When we first announced details of the next generation of SIMS back in the spring, we knew it was the start of something big.
But as we count down to the launch of SIMS Primary at BETT 2018, the education technology show, I can see that we are on the brink of completely revolutionising the way schools use their management information systems (MIS).
Those most over-used words – ‘new’ and ‘improved’ – have accompanied product launches since the dawn of time. But we’re not just talking about a few small upgrades here. SIMS Primary isn’t simply a lick of paint on some old technology, it’s a next generation product for the digital age that we have re-built from the ground up.
That’s why we’re so excited about SIMS Primary.
Built with schools for schools
I think the key difference about SIMS Primary is that we have built it with the help of school leaders and teachers like yourself, in schools like yours.
One of the things headteachers told us was that they wanted to be able to ask questions of their system, so they have the information to make the right decisions for their school. We created a visual dashboard which you can personalise, putting in front of you all the latest information that matters right now, in clear, colourful graphics.
In fact, because the information is displayed with such clarity, it not only makes it easier to identify the patterns you would expect, it highlights those you hadn’t noticed before too.
To give you a simple example, you might suspect there’s been a dip in your Year 5’s behaviour, but what you may not realise until you see the graphs is that most incidents happen just after lunch. This new information can guide your decision to rearrange afternoon activities for that year group.
Having all your information at your fingertips, in intuitive, easy-to-interpret visuals, means that nothing important slips through the net.
A tool for teachers in the classroom
For many schools, the MIS has traditionally been the preserve of the school office, but we worked closely with teachers in designing SIMS Primary, and as a result, we have made sure the system will be a joy to use in the classroom.
In my view, one of the features that makes SIMS Primary so classroom friendly is the class log, with a screen displaying photos of each of your pupils. Imagine how easy it will be to click on a picture to record a child’s attendance, or to award them an achievement point for their reading, all from your tablet or PC.
We thought long and hard about how we could help primary teachers in their day-to-day roles, and designed a way to enable you to plan, teach and track your school’s chosen curriculum all from your screen. And you can call up details of pupils’ progress, in graphical form, whenever you need it.
Making school life run smoothly
Another important message we took away from school leaders is that you want to run your school without spending too much time on administrative tasks. That’s why we’ve aimed to provide, through SIMS Primary, a central hub for key school information which makes it much easier for you to report to parents, track behaviour and achievement and complete your statutory returns.
Your pupils, staff and school community are your top priority, so you don’t need the additional responsibility of maintaining servers or ensuring data security. As SIMS Primary is hosted in the cloud, this is taken care of for you, so these worries can be wiped from your to do list.
We have plenty more to tell you, and in the run up to Bett, we’ll be sharing news about how SIMS Primary can help your school. In the meantime, please visit www.simsnextgeneration.co.uk and register to find out more. We’ll be releasing exclusive SIMS Primary content to those who sign up first.