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Latest MIS news and updates from School ICT – January Newsletter

By 13th January 2021No Comments

Welcome to 2021!

While it’s not the start to the year we all hoped for, we can assure you that we are still doing everything we can to keep everyone safe and continue with business as usual in lockdown #3.

In Team News we are delighted to announce that Ruth Rogers has been promoted from an MIS Support Officer to an MIS Consultant. We are sure you will join us all in congratulating Ruth on her well deserved promotion!

School Census - 21st January 2021

Following consultations with schools and their representatives, the DfE has decided to go ahead with School Census Spring 2021 as planned. 

Timescales will remain as scheduled, but the DfE understands that there may be individual circumstances that make this difficult to comply with. If this is the case the DfE will be asking schools and LA’s to let them know as soon as possible, so that they can provide support. As soon as we have more information, we will let customers know.

Pupil Premium

The government has announced that pupil premium and service premium rates will remain unchanged for the financial year 2021 to 2022.

From April 2021, pupil premium allocations will be calculated based on the number of eligible pupils recorded by schools in their census in October 2020.

For DFE Pupil Premium guidance please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pupil-premium/pupil-premium

Attendance and COVID Guidance

Capita have produced a webpage with some useful resources to help schools with how SIMS can help during this period with useful links, reports, videos and webinars: https://support.capitasoftware.com/csm?id=kb_article_view&sysparm_article=KB0036072&sys_kb_id=1c4eb4b5db6160103eeaa0214b961957&spa=1

Attendance update

We wanted to ensure that our schools were fully aware of the current government advice regarding COVID attendance and the School Census.

Attendance guidance for current lockdown: –

As vulnerable children are still expected to attend school full time, they should not be marked as Code X if they are not in school (except if they are shielding, self-isolating or quarantining). Schools and colleges should encourage vulnerable children to attend, but if the parent of a vulnerable child wishes their child to be absent from school, the parent should let the school know that the pupil will not be attending. The Department for Education expects schools and colleges to grant such applications for leave given the exceptional circumstances. This should be recorded as code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) unless another authorised absence code is more applicable.

As with vulnerable children, critical worker parents and carers should let schools know if their child will not be attending and, if not, schools should grant a leave of absence (code C) given the exceptional circumstances.

All pupils who are not expected to be in school should be marked as Code X. They are not attending because they are following public health advice.

Current Attendance guidance for when schools resume: –

Instances for when the X code should be used:

  • A student is self-isolating, has symptoms or is awaiting a COVID test result
  • Pupils who are clinically extremely vulnerable and are therefore shielding

Instances when the I (Illness) code should be used:

  • Code X should be used for the period of self-isolation until the test. After the pupil tests positive they should be recorded as code I (illness) until they are able to return to school.
  • A student has had a negative test result but remains unwell such as with a different illness.

The following resources to assist with attendance are available on the Customer Portal (my.schoolicts.co.uk):

  • School ICT have produced several free reports that will help schools analyse attendance with and without the inclusion of the X code. These can be accessed via Categories/Report Downloads.
  • We have also created a video under the attendance category to help schools understand the impact of the X code.
  • Our recent free Best Practice in SIMS seminars also included a COVID Attendance section and a demonstration on the functionality our new, free, reports allow. These videos are available to watch under the events category on our portal.

Our suggested guidance for Secondary Schools wishing to monitor home learning lesson attendance: –

  1. Ensure that in Tools / Setups / Lesson monitor Options / Lesson monitor Setup, the tick boxes for copy lesson marks to sessions for both AM and PM sessions are unticked
  2. Record session attendance as X or C as per the current DfE lockdown attendance guidance for AM/PM registration
  3. Record lesson attendance as normal

Census update: –

School Spring Census (21st January 2021) will be the first School Census to report all attendance codes other than the following two:

  • Z – ‘Pupil not on roll,’
  • # – School closed

It is therefore vital that the correct codes for the right period are recorded as the DfE are looking at the impact of COVID. However, the DfE are currently in the process of reviewing the January census in its entirety. At this stage we do not know if the census will go ahead or if it does what format that will take. As soon as we receive an update, we will let customers know.  

