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November news and updates from School ICT

By 4th November 2020No Comments

A big thank you to everyone that completed our customer survey last on to find out the lucky winner of the i-Pad prize draw!

A big thank you to everyone that took the time to complete our customer survey, it was great to hear so much praise for the services we provide!

We are delighted to announce that the lucky winner of the i-Pad prize draw is The Sandon School Academy Trust in Essex!

Did you know we now fix broken i-Pad screens and laptop hardware in house? Please get in touch if you need a quote!

As always, if there’s anything you’d like to discuss with us please contact us on: 0345 222 6802.

Best Practice in SIMS Webinars - 24th & 25th November, register your place!

Our FREE Autumn Best Practice in SIMS webinars will take place this month

  • – Tuesday 24th November at 9.30am for Primary Schools
  • – Wednesday 25th November at 9.30am for Secondary Schools

To register your place please e-mail the following information: –

  • – Name
  • – Job title
  • – Establishment name
  • – E-mail address you will be using for the webinar
  • – Contact number you will be available on during the webinar

We’ll be in touch before the event with a link to the webinar session. We look forward to seeing you then!

Year 2 Phonics Screening Test Autumn Term

Cancellation of the phonics screening check in June 2020 means that year 2 pupils did not take the check in year 1.

In the 2020/21 academic year only, it is statutory for schools to administer a past version of the phonics screening check to Year 2 pupils during the second half of the 2020 Autumn Term and return results to the LA. Year 2 pupils who meet the expected standard in phonics in the Autumn check will not be required to complete any further statutory assessments in phonics. Year 2 pupils who do not meet the expected standard in the autumn check, will be expected to take the statutory check in June 2021, alongside Year 1 pupils.

How are these assessments recorded in SIMS?

The current (7.194) AMPARK folder contains the necessary resources in which to record this data. Go to Routines | Data In | Assessment | Import, browse to C:\Program Files (x86)\SIMS\SIMS .net\AMPA\England Primary (and Middle Deemed Primary)\Assessment Manager where you will find the following Phonics Screening Templates 2020, highlight and select Open | Next | Import Templates | Next, tick Phonics Screening Year 1 2020 | Finish. Verify that the Activity Log confirms a successful import and close.
In SIMS | Focus | Assessment | Template, select and open the Phonics Screening Year 1 2020 template and create a Marksheet for current Year 2 pupils which will allow schools to collect the 2 pieces of data (a mark out of 40 and an outcome, Wa or Wt based on whether the mark out of 40 is above or below the threshold value of 32) for the Year 1 pupils who will by now have moved up into Year 2. You will be recording the Year 1 Phonics assessments in the Year 1 Phonics resources but assigning your current Year 2 students to templates to generate the Marksheets.
IMPORTANT: The DfE would like the data to be recorded with a result date when the check is actually completednot back dated to May / June 2020 when it would normally have been carried out. So please ensure the Result Date in the Marksheet is set appropriately for the second half of the autumn term when keying in results.
How do I export the assessments?

In the SIMS Autumn 2020 release (7.196) a new CTF export routine will be introduced to export the Year 1 Phonics Data for pupils currently in Year 2. This CTF option will be called Phonics Test Results (For Autumn Term 2020 Screening Check Only).

For instructions on how to record and export the results in SIMS please see the guidance notes – click here.

For details of when the data is due to be submitted please contact your LA for details NB all Leeds Schools data submission deadline is 18th December 2020.

New Features in the SIMS Autumn Upgrade to 7.196

New features in this release – we’ve provided a short summary below but for full details please see the Release Notes: –

Release notes Primary

Release notes Secondary

  • Course Manager

 Deleting Post-16 Programme of Study Information Applicable to schools in England only.

 Tools | Academic Management | Course Manager | Post-16 Programmes of Study.

The Remove Programme button has been provided, enabling the deletion of Programme of Study details for a student whose course Status has been set to Withdrawn or Transferred via Maintain Course.

Identifying Student Course Memberships with Associated Work Placements (Applicable to schools in England only).

Tools | Academic Management | Course Manager | Maintain Course When a student’s course membership has associated work placements, the student’s name is displayed in bold text in the Memberships and Results panel.

Revised List of QWADs Provided by the Welsh Government Applicable to schools in Wales only.

The list of QWADs provided by the Welsh Government has been updated for Autumn 2020. QWADs are reported on in the Post 16 PLASC 2020 Return and have replaced the Learning Activity Reference.

Deleting Unused QWADs.

Applicable to schools in Wales only Tools | Academic Management | Course Manager | Maintain Course Classification It is now possible to delete QWADs that have never been associated with a course.

  • InTouch

It is now possible to send examination results relating to the City & Guilds awarding body to candidates (via Reports | Results | Send Exam Results).

  • Reporting

Enhancements to the Reporting Dictionary.

Reports | Design Report (Applicable to Secondary and All-Through schools, and Pupil Referral Units in England only).

The following items have been added to the Programmes of Study sub-report (via Student | Post-16 Programmes of Study):

  • Programme Type
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Planned End
  • Status
  • Reason
  • School Census Autumn Return

Class Size Exceptions (Applicable to Primary and All-Through schools only).

