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October Newsletter – the latest news and MIS updates from School ICT

By 13th October 2020October 15th, 2020No Comments

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Help us to help you…and be in with the chance to win an i-Pad for your school!*

As part of our ongoing commitment to our customers and given the ever changing environment we are currently working in, it’s more important than ever for us to be listening to you. With this in mind, we have devised a short customer survey that we hope you will take the time to complete. This will ensure that we are continuing to meet your needs, both now and in the future.
Please click here to complete: – Customer Survey
*All completed surveys will be entered into a prize draw to win an i-Pad. A winner will be picked at random w/c 19th of October and notified by telephone.
The lucky winner will also be featured in our November newsletter.

School Workforce Census 5th November 2020

Please check the Customer Portal and download the latest Fileset before starting a Dry run of the Census Return. The Fileset can be found on the Customer Portal via Knowledgebase/ Categories/ School Census/Census Fileset.

All notes for the completion of the return will be provided on the Customer Portal via Knowledgebase/Categories/SWC as soon as they are released by Capita.

Also available on the Customer Portal are guides and a webinar on “How to update Pay Scales for the SWC”. Please take a look and let the helpdesk know if you require an account to log in.

Latest guidance from the DfE can be found here:

Snapshot of changes for this collection only is that the following data will not be collected in this return:

  • – Absence data is not required, see sections 7.3 and 9.2
  • – Qualification data is not required, see sections 7.5 and 9.3
  • – Date of last pay review is not required, see sections 7.2.11 and 9.1.1
  • – ‘Subject’ and ‘Tenure’ are not required for vacancy data, see section 8.1
  • – Data on third party support staff is not required, though data on occasional teachers is still needed, see section 8.2.

School ICT recommend that this data is entered if possible as this will assist with reporting functionality.

SIMS for Beginners

Are you new to SIMS? 

Did you know that there are a range of resources available to help you learn your way around the system? Along with the below, we also have videos, webinars and handbooks on our customer portal to help new users including top tips, webinars and SIMS for Teachers to help new teachers get the most out of SIMS. If you do not have an account, please contact the helpdesk

Our online SIMS training courses can be booked via 

Coming soon…..School ICT will be launching an E-Learning platform, allowing you to learn online, at your own pace!

SIMS, FMS, VAT and Coronavirus

The government made an announcement on the 8th July 2020 allowing VAT registered businesses to apply a temporary 5% reduced rate of VAT to certain supplies relating to:

  • Hospitality
  • Hotel and holiday accommodation
  • Admissions to certain attractions

The temporary reduced rate will apply to supplies that are made between 15th July 2020 and 12th January 2021.

These changes are being brought in as an urgent response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to support businesses severely affected by forced closures and social distancing measures.

If your school incurs any expenditure that requires processing through FMS, please ensure you already have the relevant VAT type ledger codes setup within the FMS system.

This can be checked under Tools | General ledger setup | Tab 5. Ledger codes – Change the view to ledger type and scroll down until you see types VI and VO.

If you require help with the new 5% ledger codes setup, please contact the helpdesk.

Customer Portal

There are several guides and Helpsheets available on the Customer Portal as well as several recorded webinars that assist you with getting the most out of SIMS.

Examples of these are as follows:

  • Importing Pupil Premium
  • Using Quick Letter
  • Creating labels in SIMS
  • How to design a basic report
  • Nova T6 New cycle, changing the cycle, changing days and times in

Please take a look and let the Helpdesk know if you require a customer portal account to log in via

Accessing SIMS Remotely

With the increasing need for people to work from home, we wanted to ensure schools are aware of the options available to enable you to access SIMS remotely and to let you know we can help with this if needed: –

– VPN Access – Most ISP (Internet service providers) will include a free VPN service which allows you to access SIMS, as well as your network documents from home. Please either enquire direct to your internet provider or speak to your IT technician.

– Hosted SIMS – There is an option to have your SIMS server hosted by Capita direct or via a third-party partner. At school ICT we have a support partner who can also facilitate this. This will mean that there is no requirement for a SIMS server, however there is a hosting fee associated with this choice. Please contact the School ICT team to discuss options.

– SIMS Primary – Capita have launched SIMS Primary which is Capita’s cloud-based version of SIMS, allowing access to SIMS from any device with an internet connection, currently only available for Primary schools, but there is a secondary version in development. Although not yet fully released, we are offering interested schools the ability to pilot the new version alongside your existing SIMS, with a view to moving over to the cloud-based version if suited. This is currently free of charge.

– Datto – School ICT can offer schools the option to purchase, (at a small cost), a Datto license which allows two users remote access to your schools SIMS server or alternatively Datto can be used to access your workstation.

To discuss your requirements please  email us at or call: 0345 2226802

Customer Support and ISL Online

To be able to offer the best support, we sometimes need to remote onto your machine to investigate the issues you are experiencing with your MIS system. The software we use for this is called ISLonline. When trying to connect to schools, we are increasingly experiencing ISLonline being blocked by the school’s firewall, which prevents us being able to give our full support. To prevent this issue, could we please ask you to check with your IT department that this application is unblocked to ensure support can be given efficiently when an issue is reported.

Online Best Practice Events

We will be running two online Best Practice in SIMS events in November.

  • Best Practice in SIMS for Primary Schools will be held on the 24th November 2020.
  • Best Practice in SIMS for Secondary Schools will be held on the 25th November 2020. 

To book a place, please e-mail: with your name, job title, establishment name and contact number. All registered delegates will receive an e-mail invite prior to the event and the webinars will be delivered online through Microsoft Teams.

Online Training Courses

All our training courses will continue to be delivered online for the remainder of the 2020/2021 academic year.

We are currently scheduling new courses for the Spring and Summer terms which will be available shortly. If there are any courses that you would like to attend but cannot see on the current schedule, please email and we will do our best to accommodate your requests. Places on our training courses can be booked via our website

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 October 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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