Big 5 headline acts coming in the SIMS spring release

By 5mmadmin

With our spring release almost ready – and including a whole range of enhancements - I thought I’d reveal my big 5 highlights.

1. SIMS homepage has had a makeover

One of the most exciting changes with the spring release is the completely transformed SIMS homepage, which now has a new and improved look and feel.

New SIMS homepage

The most striking change is the interface’s new ability to scale to your screen resolution. So, whatever screen size you have, both the homepage and the student teacher view detect the resolution and arrange themselves automatically to fill the available space. We’ve also reduced unnecessary empty space and introduced cleaner lines.

Another notable change is the replacement of the timeline with a user-friendly calendar. This includes tools to personalise the view. So, if you wanted to view your calendar by day and then switch to a monthly view, you can now do that with ease.  Watch this space for a homepage preview blog coming soon with more info!

2. SIMS Learning Gateway (SLG): improved user access and experience

The headline change for SLG is to the student summary page on the interface, available to parents, pupils and teachers. We were keen to act on schools’ feedback and have provided an interactive graphical front end.

SIMS Learning Gateway

Another significant change is the new assessment view. We have allowed the new KPI section in the SIMS spring release student view to be pulled through into SLG, but have added a configuration screen into SIMS to allow schools to choose what aspects from assessment manager they wish to show. So now you can choose up to 15 graphs to display on assessment.

SLG graph

Access SIMS data on the go…

More and more of us are increasing our use of tablets and mobile phone devices to access the internet on the go. We’ve enhanced the SLG interface with the new release to adapt to tablet devices and will now also support Google Chrome.

3. Staff data now in SIMS Discover

We’ve added three new graphs to SIMS Discover that show staff rather than pupil data. Available only to staff with access to this data in SIMS Personnel, it will show staff absence and allow users to filter by role and teacher/support staff. We plan to add more staff graphs in the coming releases.

SIMS Discover

4. Pupil Premium Indicator (PPI) added to pupil record

We’ve introduced Pupil Premium Indicator (PPI) to Pupil Record. Panel 9 in students’ details now includes the functionality to record, for the academic year, whether the student is in receipt of the Pupil Premium. If you’re an establishment with a large number of eligible students, we’re confident that you will benefit from the inclusion of Pupil Premium Indicator in the bulk update routines. To aid analysis, Pupil Premium Indicator is selectable in assessment manager as a column and as a filter.


5. InTouch reaches more areas of SIMS

With SIMS InTouch, we are constantly developing features to help schools drive down their costs and increase their efficiency and the spring release will be no different. Just some of the headline features coming in the release for InTouch are: bulk sending of Dinner Money letters, sending cover alerts to staff members, sending messages to Discover groups and being able to send and log any student specific general message.

For details of everything else coming this spring, download the pre-release notes.



Barbara Cox

It looks as though the calendar has improved by being able to be categorised in colour for events.

However, it would be very helpful if, on opening the calendar, that each month was given a very subtle background colour to differentiate from each other. It is not easy to know which month you are in when scrolling through. I am not alone in thinking this and those of us that use the calendar daily find it frustrating.

Hopefully .....................................

Laura Betts

Hi Barbara,

Thank you very much for your feedback on the new Homepage calendar. I have passed this on to our product manager for consideration in a future release.

Also, please do not hesitate to register ideas (change requests or CRs) for software enhancements on the SIMS SupportNet portal ( too. Our product managers periodically review all the CRs for a product and use the feedback to help decide what features and changes need to go into SIMS.

Ian Gilsenan

The additional features in the Spring release will no doubt benefit schools. However, SIMS is still missing one feature what would be of huge benefit to a classroom teacher, and is necessary for all lesson observations - the ability to create a seating plan with student photos and data on it. A seating plan could be created and linked to a teacher and group. Imagine whilst taking the register in SIMS Lesson Monitor if their was a graphical representation of the classroom on the interactive whiteboard that showed the seating plan for the students. On the teacher version of the seating plan would be the photos and below the photos some basic information (SEN, EAL, FSM, low/middle/high attainer) for use in differentiation - if only.

Laura Betts

Thank you for your feedback on the spring release and future developments, Ian. We're always keen to get customer feedback and ideas, so thanks for letting us know. I have passed this on to our product development team for their consideration in a future release. Let us know if you have any other suggestions.

Adam Garnish

Having a seating plan defined in SIMS ... I wonder how the development of this is going? Has there been any priority given to this?


Hi Adam,

Thanks for your query about having a seating plan defined in SIMS – we are exploring this as a new update for the SIMS Teacher app as teachers tell us this would be a great addition to how the app is already helping them with key classroom tasks.

The ability to organise pupils into groups – plus include additional useful data is an area we are currently reviewing over the coming months.

Many Thanks,

Web Editor


It would be great if a seating plan was made available within SIMS. This was highlighted back in 2013 and we are still waiting. Many schools are looking elsewhere at MintClass for example. When will this feature be made available and this should be within the main SIMS not just within the Teacher App.

Graham Cooper

Dear Viv,

Thanks for your comment. We are looking at the inclusion of seating plan functionality in SIMS and we hope to be able to update everyone soon on its inclusion in our product roadmap.


