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Education: Why Your School Should Use Licenced Radios

06/12/2021
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Many schools across the country already use two-way radios as a form of instant communication to benefit staff and students from a safety, productivity, and efficiency perspective. 

But as experts in the field, we find that many of these schools use or shop around for cost-effective licence-free radios without realising the potential downsides of using them over a licenced alternative. 

Today, as part of our Education Pain Points series, we take a closer look at why your school should use licenced radios instead of licence-free radio devices. 

What is a licenced radio?

A licenced radio is a device that require an Ofcom licence. The licence gives you a unique frequency that you can operate radios legally and securely on.

This means that nobody outside of your frequency can intercept your conversations or cause interference when you’re trying to have a two-way or group conversation. 

This is extremely important for schools as conversations need to be discreet as possible where young people are concerned - and it’s key that there’s no interference from outside parties when you may be discussing something of importance or need to attend to an emergency situation. 

Licenced radios also have a range of other benefits on top of giving you secure, private communication: 

Coverage range – a large area can be covered in terms of coverage. This is ideal if your grounds include multiple buildings, sports facilities and other areas of interest

Clear audio – crisp, clear audio is  the ability to reduce background noise and increase or decrease volume levels automatically

Robust design – they have good waterproof and dust resistance ratings making them built to last in your environment 

Tailored to you – they can be tailored to you with smart software that gives you access to a range of features, all designed around your individual needs

How do they compare to licence-free radios?

The main difference between a licenced radio and a licence-free radio is the requirement of an Ofcom licence to operate the device. 

But, as mentioned previously in this article, not having one has a profound impact on how beneficial two-way radios can be for your school. 

Licence-free radios are often cheaper to buy than licenced radios and come ready to use out of the box – which is why so many schools opt to use them. But, like buying a new pair of trainers or going out for a meal, quality is reflected in the price. 

They can be prone to breaking when dropped for example and will likely need replacing more often than a more robust alternative – creating extra costs on top of the original 

Also, anyone can operate on the same frequency as your school when you use licence-free radios, so they’ll be able to listen to your conversations, and you’ll be able to hear theirs when they speak. 

This causes potential issues when it comes to the safety and protection of young people. 

The need to be discreet

Safety and security are high priority for staff and students in primary and secondary schools. This comes into the spotlight when you consider which communication device to use during learning hours. 

From a safeguarding point of view, young people must be in surroundings that promote a safe learning environment that tries to limit intruders, threats of violence and damage to the property. 

If you’re using licence-free radios, you’re leaving yourself open to the potential of someone in your area intercepting a conversation where the topic may be on a specific young person or a group of young people. 

Making the switch will give you a unique and legal frequency that nobody outside of the school can access – and more importantly nobody can intercept to create issues that may be difficult to stop. 

Coverage is key

Schools come in all shapes and sizes and support students from all types of backgrounds. 

Your classrooms and other facilities must cater for everybody, but you’d be forgiven for not realising the impact these spaces and structures have on your ability to communicate effectively. 

To have the best possible coverage on your school grounds, you must factor in the following:

Square feet – if you’re grounds is spread across a vast area, coverage will be hard to come by with a licence-free device

Multi-storey buildings – The taller your building space, the harder will be for someone on the top and bottom floor to communicate

Dense steel structures – if you have storage spaces made from sturdy steel, you may struggle to get any coverage at all with the wrong device and infrastructure

Outdoor facilities – two-way communication is important when students are engaging in outdoor activity. Coverage here is vital for their safety. 

With limited power output, you will struggle to get coverage with a licence-free radio. Licenced radios are on average eight times more powerful, so they can give you coverage across a larger area, and can combat physical and virtual obstacles much easier (providing you have the right infrastructure in place). 

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 via our online enquiry form 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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