Skip to main content
EventsSchool ICT NewsSIMS NewsTipsTrainingUncategorisedVacancies

School ICT March Newsletter – Key information for the return to school

By 3rd March 2021No Comments

Welcome to our March update - supporting your return to school.

For all those returning to school next week we wish you a smooth transition! There have been a lot of changes over the last year and it’s been hard for everyone involved in the education sector to keep abreast of what has been happening, during a constantly changing situation.

We have endeavoured to keep you up to date on all the latest changes and amendments to information recorded, as well as statutory return requirements and are aware that this has meant sending a lot of emails, so in this months newsletter, we thought it would be helpful to remind you of some of those changes to assist with the return to school.

Attendance Recording

We wanted to make schools aware of a new patch that will help schools to monitor COVID related absence. The SIMS Autumn 2020 – Consolidated workstation patch 3 – Attendance sub-Codes patch will break down the I and X code into sub-Codes. The statistical meaning will remain the same for the I and X codes, but it will allow schools to monitor this in more detail and assist with filling in the DfE daily attendance spreadsheet. The use of these codes are optional. 

Code I 

– I01 – Illness 

– I02 – Illness – Confirmed COVID-19 

Code X 

– X01 – Non-compulsory school age 

– X02 – Self-isolating – COVID-19 symptoms 

– X03 – Self-isolating – COVID-19 contact inside school 

– X04 – Self-isolating – COVID-19 contact outside school 

– X05 – Quarantine – self-isolating  

– X06 – Shielding as advised 

– X07 – Government advice not to attend

The patch has been released to all schools via SOLUS3. As a workstation patch please note it will not only apply a database patch but will also update each workstation in school.

Patch image

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the School ICT helpdesk. Full instructions along with a a report to help analyse the new codes on using this can be found on our customer portal 

Full guidance on recording attendance for this academic year can be found in the DfE guidance: – 


Recording Full or Partial School Closure for Asymptomatic Testing

The DfE have issued the following guidance: –

“You should record attendance in accordance with the Education (Pupil Registration) (England) Regulations 2006 (as amended) for all pupils.

During the week commencing 8th March secondary school pupils will be offered asymptomatic testing on site. Schools should use code Y for secondary pupils not expected to be attending school for lessons during this week due to the asymptomatic testing programme.

You should use code X if a child is self-isolating or quarantining because of coronavirus (COVID-19) in accordance with relevant legislation or guidance published by PHE or the DHSC.

We will review and provide further advice to schools in due course on what should be included in pupils’ attendance records in end of year reports.’

For reference, please see page 34 of the School coronavirus (COVID-19) operational guidance via the following link:,93,96

For details on how to record an Exceptional Circumstance in SIMS please download from the Customer Portal via Knowledgebase/Categories/Attendance.

Attendance Reporting

To assist with the pressures of attendance reporting we have modified the reports that are available on the customer portal.

The following are now available to download from the Customer Portal: –

– Attendance Analysis Reports – these provide data for the last 5 years

– Lesson Attendance

– COVID 19 attendance category analysis report

Please log into the Customer portal and download via Knowlegebase/Categories/Report Downloads and Knowledgebase/Categories/Attendance then import into SIMS via Reports/Import.

If you do not have access to the Customer Portal, then please contact the to request a log in.


COVID Testing – Recording Parental Consent

SIMS can be used to record parental consent for COVID testing and we have created guidance and a report to assist with this process. These resources can be downloaded from the Customer Portal via Knowledgebase/Categories/SIMS General/Covid Testing-Recording Parental Consent.

Behaviour and Achievement In SIMS

Coming back to school may be unsettling for pupils/students and could equally be challenging for staff. If you are not aware, SIMS Conduct is included in your package and can be used to record behaviour or achievements as they occur. Why not look at the video and resources on the Customer Portal via Knowledgebase/Categories/Behaviour to see if this would assist with this transitional phase at no extra cost to the school?

Please feel free to give us a call on: 0345 222 6802 if you would like further information.