  • To highlight classes that require you to enter the reason for the class size exception manually, the class name is now initially displayed in bold and with a yellow background.
  • Running the School Census During an Exams Embargo Period (Applicable to Secondary, All-Through and PRUs only).
  • For schools with a November exams season, it is now possible for the School Census to be run during an exams embargo period.

Nova-T6. New cycle, changing the cycle, changing days and times in

The cycle defines the shape of the timetable, schools differ greatly in the timetable cycles that they adopt. It is common to find one-week or two-week cycles, timetables with twilight classes, split lunches, days with a different number of periods or timings. These decisions about the structure of the timetable cycle should ideally be taken before you begin to construct your timetable.

A new cycle can be sent from Nova to SQL in the middle of the academic year. There are, however, consequences which schools should consider before making the change.

A new cycle is created in from the start date of the cycle send from Nova-T6. This happens if the cycle is sent, even if the cycle hasn’t changed and is exactly the same as the one already in However, a cycle send would normally only be done if there has been a change.

From the start date of the cycle send onwards, Cover Assignments, Lesson Marks and Student Clash Resolutions (including those for Alternative Curriculum) will be deleted. This information will need to be re-entered. Please consider carefully whether the cycle change is essential because redoing large numbers of alternative curriculum clash resolutions can be time consuming.

Therefore, for minor changes (e.g. period names) schools may wish to consider waiting for a new term, or the new academic year, before changing the cycle.

For further details please click here for the guidance notes.

Online Training Courses - schedule for the Autumn Term

We have now completed our training schedule for the remainder of the Autumn term. Courses can be viewed in the calendar by month and places can be booked via our website: –  

Please be aware that places are limited, so if there is a course you know you want to attend, please book early to avoid disappointment.

Teaching Through Technology – FREE webinar evaluating the options for remote learning in a primary school setting

School ICT is working with Simon Bradshaw, an educational consultant, primary teacher of over 20 years and part of Teaching Through Technology – a branch of School ICT that looks to support schools by helping improve their use of technology in the classroom across all key stages. 

In the current circumstances, remote learning has become a huge priority for all educational establishments and Simon completely understands that what is being asked of schools, in the event of class/school closures (and even if you have just a couple of students off) is extremely challenging. For most schools the implementation of this across staff and pupils is something that requires a great deal of thought and planning.  

To support you with this, School ICT are running a FREE webinar, on Tuesday 17th November (4pm) presented by Simon, to give schools an overview of the DfE expectations around remote learning and an evaluation of the software options for primary schools going forward. How exactly can you get your staff and pupils prepared for these new directives and what is the most realistic way of launching a remote learning pathway without overburdening teachers and confusing pupils? 

To register your interest, request further information or book a place please let us know by e-mail.

School Genie - A complete analysis of Attendance and Exclusion data

Pastoral Genie provides a complete analysis of current and historic Attendance and Exclusion data for schools using SIMS, allowing easy comparison to national data.

The analysis is broken down by key groups and designed with Ofsted in mind, Pastoral Genie provides analysis which is specifically targeted to answer the questions Ofsted are likely to ask, providing the information you require to provide a targeted approach to tracking.

Here’s what one of our Genie customers had to say: –

“As the behaviour and attendance lead in school I have looked for numerous data packages which can enable me to provide feedback to key stakeholders. GENIE is by far and away the best I have come across. It is simple to use, aesthetically pleasing and most importantly 100% accurate. I used this package to provide data for our most recent OFSTED inspection and it provided information on every aspect of the behaviour and attendance discussions . I would highly recommend GENIE to any colleague.” Gavin Kumar – Assistant Vice Principal, The Vale of York Academy.

For more information visit School Genies or call: 0345 222 6802.

Refer a friend

Do you love what we do? If so spread the word!
Refer us to a friend or colleague in another school and upon sign up to an SLA agreement or InVentry sign in system, we’ll give you a FREE one day training course for your school worth up to £145! 

(Please mention the November newsletter in correspondence with us so we apply this offer for you. N.B. valid on all sign ups until September 2021).

School ICT Resourcing - short, medium or long term cover, you can be certain of our support in these uncertain times.

Support staff gaps that need filling? No problem.

As specialists in the recruitment of ‘non-teaching’ staff for schools, we can get your recruitment woes all wrapped up.

From a day’s temporary cover to longer term contracts and permanent positions, our education specialist team will source your perfect candidate.

We help you find business managers, finance officers, experts in specific SIMS Modules, IT Technicians, SIMS admin, general admin and caretakers.

With the turbulence caused by coronavirus and some staff needing to self-isolate, we’re here to support you when you need us. 

To discuss your needs in further detail call us on: 0113 3720039 or visit

Ensure your school is Covid Safe with an InVentry sign in system

Sign up to the number one sign in and visitor management system for education – InVentry.

As a premium reseller, we have an exclusive offer for InVentry – the leading solution for visitor management. 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 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

Ensure your establishment is Covid-19 safe – make signing in books a thing of the past. Contact us on: 0345 222 6802 for more information or to arrange a no obligation demonstration. 

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