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Happy New Year!
Welcome to our January 2022 MIS News Update.

School Census - Spring 2022

Funding and Monitoring (FAM) is being collected for the first time in this Census, please access guidance through the following link: – 

To run the Spring Census, SIMS must be upgraded to Autumn version of SIMS 7.202. The version of SIMS can be checked via Help | About on the Homepage in SIMS. Schools also need to ensure they have applied Consolidated Database Patch 4 for Primary and All Through Schools – this applies to Early Years and Currently Fileset 2003 needs to be applied. 

Collection Periods 

Attendance from 01/09/2021 to 31/12/2021 

Exclusions from 05/04/2021 to 31/12/2021 

FSM 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


A reminder that details of all classes running at the selected time on Spring census day are based on the last digit of a school’s DFE establishment number. 

(Click on image to enlarge).

Spring census

Guidance notes are available to download from the School ICT Customer Portal under Student Census and we have scheduled the following SIMS training courses to support with running your school census: 

  • 11th January 2022 – SIMS Secondary Census (½ day)
  • 14th January 2022 – SIMS Primary Census (½ day) 

Places are limited so please book early via  to secure a place and avoid disappointment. 

Arbor Census  

Please find Arbor information on completing the census in the following links below: – 

For additional support, Arbor are running two webinars to help schools with their census which we highly recommend attending, especially if this is your first January census. Please find links to these below: –

Dry Run: Thursday 6th January at 11.30  

Census Day: Wednesday 19th January at 11.30  

SIMS Covid Illness Analysis

Due to the high number of support calls we have received about how Covid illness has impacted on attendance, we have created a new Covid Illness Analysis report. 

The Attendance Analysis Report pack is available to download from the School ICT Customer Portal ( via Knowledge base/Categories/ Report Downloads and contains: – 

  • Covid Illness Analysis 20/21 
  • Covid Illness Analysis 22/22 

These reports will provide an analysis tab (group level information) and a data tab (student level information). Any filters that are applied on the data tab will update the information on the analysis. The data tab also contains a data checking column to check that sub-codes have been assigned to all “I” codes to assist schools that are doing this. 

(Click image to enlarge).

Sims covid illness analysis

Exams - Summer 2022

Reminder of key dates relating to 2022 exams: –

  • The deadline for Summer 2022 Entries is 21st February 2022
  • Date of the first Exam on the common timetable is 16th May 2022 
  • Restricted release of results issued to Centres – GCE, Extended Project – 17th August 2022 
  • Release of results to students – GCE, Extended Project – 18th August 2022 
  • Restricted release of results to Centres – GCSE, Level 1 & 2 Projects – 24th August 2022 
  • Release of results to students – GCSE, Level 1 & 2 Projects25th August 2022 

You can find all key dates on JCQ here: 

Arbor - New features and latest updates

Bulk student enrolment 

Previously just for nursery year groups, the Bulk Enrolment page can now be used to manage enrolment for any students in your school! 

No need to re-import a spreadsheet or manage tricky automatic enrolments – the Bulk Enrolment page allows you to view enrolments into multiple classes at once and quickly add new students or remove them from a register. 

Prevent attendance from being overwritten 

You let Arbor know that it was too easy for teachers to change planned absence marks to N codes in the registers, so they have introduced a new setting to help prevent this from happening. Go to Students > Attendance > Admin > Take Register Settings and click into the Prevent Absences from being overwritten option. When set to Yes: 

  • You cannot change a pre-fill planned absence mark to a different absence mark 
  • If you select late or present, you will be reminded the student already has an absence, and you will need to confirm 

Viewing planned absences 

Arbor has always shown planned absences in the Students list on the Lesson Dashboard, but now these have been moved into their own columns, allowing you to see any pre-filled planned absence marks and comments more easily before you open the register. 

You can also now see planned absence marks and comments on the Attendance > Bulk Edit Marks Standard page, and on the Attendance > Marks (By Date) page on student profiles. 

