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June Newsletter – All the latest SIMS essential information and updates

By 3rd June 20203 Comments
Don't forget to keep checking the 'News' section of the School ICT website - this is being updated with the latest news and updates as we receive them.

Reminder – End of Year procedures

A reminder that the new academic year can now be set up ready for the fresh start in September, Guidance on how to do this as well as Webinars are available on the Customer Portal via Knowledge base/Categories/End of Year and Knowledgebase/Categories/Webinars.

Update to the Attendance Y Code

Patch 25829 Y Code in Edit Marks is available in SOLUS

Once applied the users:

– Will have access to the Y code in the Edit Marks process

– The Y code will not be set to basic in maintain attendance codes, meaning that it will not appear in the take register screen, however, if a school chooses to enable this they can do so

When adding a Y code in Edit Marks, SIMS will not create a corresponding exceptional circumstance event

– When removing a Y code in Edit Marks (current functionality) the corresponding exceptional circumstance will not be updated (current functionality)

– All SIMS reports use the student’s individual attendance data, agnostic of how it got saved, therefore, all reports will work in the same way, to the same level of accuracy as they did before this customer request


Provision of the ESFA Chart of Accounts for Academies: It is now possible for academies to map the newly prescribed ESFA codes to FMS6 ledger codes.

Multi-Academy Trusts can export their mappings and import into other academies within their trust. This facilitates the provision of a trial balance to the Education and Skills Funding Agency in the ESFA format.

To activate, patch 25686 needs to be applied and FMS upgraded to version 6.192.

Please request the patch from the Helpdesk. Once the patch has been applied the mapping can be carried out within FMS via Tools | General Ledger Setup | Tab 10. Help can be found from within FMS – Help | Documentation Centre. An updated version of the “Getting started with FMS” document is available to reflect the use of the ESFA mapping tool.

If you have any FMS or patch queries please contact the Helpdesk, for any accounting queries please consult your accounting body.

Offers available from Capita

We wanted to ensure schools are aware of the offers Capita currently have available to try to help with parental engagement during this challenging time.

Please see the different options below, if you would like further clarification on anything, please give us a call on 0345 2226802 or email

Parent App Lite

Parent app lite is a completely free system that allows schools to send data collection sheets to parents via a website/app. This then allows you to write some of this information back automatically to SIMS, preventing the need to manually update personal data and conforming with GDPR requirements.

Parent App Full Version

Capita are offering all users who have already setup the Parent App Lite to have access to all the functionality of the full, normally chargeable, version until 31st August 2020. The full version of the Parent App gives schools enhanced functionality, including end to end digital homework, sharing of reports and academic progress, student calendar populated from SIMS, file sharing such as newsletters, documents and school updates and more. Please see the link below for more information about the app including a demo video. Schools are able to revert back to Parent App Lite after 31st August 2020 without charge, if they do not want to continue using the functionality. If you have not already setup Parent App Lite then Capita are offering schools the ability to use this for free until 31st August 2020, but you would be required to purchase a minimum 1-year contract after the trial period. To sign up for the free upgrade from Parent App Lite to Parent App  Click here

Teacher App

Capita are also offering schools the free use of SIMS Teacher app until 31st August 2020. The Teacher App has the following functionality:

  • Ability to check what the normal timetable for the school would be so that you can plan and set appropriate tasks for pupils to do from home.
  • Allow teachers to update any assessment marks or grades that need to be entered which should have been done before school closed, so that everything is up to date for the end of this academic year.
  • Allow teachers to enter marks and grades during this period, if marksheets have been set up in the main MIS and synchronised with Teacher App. Allow teachers to monitor the progress of any online tasks they have set in various applications by recording the results through Teacher App.
  • Once marks are recorded the teacher will get some basic analysis on the marksheet showing how pupils are progressing, all while working at home. To order please contact Barnes, Chris (ESS)

DfE Grant for Office 365 or Google G suite

The DfE has announced thousands of schools will benefit from a ground-breaking partnership to gain access to education platforms.

If you don’t currently have a digital education platform; or are already using Microsoft Office 365 or Google G Suite, but are not yet set up to assign work and communicate with pupils you could receive up to £2,000 to help get set up. Capita have been selected as one of the DfEs authorised Microsoft partners to deliver this programme.

Capita will be providing schools with expert technical support to access Microsoft Office 365 for Education, a free education platform that empowers teachers to unlock creativity, promote teamwork, and provide a simple and safe experience in a single, affordable solution built for education. More information on Microsoft Office 365.

