Ooof! What a manic start to the academic year it’s been. From the many independent school conferences and school visits to the yo-yoing, “can’t make its mind up” weather. A daily gamble for those inclined. I’m sure many of you will have appreciated the well-deserved half term break and I hope you’ve returned to school fighting fit.
Just going back to conferences, what a fantastic two days in Windsor at our SIMS Independent and SIMS International conference. Thank you to all of you who attended. It was great to see you and don’t forget, all the presentations are now available on My Account.
It’s now time for the Autumn Release and true to form, a fitting quote, this time from Marcus Aurelius:
“Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.”
So, what’s in the Autumn Release:
As you can hopefully remember from my previous blogs, we are continually enhancing SIMS to help you meet your GDPR commitments.
Following, the last couple of releases, schools can now:
- produce a Person Data Output (PDO) report for a student, member of staff and contacts to assist with any Subject Access Requests (SAR) received.
- use the Parent App Lite which allows parents to update their own information as well as their children’s information held by their school. The app helps further ensure data accuracy and with its approval mechanism, gives the school full control over their information before updating SIMS.
- monitor, evidence and record their data procedures to meet the new regulations with our partner product GDPRiS.
- meet their retention policy more effectively. We enabled schools to delete data for leavers who left more than three years ago such as alerts, attendance, concessions, conduct, curriculum, assessments and SEN information. As part of the Autumn Release we have extended the bulk deletion of student data to include the Communication Log, Interventions and Active Directory Provisional Tools.
2. Continued Change Requests
We are continuing to enhance SIMS with the most popular change requests.
- Medical conditions information has been added to the bulk update routine.
- When recording a pupil’s medical conditions, you can now link the condition to the SEN record.
- When recording the details of a medical condition on the pupil record, the completion of the date the information was received is now optional.
- Groups of schools can now export/import the programme of study grade sets and user-defined elements of the DfE Framework or other user-defined subject/strands so that they can be shared with other schools. This is only for years one to eleven. Our partner product, Learning Ladders can now integrate with the programme of study for schools who want to record at a more granular level.
3. Independent Census
Please note: schools will need to upgrade to the autumn release before generating either the ISC or SLASC returns in January.
Both the Independent Schools Council (ISC) and the School Level Annual School Census (SLASC) have been upgraded based on the latest specification from the ISC and DfE. Schools must upgrade to the Autumn Release before generating either the ISC or SLASC returns in January. Full details of the changes can be found on the release note on My Account.
Both returns can be generated from SIMS and the results can be uploaded to the ISC Web portal or Collect.
We’re running a webinar in early December to provide an overview of the census functionality in SIMS and to show you how to upload the information. You can find further details and register here.
4. Links to Microsoft Teams and OneNote
Although not part of the Autumn Release, at conference, one of the platform sessions on linking Microsoft Teams and in particular the OneNote integration into SIMS Assessments, was met with considerable interest.
Owing to the feedback at conference we will be running a webinar on this functionality in the new year but in the short term the conference presentation is on My Account and if you need further information, please contact us.
I hope you’ll welcome all the enhancements we have included in the SIMS Autumn Release and that they’ll prove useful to those in many different roles across your school.