sits on your schools existing server hardware. By having a 3CX phone system on your in-house equipment, you can make better use of your existing infrastructure and eliminate hosting costs.
Multi-academy trusts can also link their sites to this one centralised server location, which reduces rollout costs and keeps everything under one roof. With centralised on-premise, your schools also benefit from increased collaboration and call handing between sites.
3. Hybrid Telephone System for Schools
As the name suggests, a hybrid telephone system is a combination of on-premise and hosted.
With a hybrid telephone system, you get the benefits of cloud and on-premise rolled into one, with your server infrastructure hosting 3CX, and a cloud backup of of your solution to ensure robust communications.
Features of 3CX for Schools
3CX doesn’t skimp on the basics. It’s packed with lots of features, many of them built with schools and education in mind.
When you move your schools to a 3CX telephone system, you’ll benefit from…
We know how important a working and robust absence line is to schools. With a 3CX phone system, your school can ensure that your absence line is open and running, and most importantly, doesn’t get full with messages.
With voicemail-to-email functionality, your absence line messages are emailed across to an email address of your choosing, allowing you to deal with each message individually, without listening through an entire list. This system allows you to keep the voicemail inbox open at all times—and prevents a backlog.
With a 3CX absence line, you can free up reception staff time on the phone in the busy morning rush, and deal with absence enquires in order right from their email inbox.
Automatic holiday schedules
Holiday scheduling is very important. Making sure callers know about term dates, inset days and bank holidays ensures they’re not hitting the dial tone.
With a reliable telephone system such as 3CX, we can pre-program the system with all of your term dates before the year even starts—which means that when you’re not able to take calls, you can divert the system to a customised voicemail.
Ideal for your school’s maintenance team and caretakers, cordless phones allow staff to roam freely around the premises while still being connected to your school’s telephone system.
There are a few different cordless options, such as the DECT phone shown above, as well as mobile apps and soft phones.
With a cordless solution, staff can keep in contact with the maintenance team to alert them of any issues or to allow maintenance staff to log problems with the reception or senior team—from wherever they are on the premises.
Phone Security Measures
Protecting your school’s telephone system is important. Many schools utilise hallway phones, or wall phones in public places in case of an emergency.
Protecting these phones from possible student interference, and preventing dial-out on the handsets, unless you have a specific dial-out code. This keeps the phones secure, and protects you from unwanted call bills.
However, it also enables you to keep staff in hallways connected to reception or to other users in case of emergencies.
Video Conferencing and Meetings
In a world of online meetings, video conferences and web calls, having a telephone system that your school can rely on for online collaboration is vital.
With a 3CX phone system, your school can make and schedule online meetings, appointments, video conferences, presentations and more—right from within your telephone system.
MS Teams and Office 365 integration helps pull all of your systems into one complete solution, and means that parent teacher conferences, online meetings and collaboration between staff members is even easier.
Linking Sites and Multi-Academy Trusts
On the topic of integration, many schools and academy’s are looking to consolidate costs and provide a single, unified communications solution across their multiple premises.
By deploying 3CX to your main site, you can create sub-sites, or branches, of the main telephone system—and link your trust together under one umbrella.
Push-button transferring, caller ID, overflow routing and other options, ensures that each schools solution talks with one another—creating a seamless mesh of telephony across your entire trust, whilst retaining the personal touch for parents looking to speak with their specific school.
Linking your sites also helps consolidate costs, by reducing the number of required telephone systems and therefore the number of lines, SIP trunks, licences and other elements.
Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
3CX can integrate with many web-based applications. Using what’s called Computer Telephone Integration, you can seamlessly integrate your 3CX phone system with web clients and student management software.
With this integration, you enable features such as screen popping of incoming calls, click to dial, call logging and more.
Integration allows your reception and admin team to use their time more effectively—cutting down on time of searching locating parent and child records, logging calls and more.
Why is 3CX the Best Phone System for Schools?
If you’re upgrading your school’s telephone system, then you’re probably looking at several different options, from cloud hosted solutions to old-fashioned PBX telephone systems.
Of course, every school is different, and there is no ‘one-size fits all’ telephone system. We take time to listen to requirements, and speak with your senior and technical teams to understand which solution is best for your school or academy.
Our team have years of experience working with schools, colleges, education centres and even universities accosts the UK, and here’s why we would normally recommend 3CX.
Can be hosted on premise
As we said before, making better use of your existing IT infrastructure by hosting your 3CX phone system is a great way to reduce rollout costs of your schools telephone system.
With traditional, physical PBX telephone systems a thing of the past, utilising existing hardware is often a much more cost effective option than fully hosting, especially if your school has 20 or more extensions.
Re-use existing hardware
When upgrading your school’s telephone system, the hardware is an important consideration, especially when it comes to budgeting.
With 3CX, it is very possible that you can use your school’s existing telephones. By re-using your current hardware, you forgo the need can cut down on hardware and rollout costs.
Lower monthly costs
We know that budgets are shrinking, and cost saving is a necessity for schools. By upgrading to a 3CX, you could see significant cost saving, particularly if you’re moving away from a traditional on-premise PBX.
Schools that upgrade to 3CX can benefit from 12 months free licensing for every user, and reduced line charges, call charges and more.
ISDN Switch-off ready
In 2025, the UK’s ISDN is being switched off. This means that all traditional telephone lines will cease, and your school will need to be running on a full IP (or VoIP) network and telephone system.
There has never been a better time to upgrade your school’s telephone system, and 3CX is a solution that gets you ready for the ISDN switch off.
Safe and Secure
When it comes to children, security and safeguarding information is of the upmost importance—and we know that. You need a telephone system that offers a high level of security, but not as the cost of usability.
3CX provides a secure and robust telephony environment for your school—keeping you safe from threats and malicious actors.
With data security, firewalls and IP blocking built in, you’ll have peace of mind that your telephone system is keeping safe.
Choosing the right telephone system for your school is difficult. There are lots of different options on the market, using different technologies such as VoIP, SIP and more.
A telephone system should be chosen to best fit your schools requirements. Speak with our team to find out which solution is best for your school, based on your budget and requirements, or click ‘online quote’ for a more detailed quotation.