Please note from September 2020 schools should NOT be using the Y, # or 7, 8, 9 codes to record COVID related attendance.

For further information regarding attendance please consult the below DfE documentation.

*New * DfE Restricting attendance during the national lockdown (updated 7th January 2021)

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/950510/School_national_restrictions_guidance.pdf

DfE COVID Attendance Guidance: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-attendance/addendum-recording-attendance-in-relation-to-coronavirus-covid-19-during-the-2020-to-2021-academic-year

COVID Testing – Recording Parental Consent

There are several ways in which consent could be recorded within SIMS. We are recommending that schools record this using the Parental Consent area within the student record. This will allow for easy updating and easy reporting. It will also appear within the Parent App and Parent App Lite for parents to update.

Guidelines on how to set this up in SIMS and the report file are available from the customer portal via Categories/SIMS General/Covid Testing Parental Consent

Priority 1 Contact Details in SIMS

One of our FAQ’s is a report to identify the priority contact e-mail and phone numbers of students in SIMS.

To assist with this, please visit our customer portal and search for ‘Priority 1 Contact report’, you will be able to download the report file and import into SIMS via Reports/Import, it will then be available to run in SIMS.

Best Practice in SIMS Webinars

Bookings are now open for our Spring term, online Best Practice in SIMS events, which are absolutely free!

To secure your place, please visit: https://www.schoolicts.co.uk/latest-events/, click on the appropriate Best Practice in SIMS event where you will then be able to request your place: –

Primary – 10th March 2021

Secondary – 11th March 2021

Agendas will be confirmed shortly. 

Microsoft Training Courses

Did you know that School ICT are an official Microsoft Testing Centre?

We can offer online Microsoft training courses for Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook and Access.  We can provide online bundles of learning packages, ranging from beginner to advanced levels which are self-paced, flexible and can build up to the Microsoft Office Specialist exam if you wish.

For further details on the different learning packages available and pricing information, please contact helpdesk@schoolicts.co.uk or give us a call on 0345 2226802 (Option 1 – SIMS Team).

Online Training and Distance Learning Courses

Just a reminder that we are continuing to run our full training brochure online, allowing delegates to access training from anywhere.

In addition to this, we have just launched our Distance learning offering. This allows a delegate to work through a certified SIMS training course at their own pace with access to the course content for a whole year.  We are adding new courses regularly so please keep checking back to see our full course offering!

– Distance Learning – Courses may be purchased and worked through at your own pace, for more information visit: https://learning.schoolicts.co.uk/

– Online Training – Our scheduled training courses can be viewed and booked at: https://www.schoolicts.co.uk/online-training/

If you have a particular course that you would like to attend or purchase that doesn’t yet appear to be available, please let us know.

If you’re looking for a more tailored solution, specifically for your school, we can provide bespoke training and consultancy which can be delivered either onsite or online. Please contact helpdesk@schoolicts.co.uk or call: 0345 222 6802 to discuss your requirements with us in further detail.

Summer 2021 Examinations

Following the announcement on Monday 4th January that most exams will not go ahead for Summer 2021, please see the statements and links below for further information: –

GCSE, A Level and AS Level exams to be replaced by teacher assessed grades in summer 2021:

The Secretary of State Gavin Williamson has confirmed that:

  • All GCSE, AS and A Level exams in summer 2021 are cancelled
  • Students will instead receive grades based on a form of teacher assessment
  • Training and support will be provided to teachers to ensure teacher-assessed grades ‘are awarded fairly and consistently across the country’
  • Details will need to be fine-tuned in collaboration with Ofqual, the exam boards and teaching organisations
  • Ofqual launched a 14 day consultation this week to get feedback from the sector
  • Results may be issued early to allow more time for appeals, resits and university admissions

As we do not have any further information at this stage regarding the procedures for entries/ registrations for exams, or how these will be recorded, please keep checking https://www.schoolicts.co.uk/latest-news/ regularly where any developments regarding exam entries / Teacher assessed grades will be posted.

Excerpt Statement from the DFE/ Gavin Williamson 6th January regarding examinations for Summer 2021:

With GCSEs and A Levels not going ahead as planned, the exams regulator Ofqual will launch a consultation – alongside the DFE – on the options for alternatives to the exams to ensure every young person gets a fair grade for their work, with the expectation that teacher assessment will be used.

