Skip to main content

December Update

SIMS ESS New Ideas Portal

Is there a feature in this release that you would have liked to have seen? You can now raise suggestions via the new ideas Portal!

The ideas portal is the perfect place to raise any innovative ideas or suggested enhancements to the existing functionality you may have. Take the opportunity to view, vote and promote ideas that you feel would make the most difference to your experience in SIMS. The product team at ESS are continually reviewing the ideas that are submitted and trending among the community for opportunities to further better the user experience. You can access the customer ideas portal via the support portal ( A number of new features have been implemented as a result of this portal in the Autumn release of SIMS.

Phonics Reminder - SIMS & Arbor

Cancellation of the phonics screening check in June 2021 means incoming year 2 pupils did not take the check in year 1. In the 2021/2022 academic year only, it is statutory for schools to administer a past version of the phonics screening check to year 2 pupils during the second half of the 2021 autumn term and return results to the LA. Year 2 pupils who meet the expected standard in phonics in the autumn check will not be required to complete any further statutory assessments in phonics. Year 2 pupils who do not meet the expected standard in the autumn check will be expected to take the statutory check in June 2022, alongside year 1 pupils.


To enable submission, you will require the Autumn 2021 release of SIMS which is due out in the next couple of weeks. Detailed guidance on how to set up the marksheets and submit the data can be downloaded from the Customer portal via  Knowledge base/Categories/Key stage/ Year 2 Phonics Autumn Term 2021


Detailed guidance can be obtained via–0-0

SIMS Autumn Upgrade Release Notes - Some exciting and highly requested new features!

School Report

Enhancement to the SIMS School Report

Reports | School Report

It is now possible to include leavers who were on-roll at any point between the Start Date for Attendance, Conduct and Exclusions and the Reference Date by selecting the Include Leavers check box. Information on leavers is now included in the report output.


Adding Inactive User Defined Fields to Assessment Marksheets and Templates

Focus | Assessment | Marksheet Entry
Focus | Assessment | Template

It is now possible for a class teacher to add inactive User Defined Fields (UDFs) to an Assessment marksheet as Additional Student Columns. It is also possible for an Assessment Co-ordinator to add inactive UDFs to a template as Additional Student Information columns.

Including Pupil Premium Information when Printing or Exporting Marksheets in Bulk

Tools | Performance | Assessment | System Utilities | Marksheets

When bulk printing and exporting marksheets (using the Print a selection of Marksheets or Export a selection of Marksheets options in the Marksheets wizard), Pupil Premium information can be included by selecting the Show Pupil Premium Indicator check box.

New additional student column fields available

Focus | Assessment | Marksheet Entry
Focus | Assessment | Template

It is now possible to display the following as additional student information columns on a marksheet:

  • Total Achievement Points
  • Total Behaviour Points
  • UPN

The totals represent the cumulative points accrued by the pupil/student during the academic year referenced in the Group Membership Date.

Before printing or exporting marksheets that contain a UPN, you are asked to confirm this action before this sensitive data can be shared. Please note that the DfE suggests that the inclusion of a UPN on a marksheet should not be widespread practice.

Not using Behaviour in SIMS? Why not watch our previously recorded free webinar on using the behaviour module in SIMs which is available on the customer portal  via Knowledge base/ Categories/Behaviour/Behaviour Management – Did you know?


Attendance Subcode Amendments

Applicable to schools in England only (except Nursery schools)

Focus | Attendance

Attendance subcodes X03 and X04 are no longer active.

Two attendance subcodes have been added:

  • X08-Director of Public Health advice not to attend
  • X09-Self-isolating – specific group required by NHS test and trace

Subcode Report

Applicable to schools in England only (except Nursery schools)

Reports | Attendance | Selected Pupil (or Student) Reports | Subcode Report

The new Subcode report enables schools to report on COVID-19-related information.

Options are available to report by individual pupil/student, groups of pupil/students and date range.