Reminder for Secondary Schools with Post 16 students - Creating Next Academic Year

We are aware that a lot of secondary schools will now be undertaking the Student Options process and as part of this, carrying out procedures that form part of setting up the New Academic Year. It is important (and essential in Schools with a Post 16 provision), the first time the timetable submission is sent to SIMS for September, that it is sent for the working academic year. This will ensure that the working academic year date period is set correctly and that any Post 16 classes end correctly on the last day of the Summer Term.

If you need any help or guidance with this please give us a call.

Online Training and Distance Learning - live online training or pre-recorded flexible courses which allow you to upskill in your own time at your own pace

Just a reminder that we are available to assist with any training requirements and our list of Distance Learning courses has grown again! These courses enable you to fit training and personal development around your day job, you can access anytime, anywhere which provides the flexibility to study in your own time at your own pace. The following courses are available now: –

SIMS In Touch – Introducing SIMS In Touch to your school

Monitoring Attendance

SIMS System Manager

SIMS an Administrators guide to maintaining the timetable in Nova –T6

SIMS Domestic Examinations

SIMS Options Online


SIMS FMS Equipment register

And our free taster course: –

SIMS Housekeeping

There are more courses currently in development so please check back regularly to see what’s new.

We continue to provide a full range of scheduled online training and upcoming courses can be viewed via:

If there’s a course you’d like to do but isn’t currently listed, please do not hesitate to give the Helpdesk a call and we can discuss future dates or alternative options.

Thinking of changing your MIS? Talk to us!

Changing your MIS is a big decision for any school, at School ICT we have years of experience helping schools switch their MIS system.

We have created a document to help schools when thinking of moving MIS to assess all aspects of a move including: – cost, functionality, existing contracts, training, and third-party links. This can be downloaded from the Customer Portal via Knowledgebase/Categories/SIMS General/Changing MIS-Assessing functionality and Cost. You can of course give us a call and we can help you to ensure you are making the right decision for your school.

School ICT can offer Health checks and best practice sessions to ensure you’re getting the most out of your MIS system before making the switch, for example there are solutions to make SIMS accessible from anywhere. For more information please contact

MIS Server Migrations - book now for Easter, May or Summer holidays

Did you know… there are retirement dates set on all support platforms? These often go unnoticed, leading to poor system performance.

At School ICT, we understand that protecting your school’s data is a number one priority and critical to your schools success.

To ensure your systems are running as quickly and efficiently as possible our specialist team of accredited technical experts provide a complete and cost effective SIMS server migration, transferring your data safely and securely, minimising downtime and ensuring continuity of the smooth running of your school.

To find out more about what’s included in our MIS Server migrations click here or call us on: 0345 222 6802.

Hosted SIMS

School ICT have teamed up with Oakford Technologies to offer a secure and resilient Hosted SIMS Solution for both Primary and Secondary schools.

A hosted SIMS solution allows users to log into SIMS from Home, School or anywhere with an internet connection. 

To find out more about how our jointly hosted SIMS solution could benefit you read our Hosted SIMS leaflet or call: 0345 222 6802.

With schools re-opening on the 8th March don't leave it too late to fill any support staff gaps!

We currently have candidates available – contact us now to discuss your needs.

School ICT Resourcing have an expert advantage over other school recruitment companies, our sister company School ICT are accredited MIS experts and any temporary candidate we place within your school has the full backing of our MIS team.

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

To find out how we can help you maintain a smooth running school during these uncertain times, contact Helen on: 0113 3720039 or e-mail:

Please don’t wait – book your support staff now!

InVentry sign in system - FREE Webinar

Looking to improve the sign in process within your school?

InVentry is the number one sign in and visitor management system for education. As a premium InVentry reseller, we have an exclusive offer for our customers; buy now and spread the cost over two years, and you can benefit from a fully equipped, MIS compatible touch screen system that accurately monitors who is in your school with NEW Covid-19 features.

To find out more about the leading solution for visitor management we are hosting a free of charge webinar with InVentry: –

Thursday 18th March: 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 your place please click the following link:

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

Help us build our Google reviews!

Could you spare a minute to leave us a quick Google review? If so please click here. Thank you!

Leave a Reply