The real benefits to schools of this partnership come from our ability to connect Microsoft Office 365 with SIMS ID to sync users, classes and groups to provide access and for grades to be synced back to SIMS. Not only does this save admin time initially and on an ongoing basis, but it also ensures staff and students have the right access at the right time. Watch the Capita webinar for more details: Simplifying access to your online services for your parents, staff and students

How can you access this support?

Simply complete the following Microsoft Form and you’ll be contacted to advise you of the next steps.

Access Support

To benefit from the SIMS and Office 365 connection ensure you select Capita as your preferred partner in question 26 of the Microsoft form.

View DfE announcement

Covid-19 Government Expectations for Primary Schools from the 1st of June

We are aware that you will be currently drawing up plans to meet the expectations detailed in the newly updated Government guidance below:

This guidance advises of the expectation that from the week commencing 1st of June 2020 at the earliest, Primary Schools are to welcome back children in Nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups.

Please see the link below for the planning guidance:

As your support provider, we are here to offer assistance with the integration of these plans within SIMS. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0345 2226802 if we can help.

Looking ahead to September, we would advise all schools to ensure that the end of year procedures are fully completed before the 31st of August and to prepare for the next academic year in the normal manner.  In the event that we are still in a partial lockdown and social distancing is required, then we suggest that the pastoral structure could be adapted to follow the current Government guidance, but with the aim that the school will return to normal at some point during the new academic year.

Covid-19 Government Expectations for Secondary Schools from the 15th of June

We are aware that you will currently be busy drawing up plans to meet the expectations detailed in the newly updated Government guidance below:

This guidance advises that from the 15th of June 2020, Secondary Schools are able to offer face-to-face support for a quarter of the year 10 and 12 cohort at any one time. Alongside this provision, the government is asking secondary schools to: –

– Continue providing full-time provision for vulnerable pupils in all year groups (including year 10 and year 12)           

– Continue providing full-time provision for children of critical workers in all year groups (including year 10 and year 12)

 – Provide some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 pupils, with a clear expectation that remote education will continue to be the predominant form of education delivery for these year groups and that this should be of high quality

– Continue to use best endeavours to support all other pupils remaining at home, making use of the available remote education support and ensuring a high quality offer

As your support provider, we are here to help with the integration of these plans within SIMS and Nova-T. Please do not hesitate to contact us on: 0345 2226802.

Planning ahead to September, we would advise all schools to ensure that the end of year procedures are fully completed and would recommend that schools develop timetables as normal for the next academic year. In the event that we are still in a partial lockdown situation and social distancing is required, then the new timetable can be adapted to follow the current Government guidance, but with the aim that the original school timetable will at some point of the new academic year be applied in full to all year groups.

Recording Pupil/Student Gender

CAPITA SIMS understand that recording a student’s Gender is different to their sex and that by default, SIMS does not provide a standardised set of values in lookups to meet a school’s needs. 

This standard functionality is driven by Government policy makers in various different specifications and therefore the sex, (currently labelled as Gender), is recorded.  The values available to record against a student’s record are then used in many different reports and filters, often used by schools, their governing body and local authorities when comparing statistics. 

This topic is developing and government agencies are starting to react and discuss how these statutory fields should be configured and mandated.  Capita are working closely with those who have this on their agenda and will make the suggested changes to SIMS as required.  Capita are awaiting further clarification before making changes to the SIMS database.

In the meantime, Capita advises that the current “Gender” field in SIMS is more akin to a student’s sex, i.e. that data which is recorded on their birth certificate.  Schools have the ability to create user defined fields in SIMS and can therefore create a lookup for the values of their choosing for a “Pupil Gender” (or similar named field).  This data can be entered easily into a student’s record and used as a filter in many different pre-defined reports, custom designed reports and analysis grids.

Should you require any assistance with this please contact the helpdesk on: 0345 2226802.

Recording Attendance from the 1st of June

Please see below an excerpt from DfE Guidance. (For full details please visit:

Resuming the attendance register

Schools should:

– Resume taking the attendance register when more groups of pupils begin to return to school

– Consider using the attendance and absence codes in the following sections when completing the attendance register until further notice

This guidance on resuming the attendance register will be reviewed regularly as the situations develops.

Pupils who are not eligible to attend a session

This includes any pupil who is not in an eligible year group or priority group (children of critical workers and vulnerable children). This may also include children who are in an eligible year group but are not required in school for a specific session, i.e., year 10 and year 12 pupils who are not among the quarter of pupils expected in school at a given time.

