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Spring Census - January 18th

Spring Census is 18th January – we have training courses running for SIMS and Arbor.  Please see the Training Section or the bottom of the newsletter e-mail for further details.

Census Date: 18/01/2024

  • Attendance Collection from 01/08/2023 to 31/12/2023
  • Exclusions collected from 10/04/2023 to 31/12/2023
  • Alternative Provision Placements collected from 05/10/2023 to 18/01/2024
  • Funding and Monitoring collected from 01/08/2023 to 18/01/2024
  • Learner Support collected from 01/08/2023 to 18/01/2024
  • Free School Meals collected from 06/10/2023 to 18/01/2024

Don’t forget to check your data ready for Census, to save yourself time later on.   Please see the relevant section for further information on how to do this on your MIS.

Intake Groups for the New Academic Year

You can now be looking to set up your intake groups for the new academic year, if you haven’t already.  Please see the relevant MIS section of the newsletter for guidance on this.

Exam Results - Apologies incorrect link in November newsletter!

The November newsletter had an incorrect link in regarding Exams (which was corrected).  Please see the correct details below: –

  • 10th January 2024 – Restricted release of results to Centres only
  • 11th January 2024 – Release of results to candidates

See the JCQ Key dates here:

The key dates for Summer 2024 are available here:

Retention of Records in School

Just a bit of a reminder about retention of records in schools (for both Staff and pupils).

We get lots of calls regarding this and you can access DfE guidance on this via this link: Data protection in schools – Data retention – Guidance – GOV.UK (

Webinar Week - FREE Best Practice in MIS Webinars

Our Best Practice in MIS Webinar Week is in full swing – running until Friday 8th December.  If you can’t make the ‘slot’ for the session you’d like to watch, please remember that they are all recorded and can be found on our portals:

New Year New MIS?

If you are interested in exploring alternative MIS solutions, our expert team can advise on the best solution for your school. School ICT work closely with leading providers, namely Arbor, Bromcom, ScholarPack and SIMS. We can help guide you through the migration process and continue to provide ongoing support. The link to our previously recorded webinar on moving MIS is below, along with a sheet to assist with assessing functionality and cost: –

If you would like to arrange a meeting to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact us on: 0345 2226802 or via our portal

Customer Contact Information

School ICT customers:

turn IT on customers:

Our customer portals allow you to: –

  • Log and track support tickets
  • Watch previously recorded webinars
  • Search the Knowledge base for guidance and information
  • Keep up to date with the latest MIS news and updates
  • Access remote support


It’s never too early to start checking your data!  You can do this at any time in SIMS and one of the particularly useful areas for this is the Bulk Update option.  This can be accessed via Routines | Pupil (or Student) | Bulk Update.  Once in here, choose the Group Type first, e.g. Ethnicity:

Sims 1

Then, select your Group and scroll all the way to the bottom of the list and select ‘<NONE>’ first, and then over to the Data Item and again select Ethnicity and Search.  This will bring up a list of pupils with no Ethnicity.  Simply tick the relevant box for the pupil concerned.  To make the columns narrower, right click on the column header and select ‘Narrow Columns’:

Sims 2

Once you’ve ticked the relevant items, click on Save.  Now repeat this for the Group item ‘<INVALID>’ to check that there isn’t any out-of-date information in.

Once you’ve done this, click the Browse button:

Sims 3

Change your Group Type and Data Item to ‘First Language’ and repeat this exercise, again selecting the Group item as ‘<NONE>’ and then ‘<INVALID>’.

You can also use this area for bulk updating lots of other information too.

Creating Admission Groups - Prepare for the New Intake

We have a helpsheet available to help you create admission groups ready for the new intake which you can find here:

You can even set your ‘Accepted’ Applicants to show in the registers!  Again, we have a helpsheet to show you how to do this, which is available via this link:

Alternatively, please call and speak to one of the team:

School ICT customers:

Contact: 0345 222 6802 Option 1,


turn IT on customers:

Contact: 01865 597620 Option 2,


Options Online

We have a useful helpsheet for creating accounts for parents or students to access Options Online which you can access via this link:

Autumn Upgrade (SIMS Version 7.214) - Lot's of New Items!

