Education: Why There Is a Need for Two-Way Radios in UK Schools
In the education sector, there’s a need not a desire to have an instant form of communication in place to keep students and staff safe, productive, and efficient. Its importance is born from the never-ending spotlight on the welfare and development of young people across the UK.
But knowing what to use in order to create a learning environment that allows students and staff to flourish can feel like going back to school to sit your exams all over again.
As part of our Education Pain Points series where going to explain why using the right communication device is so important – and why two-way radios for schools has become the go-to solution from a safety point of view.
Two-way radio v mobile phone
There are many factors to consider when you think about what communication device staff need to use to keep people safe during the hectic school day.
But some factors won’t immediately jump out when you think of the differences between a mobile phone you already use and a two-way radio that you may have little experience with.
The practicality of a two-way radio
Mobile phones these days are referred to as smartphones, thanks their ability to do other things than make phone calls. But, in the context of using one for effective two-way communication at school, they have their limitations.
Their limitations come in the form of coverage issues across vast space, hard to reach places and multi-storey buildings; the inability to have dedicated group calls for different departments; and a lack of personal safety features that can protect students and staff at all times.
This is where a two-way radio comes into its own as a smart communication device. Two-way radios have a range of capabilities that will help your educational facility flourish:
• Grounds-wide coverage
• Dedicated group channels
• Range of safety features – from Panic Alarm to Lone Worker
• Software and features tailored to your exact need
• Loud and clear audio that recognises background noise
• Long-lasting battery life
• Other accessories like earpieces that allow you to have discreet conversations
To understand more about the differences between digital two-way radios and mobile phones read our digital radio v mobile phone document today.
The best two-way radios for schools
The best two-way radios for schools depend on your own individual circumstances. If you need radios purely for sporting events, then your requirements will be different to the school that needs coverage across acres of land or the one that needs them for maintenance staff to use.
In general, though, the best two-way radios are digital licenced radios rather than analogue radios that are licence-free.
This is because digital radios have clearer signal, increased coverage, enhanced functionality and more secure transmissions than analogue radios. And having a licenced radio means your conversations will be discreet and on dedicated channels – whereas as licence-free radios carry the caveat that anyone on the same frequency can intercept your conversations and cause channel interference.
Much like smartphones, there’s a range of digital radios available to choose from – so you don’t have to worry about being limited by choice.
As experts who’ve been providing two-way radio solutions to schools, colleges, and universities for over 35 years’, we’ve highlighted a couple of licenced digital radios that are well suited to schools:
The Motorola SL1600 is an ultra-slim digital radio that’s easy to carry but has a rugged design. It’s designed to keep staff connected with one-handed operation and transmissions can be interrupted to prioritise critical communication that needs urgent attention.
The Motorola DP1400 digital radio is an affordable device with plenty of features and functionality. It has superior audio quality, outstanding coverage, long-lasting battery life and allows your staff to collaborate and co-ordinate to keep premises and people safe and secure.
Taking the safety-first approach
Student and staff safety in primary inside or outside the classroom is vitally important. School can feel like a daunting experience for young people, regardless of age, so they need to be in surroundings that are safe and secure at all times.
For staff, it’s a case of being able to act quickly when accidents, injuries, and threats of violence occur and when intruders try and access school grounds.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) talks about having a sensible approach to health and safety management in schools on its website. It goes into detail about needing to find the right balance to ensure the real risks are being managed.
With a smart two-way radio solution in place, you can ensure real risks are managed to a high standard every time.
Is a mobile phone ban coming?
The social media boom has made having a mobile phone a priority for young people. The likes of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube and now TikTok has transformed the way we stay connected and express our social side.
But it’s caused a hot topic of discussion. Are young people spending too much time on their phones at the detriment of their studies and mental health?
A 2020 study from media regulator Ofcom found that 14% of children aged between 5-7 had their own smartphone, with the number increasing to 49% for 8-11 year olds and 91% for 12-15 year olds.
And there’s been pressure from the UK government for mobiles to be banned in schools, with the Coalition for Youth Mental Health echoing those thoughts.
In a recent report the coalition states that mobile phones should be banned during core learning hours to protect young people’s mental health and aid their development.
The group is made up of top performing independent and multi academy trusts in the state sector. And for teachers and non-teaching staff it provides food for thought on whether as role models to young people they should also ditch the mobile phone during core learning hours.
Taking the ‘lead with example’ approach means that two-way radios are well placed to promote a safe learning environment.
Looking for a two-way radio solution for your school?
You can find out more about our two-way radio solutions for schools, and how we help them transform safety, productivity, and efficiency for their students and staff.
If your school would benefit from having an effective two-way radio solution in place, then book a FREE, no obligation demonstration with us today and we’ll talk you through how we will work with you to implement a smart solution that’s tailored to your individual needs.
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