Enhancements to the Reporting Dictionary

Reports | Design Report

The following items have been added to the reporting dictionary:

  • Staff Code (via Staff | Basic Details)
  • Staff Code in the Teacher details | Basic Details node (via School | Class)
  • Staff Code in the Staff | Basic Details node of the Staff involved sub-report (via Behaviour Management | Behaviour Incidents)

The Staff Code will be visible in reports to all users who have permissions to view staff basic details. There are no changes to the permissions required when recording a Staff Code via Focus | Person | Staff.

Applicable to schools in England only (except Nursery schools)

The Funding and Monitoring sub-group are now available when designing a Student | Additional Information report. The following data items are available from this new sub-group:

  • FAM Type
  • FAM Code
  • FAM Description
  • Academic Year
  • Autumn Hours
  • Spring Hours
  • Summer Hours

Enhancements to Timetable Reports

Not applicable to Primary schools

Reports | Timetables

The cursor position now defaults to the Search by code field instead of the Effective date field in the following reports:

  • Staff Timetable(s)
  • Room Timetable(s)
  • Non-class code Timetable(s)
  • Subjects Timetable

The cursor position now defaults to the Search by Name field instead of the Effective date field in the following reports:

  • Student Timetable(s)
  • Periods Timetable

SIMS Online Services Guidance & FAQ's

Need help with SIMS Online Services? Did you know from your SIMS homepage you have access to lots of resources and help guides relating to SIMS Online Services such as SIMS Parent App, Student App, Activities and SIMS ID. Select Documentation Centre then ‘Other Products’ tab on your SIMS Home Screen. It can also be accessed via this link: SIMS Documentation Centre 

We have also provided updated documentation relating to registration and login screens for Online services which can be downloaded on via Knowledgebase/Categories/Parent app/Managing SIMS online services. 

Sims online services guidance faqs 1 1

Sims online services guidance faqs 2

Arbor - Change requests

If you would like to suggest a change to a particular element of Arbor you can submit product feedback using the link below, selecting the most appropriate ‘best fit’ panel. This is the perfect place to raise any innovative ideas or enhancements to the existing functionality you may have to feed into the future development of Arbor. 

Arbor customer experience 002

School Census - 20th January 2022

Just a reminder that the next school census will soon be here – we will publish more information at the beginning of next term but the key dates for this collection are: – 

  • Attendance collected from the start of the Autumn term to 31/12/2021 
  • Exclusions collected from 05/04/2021 to 31/12/2021 
  • Free School Meal Eligibility collected from 08/10/2021 to 20/01/2022 
  • Alternative Provision Placements collected from 01/08/2021 to 20/01/2022 
  • Funding and Monitoring collected from 01/08/2021 to 20/01/2022 
  • Learner Support collected from 01/08/2021 to 20/01/2022

SIMS New features 

Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education 

Applicable to Primary and All-Through schools only 

To enable schools to report on Relationships Education, RSE and Health Education as a class activity, this option has been added to the Activity drop-down list in the Classes panel. 

Where applicable, this change is also reflected in the Class detail report. 

Alternative Provision Detail Report 

The new Alternative Provision detail report displays information about the school arranged alternative provision placements that fall within the data collection period (01/08/2021 to 20/01/2022). 

An additional table is displayed specifically for Pupil Referral Units. 

This report enables schools to check that the data is accurate before supplying the census file to the DfE. 

Exclusions Detail Report 

Not applicable to Nursery schools 

For the Spring 2022 census, the Exclusions report includes both fixed term exclusions and suspensions. 