ESS have made a huge 126 product enhancements over the last 5 upgrades, focussing on what users have asked for.

New items related to Applications:

  • Bulk Update Application Data for Dietary Needs and Paramedical Support

These new fields will now be visible under Routines | Admissions | Bulk Update

  • Bulk Delete Applications

Deleting Application records in bulk can be achieved via Tools | Housekeeping | Delete Admission Applications.  We will shortly have a Helpsheet to guide you through this process, which will be available on our customer portal.

New items related to Exams Organiser:

  • Manually added QN – validation on QN plus discount code
  • Applicable to English schools
    Tools | Examinations | Add Qualification Data
    Tools | Academic Management | Course Manager | Maintain Course

DfE provide QWS QAN files but will no longer add Key Stage 4 Qualifications which are not funded for Post-16 students. New functionality has been provided in SIMS7 for schools to add these QANs if they need to.

  • New Certification Broadsheet Sort orders
  • Applicable to English Secondary schools
    We have introduced further sort and display orders within the Certification Broadsheet report to allow for more flexibility over the names that are used when outputting the report, e.g., Display by Legal Names & Preferred Names.

New items related to Pupil Records

  • Bulk update for Paramedical Support
    Applicable to all schools
    Routines | Students | Bulk Update

The Paramedical support data item can be updated in bulk within the Bulk Update Students functionality.

  • Modes of Travel update
    Applicable to all schools
    Routines | Student | Student Details

The modes of travel options in the Additional Information section can now be updated via Tools | Lookups |Maintain Lookup. Users can add, edit, and remove options so these are relevant to the school’s needs.  Further enhancements due in Spring 24 to allow to record more than 1 mode of travel.

  • Import User Defined Field Data via a Spreadsheet
    Applicable to all schools
    Focus | Student | Student Details

The Student Data Import from Spreadsheet function has been updated to facilitate User Defined Field (UDF) data imports.

  • teamSOS

This is a third party integrated incident response and reporting function. As it’s a third party, there is a charge associated with it.  If you’d prefer to TURN THIS OFF, you can do this via Tools > Setups > Partner Plugins

Sims 4

Select the desired Button or Menu item and click the Clear button [1] then Save [2].


SIMS Connected

If you are looking to move to SIMS Connected, please notify School ICT to ensure we can discuss your backup and security needs following the migration.

There are some additional elements which may need to be undertaken by your IT to provision a machine on site which will have to be used to set up 3rd party sync software for this to continue to sync with SIMS once moved to the cloud. Your IT will need to assist with this alongside ESS, as it required setting up a VPN connector so the machine can connect to your SIMS database on ESS’s servers. (This is usually taken care of by ESS during the migration to SIMS Connected, but worth noting which 3rd parties you have and flagging up with them and your IT ahead of any works taking place).

We also recommend that FMS has been considered if used, as this will need moving to the cloud or an alternative solution found, if the old local SIMS server is going to be decommissioned once SIMS has been moved to the cloud.

SIMS Next Gen

Did you know there is a new cloud-based SIMS software?

ESS have now produced SIMS Next Gen, which is a cloud-based solution but links directly into your current SIMS database. This means no migration or moving software is required as it’s an add-on to your current database.

Please check out our Knowledge Base to see some of the things you can do with SIMS Next Gen.

If you would like to see a showcase of what Next Gen can do, please watch the webinar on our portal from when ESS joined us as part of this year’s Webinar Week.


SIMS ID is a single sign-on login for all your cloud-based SIMS products.

This allows all users to log into any SIMS online service such as Parent App, SIMS Next Gen, SIMS Connected, Product Admin, using just one login, allowing seamless access to these services, from whichever device they choose to use.

User permissions can be managed effortlessly. All accounts are created automatically from the data in SIMS, with a simple set-up of permissions for both new and existing users, ensuring correct access levels across different systems. Users also have the ability to manage and reset their own passwords, saving valuable time for your technical staff.