  • Arbor have made improvements to the School > Timetable > Clashes page, including sticky filters, options to view Students, Staff or Rooms (or a combination), an extra column for the clashing event timeslot and the ability to jump right into resolving the clash by clicking the event. 
  • They have also now added Year Group and Registration Form to the Assessments > Summative Tracking > Export > Raw Summative Marks and Targets & Baselines pages. 
  • Absent marks are now displayed as a red cross on the Wraparound Care Club Daily Summary page, where they used to show as a grey cell. 
  • The time it takes to generate or refresh report cards for large schools has been sped up.
  • Ad Hoc assessments will now show on Report Cards if the assessment period overlaps with the report card attainment date range. Previously, the date range needed to be set to the beginning of the year to include annual Ad Hocs, meaning students who were no longer doing an assessment would still have it showing on their Report Card. 
  • The minimum length for passwords has now been updated to 7 characters. 
  • The qualification level has been added to the Exam Statement of Results so users can easily see if it is a GCSE/BTEC/A-Level. 
  • To help you check if students have multiple addresses recorded, Arbor has added the Number of current postal addresses field. Just select it in the Custom Report Writer when reporting on Students or Parents, Guardians and Contacts. 
  • Add in how many hours a course contributes to EEP hours (if at all) in bulk by selecting the Student Course EEP Hours Contribution option in the Students table within a course. View the calculated totals or update these figures from the Bulk Update > Learning and EEP Hours page. 

SIMS Options

Using Nova T6 and Options to Prepare the Timetable for the next academic year 

Options Online has replaced both Options 5 and SIMS Options Offer although both are still currently available for use. 

Options Online is a web-based application and it reads school, student and course information from SIMS, this data is updated and refreshed on an hourly basis. Options Online can be run and completed from a web browser or from the menu route in SIMS. Once complete the allocated choices can be transferred directly into Academic Management and blocks into the Nova model. Schools could choose if they want to allow students to access and input choices directly into the software or if an administrator completes the task. As with Options 5 there is no additional cost. 

ESS guidance for the academic year 2022/23 is available to download from SICTS My Portal for Preparing the timetable using Options Online or Options 5. 

Menu route: Knowledge Base|Categories|Nova (Timetabling) 

Quick step by step to carrying out the Options Online Process: 

  1. Design the Options Plan, create pathways, lists, and blocks as appropriate 
  2. Students make choices 
  3. Produce Solution, create classes/blocks based on choices 
  4. Export Blocks and classes and associated memberships to SIMS 
  5. Export Blocks into Nova 

  Quick step by step to carrying out the Options 5 Process: 

  1. Create new academic year in SIMS 
  2. Create Nova data set for next academic year & export band structure to SIMS 
  3. Complete student promotion and assign target year group to bands 
  4. Set up a new implementation in Options 5 
  5. Import the Curriculum Data from Nova T6 into Options 5 
  6. Import students from SIMS into Options 5 
  7. Produce Solution, create classes/blocks based on choices. 
  8. Export Blocks and classes from Options 5 into Nova 
  9. Export Curriculum and Timetable from Nova into SIMS (end date last day of term July) 
  10. Export student memberships from Options 5 into SIMS 

For a reminder of how to start the next academic years’ timetable, there is a help sheet available to download from the School ICT customer portal :

Menu route: Knowledge Base|Categories|Nova (Timetabling)|NT6 Creating next year’s timetable file. 

Cyber security training for school staff

The NCSC (National Cyber Security Centre) has created a free cyber security training package which helps schools to improve their cyber resilience, raising awareness of and supporting school staff to manage some of the key cyber threats facing schools.

The training is available as a scripted presentation pack or a self learn video, both of which, along with further information, can be accessed via the following link: –
At the end of the training a link to a downloadable training certificate can be accessed. This can be printed so staff and schools can demonstrate their cyber security awareness training.

Vacancies - School ICT is recruiting!

Due to continued company growth, we are looking to expand our MIS team and are currently recruiting for the roles of MIS Support Officer and MIS Consultant (SIMS / Arbor).

For further information on either role please visit:

If yourself or anyone you know would like to apply, please do so by Monday the 31st January. 

Considering a change of MIS?

If you are considering moving MIS, then please speak to us. With years of experience helping schools move MIS we can offer specialist knowledge and support to guide you through the change process. 

As part of our webinar week last October, we ran a webinar specifically focusing on this topic, entitled ‘Key considerations for moving MIS’ which is available to watch via our customer portal: – via Knowledge base/ Categories/Events/ Webinar Week – Moving MIS Considerations October 2021.

FREE Power BI Webinars - 13th and 27th January

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NEW from School ICT: Power Genie – dashboards delivered through Power BI

School ICT invite you to explore our new offering Power Genie! Data dashboards delivered via Power BI with OFSTED in mind.

Power Genie focuses on School level Attendance, SEN and Staff absence data and is an out of the box solution which enables you to gain visual insights from your data without needing to set up complex reports yourself – bringing your data to life at the click of a button and saving you hours of time.

To find out more book your place at one of our FREE webinars, Thursday the 13th January from 10.00am – 11.00am or Thursday 27th January from 12.00pm – 13.00pm, where our data analyst John Madden will demonstrate the solution which can be utilised at both individual school and MAT level.

Please click here to book: Power BI Webinars

For more information 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:

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