The report criteria has been updated to reflect this information: 

  • Pupil/students with exclusions and final exclusion reviews from 05/04/2021 to 31/12/2021 
  • On-roll pupil/students and leavers 
  • Fixed term exclusion/suspensions (excluding lunchtime suspensions) starting from 05/04/2021 to 31/12/2021 
  • Permanent exclusions from 05/04/2021 to 31/12/2021
  • Suspension is the new name for a Fixed Term Exclusion 

Update Funding and Monitoring 

Tools | Statutory Return Tools | Update Funding and Monitoring 

Not applicable to Nursery schools 

The funding and monitoring functionality enables schools to record and extract information about pupil/students who are in receipt of parts of the Education Recovery Package. 

Funding and Monitoring Detail Report 

Routines | Statutory Returns | School Census 

Not applicable to Nursery schools 

The Funding and Monitoring report displays funding and monitoring information for pupil/students during the collection period 01/08/2021 to 20/01/2022. 

The report enables schools to check that the data is accurate before supplying the census file to the DfE. 

SIMS ID - Important Information for parents & students regarding SIMS Parent & Apple ID - Action required on 10th December

To support the ongoing security of the Apple ID and SIMS ID integration some changes are required to our infrastructure. Existing Apple ID associations with SIMS ID will cease to work once we have implemented some changes to the platform on the evening of 9th December.

Users will need to re-activate their Apple ID to continue to access the SIMS Parent App from 10th December.

On the evening of 9th of December, ESS will be implementing a required change and as a result existing Apple ID’s will cease to work.

Affected users will receive an email on the 10th of December with a link to re-activate their Apple ID.

  1. Click on the link and sign in using your Apple ID
  2. Answer the security question to complete the process

If a user does not receive the email, the user should check their Spam/Junk as it may appear in here.

This change only impacts access using Apple ID. If users wish to use their Apple ID they should follow the instruction provided within the email which will be sent to users on 10th December.

SIMS and Arbor - MIS Update Webinars

School ICT recognise that from time to time schools will want to review their MIS provision and we feel that the solutions from both SIMS and Arbor are best positioned to fulfil the evolving data needs of our supported customers.

As an Accredited support partner for both the SIMS and Arbor Management Information Systems (MIS) for schools, we work in partnership with both software providers to ensure that our customers are kept abreast of the changes and developments across both software suites and to that end we are pleased to be able to offer the following:

SIMS Update Webinar – Wednesday 1st December 10:00am to 11:00am via Microsoft Teams.  Please click here to book your place. (The recorded webinar will be available via the Customer Portal).

If you would like the link to one of the pre-recorded Arbor webinars, please let us know by e-mailing:, please include which link you require from the list below in the e-mail subject: –
*Please note – prior to viewing the Arbor webinar(s) you will be prompted to enter your details and where you currently receive your support service from – please select School ICT Services.

  • Arbor introduction webinar for Primary Schools
  • Arbor introduction webinar for Secondary Schools
  • Arbor introduction webinar for MAT’s
  • Arbor introduction webinar for Special Schools

We hope that you will be able to take the time to view one or more of the above. The team at School ICT have accumulated considerable experience in guiding schools through the process of migrating to a different MIS and if switching MIS is on your agenda, as a supported customer, we will work with you to ensure that you are fully aware of the key considerations and implications of making a change. Please contact us on 0345 2226802 if you would like to discuss further.

Power BI Consultancy Services from School ICT

Adobestock 418492977 preview editorial use only

NEW service from School ICT: Power BI Consultancy.

Working with your school or trust, our dedicated Power BI Consultant will work with you to create bespoke dashboards, tailored specifically to your establishments needs, bringing your MIS data to life.

For more detail please click here, call: 0345 222 6802 or e-mail:


School ICT Resourcing can fulfil all your temporary or permanent recruitment of non-teaching staff

School ICT Resourcing can source temporary or permanent non-teaching staff for your school. Whether short term or for a longer period, we can work with you to find a suitable placement.

If yourself or any colleagues are retiring soon, but would consider working on a temporary or ad-hoc basis, please contact Helen who would love the opportunity to speak with you about the potential of adding you to our candidate list.

For further information please call: 01132878020 or visit:

Leave a Reply