It’s been a busy year for the education sector, and it’s hard to believe that the education technology event of the year is just around the corner. Bett 2016 was particularly rewarding for us and we were delighted that SIMS Assessment with the SIMS Teacher app won the Bett award for ICT Tools for Learning, Teaching & Assessment. It is testament to the sheer dedication of our development team to have created such a comprehensive solution to support assessment in schools.
Parents are one of the most critical factors in helping pupils move forward in their learning. Over the next 12 months, our focus will be on giving schools the tools to drive parental engagement and help raise pupil achievement. Our theme for Bett 2017 focuses on working together in collaboration and providing the tools for the whole school to engage with parents and inspire their pupils, whether you’re a small primary school or a large multi-academy trust.
We will be on stand B190 and the stand will be divided into different zones aimed at different roles within the school. I thought I would share a few of my highlights that you can expect to see from SIMS at Bett 2017. Here’s how each area of our stand can support your role:
1. Providing the insight for senior leaders
As the number of academies and multi-academy trusts continues to grow, the performance of MATs is increasingly coming under the spotlight. It’s important that MATs have effective performance systems in place to have a clear overview of data in all of their schools and to track progress. I’m pleased to reveal that Bett 2017 will see the launch of our new solution for multi-academy trusts, SIMS SchoolView. Developed with you, for you, SIMS SchoolView provides a central data dashboard consolidating key SIMS data in visual graphs and displays to provide a complete picture of how schools in a group are performing. Group leaders can use the ready-made filters to see breakdowns of key performance measures in their schools including attendance, pupil numbers, conduct, assessment, staff information and many more.
SIMS SchoolView is designed to save hours of time and money on data processing for MATs and will enable them to be more efficient, up-to-date and organised. The product was well-received at our Academy Group Leaders’ Annual Conference that we held in November and we are excited to show our solution to you at Bett.
2. Helping teachers to effectively track pupil progress
Having the right data to hand can make a significant impact in the classroom for teachers. We have introduced a new module within SIMS Core Suite that allows schools to track all of the extra resources that you put in place to support progress monitoring and improve student outcomes.
SIMS Interventions allows schools to see all of their interventions data in one place, covering a wide range of areas, such as SEN, pupil premium, academic interventions and pastoral support.
Being part of SIMS Core, you will have all the power of SIMS at your fingertips, giving schools a wealth of contextual data, as well as analytical power, to understand exactly how your interventions are helping your students. Our staff on stand at Bett would be happy to show you how it works, so please do take a look if you’re planning to attend the show.
3. Engaging parents and students
With the world becoming more digital, the vast majority of parents and students now own smartphones or tablet devices. Research we carried out earlier in the year with primary school parents and teachers reveals that over half of parents (63%) said that their child’s school does not offer pupil progress information via text but over a third (33%) would like their school to offer this. Similarly, only a third of parents (33%) surveyed receive their child’s pupil progress information via a mobile app or portal and 36% would like to see this offered.
I am very excited to reveal we are growing our family of apps with the launch of the SIMS Parent and SIMS Student apps at Bett. The SIMS Parent app allows schools to easily communicate with parents. You can share information on attendance, homework or school reports, so that parents can stay on top of their child’s progress. The app pushes information directly to parents for them to view on their phone, tablet or PC at their convenience. The SIMS Parent app makes parents much more accessible for schools to communicate with, making for more meaningful conversations at parents’ evenings.
The SIMS Student app helps to keep students up-to-date with everything that’s going on in their school life. Whether it’s viewing their timetable or homework tasks, students can easily access key information outside of school directly from their phone, tablet or PC. Schools can also send alerts to students, for example to remind them to bring their sports kit to school or to show how they are progressing against targets.
4. Providing support staff with the tools to keep your school running efficiently
Support staff are at the heart of any school and vital to keep things running efficiently. We’re confident that our hosted solution is a cost-effective one that will save your staff valuable time. Hosted SIMS provides an affordable, hassle-free solution for schools that no longer want to manage the IT, but still want to provide staff with a means of easily recording and their SIMS accessing data. It also means that schools won’t have to worry about unnecessary hardware or maintenance tasks. Ask one of our staff on stand to find out more.
5. Be inspired at our content hub
Our new products are not the only highlights of our stand. We will also be joined by a range of teachers, school staff and expert specialists, talking around key issues such as parental engagement, safeguarding and interventions. We’re also delighted to be joined once again by this year’s Let Teachers SHINE winners, sharing their inspirational projects.
I look forward to seeing you there. Warmest wishes for the festive break.