They should be recorded as code X (not required to be in school). (Temporarily, code X can be used for compulsory school age children – usually it is only used where non-compulsory school age children are not expected to attend.)

Pupils who are eligible to attend a session but do not

This includes children in eligible year groups, children of critical workers and vulnerable children, such as:

– Where a pupil is shielding, self-isolating (see note 1), or the pupil has an education, health and care plan (EHCP) and their risk assessment says that their needs cannot be safely met in school, they should be recorded as code Y (unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances). (Temporarily, code Y can be used where a pupil is prevented from attending school due to following government guidance on Coronavirus). To help you to complete the educational setting status form, you should note whether the absence is due to shielding or isolation

– Where a pupil cannot attend school due to illness, as would normally be the case, the pupil should be recorded as code I (illness). To help you to complete the educational setting status form, you should note whether the illness involves Coronavirus symptoms

– Where a pupil does not attend school – despite being eligible and is not shielding, self-isolating, unable to attend due to illness, nor has an EHCP risk assessment saying their needs cannot be safely met at school, the pupil should be recorded as code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) where no other authorised absence code is appropriate

At this time, all absence should be classed as authorised.

School Spotlight: Automating SIMS Pre-Admissions

On-demand webinar: Discover how Allerton High School had 32% of its pre-admissions applications completed within 12-hours of setting this digital solution live:


School ICT Resourcing

Sign up to our SOS List!

Our SOS list is a monthly newsletter for those emergency staff issues, providing a definitive group of admin staff ready to ‘Support Our Schools’. Sign-up below via the School ICT Resourcing website, you never know when you might need it!

We are currently recruiting for a variety of roles. If you have knowledge of SIMS and / or previous experience of working in a school environment we’d love to hear from you! The opportunities we have need varying levels of expertise from simple reception duties through to more complex Finance administration and even care takers.

We offer flexible working hours in term time only with both part-time and full-time options, excellent rates of pay and holiday pay. If you would like to talk to us about these roles or any other non-teaching opportunities then please contact us.

Visit:, e-mail:  or call Helen on: 0345 222 6802 – option 3 for further information.

NEW!! Online Training...

As we’re unable to provide classroom style training in the current climate, we’re moving our training courses online!

Our online training schedule can be found via the below link and you can book places in the usual way, directly through our website:

Each course will be run by two SIMS consultants, one delivering the content whilst the other assists with helping delegates with any issues or questions to ensure you get the most out of the course. The courses will follow the same format as a classroom style course and you will receive the same training notes electronically, which are yours to keep. You will have access to a remote training database, if required, during the course and a recording of the course will be available for 1 week after the course to refer back to.

Take a look at the courses available in June and July here:

Online Training Schedule June-July 2020

We are aware that the number of online courses is limited, so if there is a course you are particularly interested in that’s not currently available, please contact the helpdesk and we shall do our best to assist!

InVentry Webinar - June 11th

Due to popular demand, we’re holding another round of InVentry webinars on Thursday the 11th June!

Existing InVentry users – Are you getting the most out of your investment?

10:00am-10.30am; InVentry Updates:

  • It’s more than just a sign in solution, for example did you know it can be used for fire evacuations?
  • Are you getting the correct updates to ensure you have the most up-to-date software?
  • InVentry Anywhere – The latest app to manage InVentry remotely e.g. this can be used for school trip management

New to InVentry – What’s it all about?

11:00am-11.30am; For those that don’t yet have InVentry but want to know more about it: –

  • Latest sign in solution software overview
  • How it can help schools save time and money
  • Integrating into SIMS 

If you’re interested in attending one of these free sessions, please contatct us on 0345 222 6802 or email:

We're hiring!
Finance Administrator Vacancy

Due to continued growth and internal promotion, a vacancy has arisen to join our growing team as a Finance Administrator. The role is term-time only, Monday to Friday working from 10am to 2pm. This role will suit an immediately available candidate with good Excel skills and some experience within accounts, especially in credit control and sales ledger. You will be a confident communicator, with the ability to work under pressure and to tight deadlines. Experience of XERO accounts package would be an advantage.

Click here for more information: –

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Deborah O'Brien says:

    Thanks so much for this information – much appreciated. Especially the clarity regarding X and Y codes for attendance.

    • Louisa Knighton says:

      Thanks for your feedback Deborah! Great to be assured we’re providing useful information.

  • Deborah O'Brien says:

    Please could you release patch 25829 to Poynton High School. Thanks

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