New This Month - Tables

Tables to chart update

Arbor have released the functionality to create charts straight from any table with numeric values in Arbor, including in custom reports. This feature gives you the ability to create data visualisations, reducing the need to export your data out of Arbor for further analysis. This included creating graphs in your chosen colour and style and export them to add to presentations or share with others. See full details in Arbor’s Article here : Charts and graphs of Arbor data

What else is new in tables?

  • Column Border and Cell Colour styling controls are now an icon with a text label, rather than just text.
  • On all tables, there’s now better formatting for stacked column headers, plus you can cut and paste, and delete several cells at once by selecting a range of cells and pressing the backspace or delete keys.
  • Extra columns have been added to a few pages for example: a Registration Form column to the Students table in an Internal Exclusion session, a Type column to the Internal Exclusion statistics table, and an Event column to the Emergency Alert Report table to see where the alert was triggered.
  • In the Census Summary Inspection, the table header and cell text is wrapped rather than cut off, the column size now adapts to the content, and you can scroll to the right if there’s not enough space to fit everything on-screen.
  • The option to Create Ad-Hoc Intervention on all tables where you can already add an intervention using the Bulk action button.

NFER Assessments in Arbor

Arbor now integration with the National Foundation for Educational Research’s free online analysis tool means you can now see assessment data in Arbor MIS and MAT MIS, giving you the full picture of student progress across your trust. Standardised assessments are a great way to ensure consistency and validity of progress and attainment judgements across the schools in your MAT.  Take a look at our blog post to see how using standardised assessments could benefit your MAT.

  • The integration with National Foundation for Educational Research’s Assessment System automatically sends student data to NFER, removing the need to manually remove leavers or add new starters to both systems and reducing the potential for error.
  • In addition to this, student results for NFER assessments are sent back to Arbor and displayed on our School and MAT MIS dashboards. These dashboards allow you to analyse all your core student data in one place at both an individual school and whole MAT level.

For more information see Arbor’s full article here : NFER and Arbor Integration

Parent Portal and Arbor App

Update – The Total Outstanding figure on the homepage lets parents know how much they owe the school across all top up accounts, Trips and Clubs. They can click on the figure to view a breakdown, and to see accounts that are running low. See how this looks or share this article with parents: Payment accounts and topping up on the Parent Portal or Arbor App.

If as a school you decide this feature isn’t something you wish to use it can be switched off is needed via Students | Parents and Guardians |Parent Portal Settings:

Arbor 1

Do you have Parents struggling with Navigation and use of the Arbor Parent Portal and Arbor App?

Share these useful links and Articles in your next parent newsletter:

Arbor 2

Arbor 3

Arbor 4

What Else Is New?

  • Three new bulk actions for the Enrolled Students table in Programmes of Study. You can now easily change the Planned Start DatePlanned End Date and Actual End Date for multiple students at once
  • Arbor will now automatically flag to you if your automatic workflows can’t assign students to detentions correctly. Out dated detentions in workflows now appear in your To Do list You’ll need either the Behaviour: Behaviour Policy or School: Action: Behaviour: Administer permission to fix this issue.
  • Custom report writer updates include Improved formatting for date fields in the Custom Report Writer, so you can output them as dd Mmm yyyy (25 Oct 2023), dd/mm/yyyy (25/10/2023) or dd/mm/yy (25/10/23).
  • You can now also Create a report about Suspensions in the MAT MIS Custom Report Writer.

New Intake Seasons

As long as your new academic year has been created, you can add your new Intake Seasons via Students > All Students > ApplicantsThis will take you to the Applicants Dashboard which will show all of the Intake Seasons created on the MIS. Click on the green +Add sign at the top of the dashboard.

In the slideover, add a name for the season and the acadmic year it’s linked to.

Once the Season has been set up, you can add your Buckets and Intake Groups if you use them.

For more help with this, please call or log a ticket:

School ICT Customers: –

turn IT on Customers: –

Census Prep

Although you won’t be able to access your Census in Arbor until January, you can check some of your data in advance.

To do this go to School > Data > Data Quality Dashboard, select Students from the left, then Demographics, and Bulk Update Basic Details.  In here, you’ll be able to complete any missing information which will save work later on.


