Macmillan Academy, Middlesbrough

Client: Macmillan Academy
Type of works: supply of CST's Genesis pager system.

Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough is outstanding" according to Ofsted. Like most schools, the Academy does not allow students to use mobile phones in its classrooms. But this is a large, inner-city institution with 1,450 students spread over five buildings, creating major challenges for communications. What happens if you need to call a member of staff to an incident? Or if you need to contact senior staff or medical personnel?

The Academy required a discreet, disciplined and effective communications system. One that could deliver complex messages - including full details of any incident - and that could deliver it instantly, to the right people. Macmillan found the solution in Genesis from Call-Systems Technology (CST).

The Genesis system at the Academy is based around the latest pager technology. "We've used pagers before, but they weren't anything like these," says David Exeter, Senior Leader at Macmillan Academy. "With the old pagers, staff would just get a beep that told them to call a central number to find out what was happening. They could end up having to make several calls to find the right person to talk to."

Genesis is entirely different and has taken communications at the Academy to a whole new level. Pagers can receive detailed, complex messages that can be compiled and sent from a computer, a phone or another pager. The messages can be sent to individuals or to groups, instantly and discreetly, and the Genesis software provides a full log of communications activity. Not to mention the system is very easy to use.

"With Genesis the message is quick and detailed," confirms Exeter. "The recipient knows right away they have a message, but it's discreet and causes the minimum amount of disruption in the Academy."

The Genesis pagers tell the recipient what has happened and the person dealing with the incident simply calls in to confirm they are attending to it. "Genesis has given us the ability to speed up the way we communicate," says Exeter. "Our first aid team considers the system our on-site safety net."

Macmillan Academy is finding even more uses for the Genesis system. For example, it will soon be linked to the fire and security systems, so that it can monitor them automatically and send an alert to relevant personnel the instant an alarm is triggered.

David Exeter is delighted with the way Genesis has become an integral, yet discreet, part of the Macmillan Academy's life. And it's not just the sophisticated software that ticks the Academy's boxes, the hardware is excellent too. "The pagers are robust and the battery life is good, so we don't have to recharge them as often as with the old pagers," he adds.

"Genesis helps us keep a calm environment for teaching and learning, it was a good purchasing decision," confirms David Exeter. "It really works."

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