We are in very challenging and fast moving times, in timely fashion it is good to know that the SIMS Spring Release is available on time. I know many of you have been putting plans in place for remote working and thinking about a contingence plan, whether this is using remoting working with Microsoft Teams, Google Classroom or something similar, putting access arrangements to SIMS or getting teachers to use either the Teacher App or Parent Admin (remember that your Customer Success Manager will be available if you need advice). Knowing our temperament I remember the quote an American Poet E. E. Cummings - "Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit".
When I look at the key changes in the Spring release, I believe it has a theme of Preparation and Communication:
- Exams access arrangements in SIMS .net
In preparation of the exam season, which may be one of the most challenging for years, we have added to the reporting area the ability to report on Access Arrangements or some would call Special Arrangements with the other data you have about the student, previously this was only available in Exams
- Bulk update of destination university information
One of the task Independent School need to complete in January for the Independent School Council Census, is the University / Higher Education destination of your Year 13 leavers. This information is normally entered onto the Student record and you also can get a file of the University Placements from UCAS. This file is available to any school where they are going to attend a university in the United Kingdom. We have now added a new routine which will allow Administrators to Import this file from UCAS. Allowing for the analysis to be calculated on the number of pupils are going which universities.
- Bulk import of student's email and telephone details
We also have a facility to import telephone numbers and email addresses for contacts and employees into SIMS and we have added a new routine which will allow you to easily import the students’ email or telephone numbers into SIMS, for example the students’ school email address or mobile numbers, again saving the administrator time.
- Parent App Enhancements
Although not part of the Spring Release a few of the most recent changes to Parent App includes:
- The notification area now allows the school to add attachments within the app making it easier to send different types of pre-prepared School Newsletters, House Letters or other notifications to parents or students.
- If your school also has InTouch, this will allow the parent to reply to the message with the App, sending this directly back to the school.
- Homework Element allows students to submit the homework online and for the teachers to mark and comment on the homework and then send this back to the Student. Teachers can be given access to the Parent Admin portal to send homework or set tasks to complete for students whilst the schools are closed and once submitted, leave feedback on the work immediately.
I hope you’ll welcome all the enhancements we have included in the SIMS Spring 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.