The DFE, with Ofqual, has worked up a range of contingency options, and the details of the approach will be developed in consultation with the exam boards and the sector. This will be based on teacher-assessment, with training and support provided to ensure grades are awarded fairly and consistently.

Assessments in some vocational qualifications can still take place in January, where schools and colleges judge it right to do so. The department is working with Ofqual on arrangements for those who do not take their January assessments, as well as for vocational and technical assessments scheduled for February onwards.

Full statement link – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/education-secretary-outlines-plans-to-support-young-people

Message from the chief regulator for OFQUAL link – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a-message-from-simon-lebus-chief-regulator-on-exams-in-2021

Internet Access Resources

To request free mobile data increases or 4G wireless routers to help disadvantaged children get online, please visit the below link to the GOV.UK site: –

https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/internet-access?fbclid=IwAR1sprTntXfhmNU7HcVXt16PXpsTAGv87TLfov3_YSclvOcu58HmNN4HLO4

Did you know?

Google classroom and Teams can be accessed via an Xbox or Playstation for those students who don’t have access to a laptop? For more information visit: https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/1381033/how-to-access-google-classroom-from-xbox-or-playstation-ps5-evg

Ensure your school is Covid Safe with an InVentry sign in system - FREE Webinar date confirmed!

We are delighted to announce that we will be running two webinar sessions with InVentry, the number one sign in and visitor management system for education, on Thursday the 25th February, there will be sessions tailored to both current and prospective InVentry customers, updating you on the latest features to ensure you are getting the best out of the system, helping to ensure your establishment is Covid-19 safe and making signing in books a thing of the past.

  • 10:00am-10.30am: InVentry Updates – For current InVentry users: Are you getting the most out of your InVentry system?
  • 11:00am-11.30am: What’s it all about? – For non-InVentry users who want to find out more about InVentry sign in solution software

To register for either of the above events, please click the below link: 

https://www.schoolicts.co.uk/event/inventry-webinar-25th-february-2021/

And, as a premium reseller, we have an exclusive offer for InVentry. Buy now and spread the cost over two years, and you can benefit from a fully equipped, MIS compatible system that accurately monitors who is in your school: –

  • NEW features to ensure your school is Covid-19 safe
  • Save admin time and costs
  • Speed up the sign in process
  • GDPR compliant
  • DBS checker
  • Badge printing
  • Auto-manage pupil late marks

Contact us on: 0345 222 6802 for more information or to arrange a no obligation demonstration or e-mail: marketing@schoolicts.co.uk.

Support staff gaps that need filling? No problem! School ICT Resourcing can help...

School ICT Resourcing – here to support you during lockdown #3 with temporary candidates available and willing to work despite the current situation… 

We specialise exclusively in recruiting temporary and permanent, non-teaching support staff for the education sector.

How do we differ from other agencies?

– We follow the Safer Recruitment process for all candidates.

– All or our admin support candidates have SIMS experience or have completed training through the SICTS dedicated SIMS training team. 

– All candidates have the backing of our SIMS Support Team, who will be on hand to support our candidates throughout their assignment.

– Our candidates receive training and support free of charge, allowing them to continuously improve their skill set.

– All candidates have an enhanced DBS registered with the update service.

– All candidates have professional references.

– All candidates complete a Disqualification Declaration Letter.

If we can be of assistance with your recruitment needs now, or in the future, then please don’t wait – book your support staff now. We can support long-term, short-term, and permanent roles.

Contact Helen on: 0113 3720039 or e-mail: helen.goddard@schoolictresourcing.co.uk

Know anyone looking for a new support provider?

If you know of anyone that’s looking to change support providers – let them know about our FREE trial!

Anyone considering moving their MIS support can sign up to a no-obligation, free 14 day trial of our support services using the link below: –

https://www.schoolicts.co.uk/free-trial/

Anyone signing up will get unlimited access to our expert MIS team on the phone or via e-mail. Just complete your details in the form and one of our team will be in touch to arrange the trial.

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