“Both the Winter and the Summer Solstices are expressions of love. They show us the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterize our experiences in the Earth school so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives.”
Our Autumn Release includes some useful changes driven by our customers’ requests. Some of my highlights include:
- Options Online
The SIMS Options online product is part of the Curriculum Management suite and allows students to make their choices online, alternatively it also allows Form Tutors or Housemasters to sit down with the students to select their choices. To date, parents have had the ability to approve the student’s choices, but a popular request has been included in the new release to allow parents with the ability to enter the subject choices on behalf of their child. This is a configurable option by the school to allow this feature
We have also made changes to the solution editor to allow schools greater flexibility in creating the best solution for your school and students. We have changed the algorithm to produce an advanced shuffle, looking at the students reserved subjects and class sizes.
We have also included a Test functionality to produce a report on the possibility of placing unallocated classes into each block giving the school different options and allow them to choose one of the suggestions.
- Parental Engagement
I have previously mentioned our Parental Engagement solution and as part of this solution we also have a Student App. This allows Students to:
- View their Timetable
- View any Notifications / Messages
- View their Termly / Interim Assessment Reports
- View their Attendance or Lesson Attendance
- Display any Achievement and Behavior Incidents
- Find out what homework they have, submit their homework online or mark the homework as completed (if this needs to be handed in)
- Find out the latest Assessment results
- Look at their Extra Curricular Activities
The amount of information shown in the app is controlled by the school.
We have also made changes to allow Teachers or Senior Leaders to access an overview of the homework handed in, not handed in, due and overdue for the School, Year, Subject or Individual student providing an effective way of monitoring homework for the students.
- ISC and SLASC Census
Not always the most exciting of topics but the returns your school needs to submit to the Independent School Council and/or the Department for Education can be generated from SIMS and uploaded to their web portal. The changes for the 2020 returns have been included in the Autumn Release and will be covered in our Autumn User Groups and a webinar we are holding on 8 January.
- Continued Change Requests
In the SIMS Autumn Release we continue to enhance SIMS with the most popular change requests.
- Take Register
One of the most common requests we have received from Independent and International schools is the ability to better display the name within Take Register, whether this is the Preferred or Legal Names, display the pupils middle name or have the pupil’s forename before their surname. As part of the Autumn release the school can now configure the appearance of the pupil names and sort order to meet their own requirements.
- Programme of Study
Over the last twelve months I have been speaking to an increasing number of schools relating to our Programme of Study; the meaning of which may not register with you immediately. Simply put, rather than only recording a grade at the end of each term or half term, the programme of study approach is to break the curriculum into bite-sized chunks shown as statements so that teachers can identify a student as emerging, developing, secure or mastered against each statement. We do supply a range of statements for core and foundation subjects, but these statements can be adapted and edited or made inactive and additional subjects can be setup by your school according to need. The reason I think for the increased interest is the additional customisation we have added to this Area from Adding, Modifying or deleting Subject, Strands and Statements. Although the number of grades can’t be changed the Grade descriptions can be changed to meet your schools’ requirements.
As part of the Programme of Study we also provide some analysis reports for Summative and Formative both Attainment and Progress. These reports can produce counts of Pupils at each Grade or Percentages. These reports have previously been for one Subject at a time but one of the useful changes on this release is the option to include Core Subjects which will allow you to compare Maths, Reading and Writing on one report.
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 roles across your school. Please do let me know what you think using the blog comments below.