Preparing for an Ofsted Inspection

Although Ofsted won’t usually ask your school to do any formal preparation ahead of an inspection, it’s good to know how quickly and easily you can access your data when needed. For more information on inspections, take a look at their Education Inspection Framework (EIF).

We’ve gathered together some of the questions they usually ask, and how to use ScholarPack to help prepare for each of them below.


You’ll need to be able to provide up to date attendance figures. They may ask for both your whole school figures, as well as attendance figures for special cohorts and specific groups of students, such as:

–         Individual Year Groups

–         Pupil Premium

–         FSM

–         EAL

–         SEN

–         A bespoke group of students, such as those in a Dynamic Group

–         Comparative figures for special groups

This is by no means an exhaustive list of what Ofsted inspectors may ask to see regarding attendance. Below is a collection of our commonly requested reports that are worth being familiar with, via Reporting > Reports > Attendance (red tab):

  • The Custom Attendance Report
  • The Percentage Attendance Between report
  • Persistent Absence Reports
  • The Code Count Reports
  • For guidance on our other Attendance Reports, click here.

Enrolment and Student Demographics

Ofsted may ask for details about the number of students on roll, as well as any students that have been taken off roll. The following reports can be found via Reporting > Reports > Students (blue tab).

  • On Roll By Date
  • Admissions and Leavers
  • Student Custom Report
  • School Summary
  • Special Cohorts

For further guidance on reporting on Student Data, click here. For further guidance on reporting on Student Demographics, click here.

Behaviour and Conduct

Ofsted may ask to see records of specific types of behaviour and incidents, or a record of exclusions and suspensions. The following reports can be found via Reporting > Reports > Conduct (orange tab).

Please note:

Schools have the option to rename many of the conduct categories in the Admin > Config > Custom Relabelling area. If your school has renamed them, the names of your conduct reports may be different to the guidance. The icons however will still match.

  • Incident Report
  • Exclusions Report

For further guidance on Conduct Reporting options, click here.

Renamed Categories:

We recommend checking the reporting and recording capabilities of a category before renaming it, or using it to record a different type of conduct than it was intended for. Recording serious conduct events in a category designed to record events of a less serious nature may limit your ability to fully record and report on information for Ofsted.

Attainment and Progress

Ofsted may ask to see records of student attainment and progress, as well as how they compare to previous years. This will all depend on how you record school assessments in ScholarPack, and whether you use the STEPS or Simple Assessment setup.

STEPS Assessments

STEPS Assessment reports can be accessed via Reporting > Assessment. This article has a summary of all the STEPS reports, however below are a few commonly requested ones that may be particularly useful.

  • Checkpoints Report
  • Progress Between Checkpoints
  • School Overview Report
  • By Student Report

For further guidance on STEPS reporting, click here.

Simple Assessments

Simple Assessment reporting can be accessed via Reporting > New Reports. This article has a full summary of how to build reports in this area. The most commonly used ones are the Attainment Report, and the Progress Report.

  • The Attainment Report
  • The Progress Report

For further guidance on Simple Assessments reporting, click here.

Intervention groups

Ofsted may ask to see evidence of how you track and monitor students who have been identified as needing extra support. The easiest way to do this is through the Interventions area (Workspace > Interventions).

Reporting on Intervention Groups

Useful tip:

Whilst we have specific reports available in the Interventions area, you can also use many of the reports in our Reporting > Reports area with Intervention groups to find out a wider range of data, much the same as how you would report on a Dynamic or Static group.

Formative Markbooks

These can be used to demonstrate how far along in the curriculum students are, and their level of understanding across different components of a subject.

Reporting on Statements

For further guidance on using the formative markbooks, click here. Alternatively, this guide has a handy section on how to analyse your data.


Ofsted will require access to safeguarding information. This may include looking at the Single Central Record (Central Register).

Central Register

  • Tracking Daily Attendance

Other safeguarding requests:

Ofsted may also ask to see information about the complaints process, and any safeguarding and social care referrals. We currently don’t have a specific place to store that information on ScholarPack – please speak with your school’s safeguarding team who will be able to tell you how and where your school records that information.


Ofsted may have questions about staff wellbeing, as well as how you support their professional development. The below reports are accessible via Reporting > Reports > Staff (green tab)

  • Custom Staff Report
  • Staff Training

Bromcom Need Your Help!

