What’s new for SIMS this spring?

By Nick Finnemore

The spring months are almost upon us and whilst I can’t promise that will bring with it an instant ray of sunshine – the odds of more rain is still looking strong – I hope I can give you more than a few reasons to look forward to the SIMS spring release.

You may be aware we’ve been busy piloting SIMS Interventions and I’m excited to say that this new module is now available for schools to start using, as part of the SIMS Core Suite.

Elsewhere, we’ve implemented a time-saving change request in SIMS Assessment and I wanted to look further ahead at our next generation of SIMS Options, which is coming shortly. Here’s my highlights to give you a flavour of what’s available:

All your interventions in one place

Let’s start with SIMS Interventions and judging by the feedback we’ve received from our pilot schools, it’s proving very popular. Using the data that you already hold in SIMS, it gives you a holistic view of which interventions are working best for your children.

In the past, schools have been able to do a lot of analysis regarding interventions, but it has often been a manual process. SIMS Interventions enables schools to manage all their interventions from one area, allowing you to evaluate and track the interventions that you make, see the progress children are making and inform you if they’re proving cost effective.

This will help provide answers needed by senior leadership teams to show whether the interventions schools are putting in place are making a significant improvement to their children. SIMS Interventions will also help with planning the interventions including allocating staff and resource.

To help you get started, we have a series of new videos which show you how to set up and run interventions and how to run reports.

SIMS Interventions

As I mentioned above, we’ve been delighted with the positive feedback from schools. Andy Runacres, Headteacher at Stanville Primary School, told us: “Since using SIMS Interventions, we have already seen positive results. SIMS has enabled us to flag up exactly what staff are delivering, as well as pupil progress to date. As a result, we have been able to quickly identify effective practice and challenge underperformance."

You can find out further details of SIMS Interventions here.

Save your group selection within the Programmes of Study

If you’re a user of SIMS Assessment, we’ve responded to a popular change request with an enhancement that will give teachers the ability to save their class selection as a default group in the Programmes of Study area. I know this will provide a big time-saver to schools, especially those who are entering a lot of data.

Once a group or class has been selected and saved, it will then remain as a default group within the Programmes of Study area until changed. This default setting will also be carried into all linked Programmes of Study reports too.

SIMS Assessment

Next generation of SIMS Options

And now on to a bit of a teaser! Although our next generation of SIMS Options won’t be available in the spring release, I wanted to give you an update as it’s coming soon.

It’s a paperless solution which will enable students and parents to go online and access information on their GCSE and A-level subject choices from the comfort of their own home. Schools will benefit from reduced administration with the subject choices automatically feeding back into SIMS, saving countless hours having to collate every student’s options submission.

As with SIMS Interventions, we’ve had lots of positive feedback from the schools who’ve been piloting the product. We’re aiming to launch in May 2017, so look out for further details in the coming months.

Staff can pay for meals in SIMS Agora too!

We are delighted to announce that the latest feature in SIMS Agora allows all school employees to use SIMS Agora for school dinners too. Now staff can view and top up their meal balance and just like parents, they will receive notifications when their balance is running low. It's quick and easy to get staff started and is yet another step towards a fully cashless school.

Enhancements to our apps

Although our cloud products are no longer updated in our annual releases, there’s a new feature to our popular app and an exciting product launch. For SIMS Teacher app users, we’ve implemented a popular request from schools to integrate the app with SIMS Dinner Money. Schools will now be able to switch between the attendance and dinner registers and complete in a matter of minutes.

I can’t finish without mentioning the upcoming release of our new SIMS Parent and SIMS Student apps. These apps are the next generation in our parental engagement solution, enhancing the way your school communicates with parents and students, through the convenience of an app. Both apps are now available to pre-order.

To find out about more features of the SIMS spring release, take a look at our pre-release notes on My Account.

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