Head of Product Strategy
View my profile or follow me on Twitter

Jenny Seed

Is there any news on this?

I have spent ages using the TeacherAide App which is great but it would be so much better and easier to have it integrated into SIMs teaching App.

Surely it is such an obvious and needed addition.

Duncan Hield

Dear Jenny,

Many thanks for your feedback about the SIMS Teacher app – we are pleased to hear that the app is useful for you at your school. With the seating planner, we are still looking at future opportunities to include this within the Teacher app, but have no immediate plans for this year.

Thanks again for your support,

Product  Manager

Carole Greensill

There is a definite need for Seating Plans in SIMS. We have heard from another one of our schools this afternoon who have purchased a product called MINT to fulfil this requirement. Thankyou

Duncan Hield

Hi Carole,

Thanks for your feedback about seating planner functionality with SIMS. We are continuing to explore how we could best support the ability for school staff to use this type of functionality within the range of SIMS solutions – seamlessly integrating with attendance, which teachers tell us is crucial to have as part of a really useful seating planner feature.

Thanks again for your feedback,

Product  Manager

Joanne Burrows

My school is also looking at 'Mint' as they want seating plans for teachers with a 'click of the button' information about the student. Please can you tell me if this is on the SIMS Road Map as a future update to the Teacher App?

Duncan Hield

Hi Joanne,

We are continuing to explore how we could best support the ability for school staff to use this type of functionality within the range of SIMS solutions – seamlessly integrating with attendance, which teachers tell us is crucial to have as part of a really useful seating planner feature.

Kind Regards,

Product  Manager

Lisa Hill

Please can you indicate the earliest date at which seating plans will be available for teachers to use?
The demand for this is overwhelming and schools are putting in considerable time searching out and implementing alternatives......

Duncan Hield

Hi Lisa

Thank you for your message - we are continuing to explore how we could best support the inclusion of a seating planner within SIMS along with a wide range of other priority areas. We do not currently have a timescale to availability but we will ensure you are updated if we develop this new feature.

Best wishes,

Duncan Hield

Product  Manager

Brian Phibben

Can you please tell me where the 'Missing Register' panel from the 'Home Page' has gone?

Laura Betts

Hi Brian,

The 'Missing register' panel is still there. There was an issue where not all registers were appearing, but this has now been fixed. If you have any other questions, please let us know here or contact us on Twitter.


Can you tell me the purpose of having a timeline style daily register?

What is the point of having all 24 hours available? I know Mr Gove want a longer working day but that is pushing it?

The 'new look' interface is very heavy on pretty colours but actually give me less instant access to the thinks I use most often.

In a nutshell, a very successful downgrade of your product. By all means improve the background processing but please leave us with a functional interface. Pretty colours does not = increased productivity.

My question is: How do I get the old style interface back?

Laura Betts

Thanks for your feedback on the new SIMS Homepage. We changed the timeline to a week view as some schools wanted to see the week ahead and be able to select classes in the future without having to click through the old 'single day' timeline. You can right click on the calendar to change to other views.

I am sorry you are not impressed with our choice of colours - I think we may have to consider making the colour palette user configurable.

M Roginski

Student Teacher View: What have you done?

Used to be great. When speaking with a student or parent we could look at all the key areas on the screen at the same time - achievement, behaviour, attendance, current lesson if I needed to fetch them. Now I have to scroll down. Don't like it, not just because it is different but because it's not all in ONE TEACHER VIEW screen, may as well just go to "Student Details".

As for the timetables, I don't really need to know what a student is doing at 1 am.

Laura Betts

Thanks for your views on the Student Teacher view (STV).

Sorry you feel it has not improved. We had hoped to make it look cleaner, less cluttered and provide more relevant information such as interventions, all of which has meant using a little more space and hence you needing to scroll. You may wish to try increasing your screen resolution as the STV now scales to fit the available space. I'll certainly pass on the feedback about the timetables to the product manager and development team.



On Student Teacher View when looking at a students attendance summary - the figure now shows present and authorised absence as a combined %.

Can you tell me what reasons you had for doing this?

We are in danger of giving very mixed messages when it comes to attendance depending on how we analyse our data.

Thanks in advance

Natalie White

Laura Betts

Hi Natalie,

Thank you for your feedback. We are always listening to our customers and, following similar feedback from other customers, we will be changing this in the autumn release.

M Folley

How do I see the old home page??? ... this new calendar is appalling ... I want today .... not this week .... my screen is not big enough for the other stuff ... I have looked at the options, and there is not even a today option (!!!) ... I have to have all five days ticked. .... ticking one does not shrink the appalling space usage .... it still takes 50% of the screen ...

I have to remove it in configure, but then I cannot see today's timetable .... how do I get to the registers from my home page?

If it were not the central hub of SIMS I would consider this to be a joke. Myworkflow has been smashed without notice, and without the apparent option not to take part in this mis-guided social experiment .... RESTORE THE OLD SETTINGS PLEASE

Laura Betts

Sorry to hear you do not feel the Homepage has improved with the changes. We changed the timeline to a week view as some schools wanted to see the week ahead and be able to select classes in the future without having to click through the old 'single day' timeline. You can right click on the calendar to change to other views but we will pass on your feedback including your other concerns to the developers for consideration.