Bromcom are currently surveying schools for their feedback on the potential new design of Bromcom and would really like your opinion, before  making any changes to the MIS.

You will be able to view and vote on parts of the potential new design of Bromcom.

Please find the link to the survey here

Once the survey has been completed, you will be entered into a prize draw where there will be three winners who will each receive Amazon vouchers worth £250.

The objective is to see whether the changes make Bromcom easier to use and navigate and the survey should take between 10-20 minutes depending on your role.

Please complete the survey by 20th December, winners will be announced on the 21st December.

WARNING: pressing the browser’s refresh button will start the survey all over again!

Recent Product Release


  • Online Access Arrangements dropdown has been updated for the 2023-24 academic year onwards.
  • After sending SMS/Email and Quick Letters to Students and Staff – the selections in the list will be cleared.


  • The Attainment Estimates table has been updated with the latest DfE Scaled Score Estimates for KS2 for 2022/23 and 2023/24.


  • The 2024 CES Census file has been updated.


  • Ability to create and edit multiple forecasts.

MAT Finance

  • Standardise URLs across MAT Finance.

More details via this link:


Integris Latest Release

v4.4 release – November 2023 (27-30 November 2023)  includes:

Statutory Updates

  • KS2, KS1 and Phonics National Results update
  • Product Updates
  • Adding a court order for a contact where there is an access restriction in place
  • Updating areas of Integris to change “gender” labels to “sex” as per DfE guidance
  • Adding a new field to Datashare API for court orders

Release History


Upcoming Training Courses

Training courses for the academic year 2023/2024 are now live! We have a comprehensive schedule of online ‘live’ SIMS training courses along with Distance Learning courses to help you develop your knowledge of SIMS and get the most out of your MIS (Management Information System).

Booking is now open.  Please visit

For Upcoming Courses please see below:

Course Name Date More details via this link:
SIMS Data Cleansing Weds 13th December 2023 (Short Session)
SIMS An Administrator’s Guide to Nova Thurs 14th December 2023 (Half Day)
SIMS Exams Organiser (2 Day course) Tues 9th & Weds 10th January 2023 (Two full days)
SIMS Secondary Spring Census Tuesday 9th January 2023 (Half Day)
SIMS Primary Spring Census Tuesday 9th January 2023 (Half Day)
Arbor Spring Census (Combined) Weds 10th January 2023 (Half Day)
SIMS Secondary Spring Census Thursday 11th January 2023 (Half Day)
SIMS Primary Spring Census Friday 12th January 2023 (Half Day)
SIMS Administrator – Secondary New Office User Tuesday 16th January 2023 (Half Day)

The full Spring Term Schedules for our SIMS and Arbor online training courses can be accessed here: –

Booking is now open please visit


Microsoft EdTech Magazine Article: Sustainable Transformation Through Technology Adoption

We wanted to share some fantastic news! turn IT on has been recognised in the Microsoft EdTech magazine following their work with the Oxford Diocesan Bucks School Trust, (ODBST), after the trust engaged in a tender process to revitalise technologies across the central functions and each school to standardise IT equity for everyone and the environment, pushing for net-zero by moving to the cloud.

A link to the full article can be found below: –

MAT Edtech Microsoft – Sustainable Transformation Through Technology Adoption

If you would like to find out more about how turn IT on and School ICT could assist your School or Trust in a similar way, please get in touch: 0345 2226802 or

Industry Events

Our event schedule has now come to a close for this year and we’re in the process of planning our event attendance for 2024.

To ensure we’re attending key events, we’d love to find out which events you’ve attended recently and would recommend (or any that you wouldn’t!).

Please get in touch by e-mailing: 


Are you in need of non-teaching staff for the New Year?

Working alongside School ICT, School ICT Resourcing place both permanent and temporary specialist support staff into schools.

Candidates are available from a days placement through to a whole school year. All candidates have completed the safer school recruitment process, and have enhanced DBS clearance.

For further information please call: 0113 372 0039 or visit:

As the end of the year approaches are you due to retire? If yourself or any colleagues are retiring soon, and 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.

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