Each year, the Association of School and College Leaders bring together a strong selection of speakers and breakout sessions for their annual conference and 2018’s event looks set to be just as beneficial.
ASCL is a hugely significant professional body for the education industry, representing over 18,500 school and college leaders across the UK, playing a key role in areas such as shaping policy, providing best practice support and offering professional development programmes.
The annual conference represents an outstanding opportunity for such a large number of influential professionals to meet, broaden their skillsets and gain a deeper understanding of the issues around school and college leadership, in addition to discovering insight and solutions to those challenges.
Looking at ASCL’s confirmed events for the conference, highlights on the list of speakers include the current Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds MP and British Astronaut Tim Peake, which should provide for a genuinely unique blend of perspective.
At this year’s conference, taking place on Friday 9 and Saturday 10 March, we’re looking forward to an excellent opportunity to meet many of those key influencers and share what the future of SIMS holds for our customers and partners.
Here’s our own product development highlights that we’re excited to share at the ASCL annual conference.
Putting Data Protection Top of your Priorities
When the ASCL conference kicks off on 9 March, there will be just 77 days until the new laws on data protection, the General Data Protection Regulations, or GDPR, come into force.
Among the key requirements of GDPR is the need for data controllers – in this case, schools – to maintain robust and secure systems when it comes to updating and storing data. Combined with the potential increase in demand for subject access requests, schools will certainly benefit from being able to provide parents with an easy-to-use platform for updating details and managing their data.
With this in mind, we’ve created a slimmed-down version of our engagement tool, the SIMS Parent app, which provides schools with exactly this functionality – the SIMS Parent Lite app.
Visitors to our stand at the conference will be able to see how the SIMS Parent Lite app offers a convenient and accessible solution for parents via iOS, Android or a web browser to review and request changes to the data held on them and their children.
In return, schools have the ability to send notifications to parents, reminding them to keep their details up to date, practically eliminating the need to request and collect data via paper.
If you’re an existing SIMS customer, then the SIMS Parent Lite app is included within your SIMS annual entitlement fee so there’s no additional costs either.
The SIMS Parent Lite app is just one part of our entire parental engagement solution. Tools such as SIMS InTouch, SIMS Agora and the full SIMS Parent app allow schools to communicate effectively and rapidly with parents, manage their payment processes online and present all the key information for parents via visual dashboards.
Focusing on Finance for Academies and Multi-Academy Trusts
With more and more schools either switching to academy status or joining burgeoning multi-academy trust (MAT) groups, we’ve developed a powerful new solution specifically for the academy sector, SIMS Finance.
By concentrating on the specific needs of academies and MATs, our solution provides a complete picture of finances from across their entire group with powerful reporting tools supported by clear, concise dashboards presenting the key information in a way that’s easy to understand.
As a result, MAT leaders will have more power than ever to control spending in their groups and identify potential opportunities to benefit from economies of scale.
The Next Generation of SIMS
If you’ve seen anything recently in connection to SIMS Primary, you’ll know that we’re really excited about the future of SIMS and the potential that our next-generation solutions have to empower teachers and enlighten senior leaders in schools.
SIMS Primary is more than just a refreshed management information system – it’s a tool for the classroom to help teachers plan lessons against the curriculum with ease, while making day-to-day tasks like monitoring attainment, recording behaviour and taking the register easier and quicker.
From the point of view of senior leaders, reliable and real-time information provides insight into your school’s performance, allowing you to make the mission-critical decisions for school improvement. And to help make that process as smooth as possible, we’ve re-built SIMS and designed SIMS Primary with the help of teachers and senior leaders to focus on the tools they need to make life easier and continue helping to improve children’s outcomes.
Data Solutions Designed for School Leaders
In addition to our latest product developments, visitors to the ASCL annual conference will be able to gain an in-depth insight into the existing solutions designed to make SIMS more than just a management information system.
Solutions such as SIMS SchoolView, which provides a consolidated view of an academy group’s data, or classroom tools such as the SIMS Teacher app, help make up the holistic collection of products designed to make life as easy as possible for school leaders and teachers.