Before changes to our software, we always complete thorough testing, including seeking extensive feedback from customers. With teh new Homepage, we held consultation groups in Oct and Nov last year and presented changes at our user groups, which were positively received all in all.

If you would like to take part in future testing, please let us know by emailing and we will be happy to get in touch with you. Alternatively, you can see invitations to regional user groups via SupportNet. Visit to set up an account if you do not already have one.

We will follow up as soon as we can regarding getting to the registers from the homepage.

Laura Betts

We have received assistance on getting to registers form the SIMS Homepage. There is no need to remove the time line as there is a day view. (Right click, select 'change view' and select day view).

Register can then be taken by either double clicking or if you right click and select 'take register', just like the old time line. We hope this helps!

jan Benton

How do I get Discover on to my SIMS? Is it for secondary schools only?
I need to do a report on staff absence %. Can you help please?

Laura Betts

Hi Jan,

SIMS Discover is for both primary and secondary schools. For assistance in setting this up, please call our SIMS Support on 01234 832020 and they'll be happy to help!


how do I download this thank you


how do u download this
I am a teacher who needs to take register by sims capptra

Rachel Leigh

Hi Ellie,

Thanks for your comment. We would advise you to contact your support provider and log a call and they should be able to help you with this. You can also stay up-to-date with more recent SIMS developments by following our blog.

Kind regards,

Karena James

Is anyone using tablets to take registers?

Rachael Bennett

How can I set up register alerts for my tutors to remind them to send their registers?

Graham Cooper

Hi Rachael, thank you for your question.

We are not clear if you are using electronic or paper registration from your query – perhaps the latter? If you are using SIMS registration, the SIMS Homepage can show you which registers are missing. You could then text, email (or send a pupil) to let them know to complete them and press ‘Save’. For the paper based system you’ll have to adopt the manual approach of seeing who has not returned the register folders and finding the best way to get the message to the teachers who need to send them back! It might be worth discussing your problem with your local support provider or our Professional Services team on 0844 893 9000.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,


Head of Product Strategy
View my profile or follow me on Twitter


Is there a potential release date available yet? Also the link to download the pre release notes brings up the 2013 spring release.

Rachel Leigh

Hi Sarah,

Please see resource number 23728 on SupportNet which has details of the pre release note. I've just had a look at it and it seems that it is the 2015 release on there, not the 2013 one. The release should be available on Friday 27th March.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes,




About the Pupil Premium part... will that be made visible as an additional column on registers? Just it would be exceptionally useful to have the teaching staff be more aware of who is pupil premium, just like they can be aware of who is SEN etc. That would be a really useful addition if it is.

Also, we have noticed the report card function changes the colour of the text on the students name in a register - it would be useful to be able to customise the colours and apply them to custom groups - at the moment it would be great to do that for PP if there's not going to be that addition I mention above... but also we have specific groups we work with and it would be useful to be able to identify those students at a glance.

Is there any possibility of any of this?



Rachel Leigh

Hi Cheri,

Regarding Pupil Premium, it will be added, similarly to SEN, as an extra column on the register, in the Spring 2015 release. This will allow teachers to choose when they want to see Pupil Premium information and when they want to hide the information.

With regards to your question on the report card function, as mentioned above, you will be able to see Pupil Premium information as an extra column on the register. As Pupil Premium information is relatively sensitive, we would prefer to provide the ability to have the indicator, than to force users to see it. With regards to showing other information in different colours, as I understand it, it isn’t currently feasible to make significant colour changes to the names in Attendance, but please do log a change request, if this is something that you would like us to consider for a future release.

Best wishes,



i'm a headteacher and i was considering getting SIMS but i've looked all over the internet to get it does anyone have a solution?

Rachel Leigh

Hi Luke,

Please give us a call on 0800 170 7005 and we'll be able to help you.



Roger Shiner

Hopefully, in the Summer release teachers can attach an aspect to a homework!

Ben Jones

Hi Roger

When you are creating a piece of homework, teachers do have the option to link to a specific aspect and result set within SIMS and SLG to the homework being created. This means when a teacher records the mark for that homework, the result will automatically write back to the linked aspect.

Kind Regards,

Product Manager



Our school has 'gone Google' and we use Google Calendar. Is there a way to subscribe to our timetable on SIMS via Google Calendar?


Tony Lockwood

Hi Paul

Many thanks for your comment. At present, it is not possible to be able to do this from SIMS.

I will pass on your feedback though and update you of any changes in the future.

Kind Regards,

Senior Product Manager

Robert Downing

Hello. Please could you let us know if you have got any further with the seating plans feature that we all need?

Kind regards

Duncan Hield

Hi Rob

Many thanks for your comment. We are continuing to explore how we could best support the inclusion of a seating planner within SIMS along with a wide range of other priority areas. You can suggest this functionality though by logging a change request in My Account here:

Kind regards,

Product  Manager

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Comments are not published immediately and may be subject to moderation. View our moderation policy here.