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Consolidated Workstation Patches Summer Release

By 10th July 2024No Comments

This communication is aimed at the technical department in school, and also admin staff, to alert them to the issues, and we would therefore be grateful if you would please forward this email on as required.

Please contact helpdesk@schoolicts.co.uk or log a call via our portal https://my.schoolicts.co.uk/ for more information or for any assistance you require.

Consolidated Workstation Patches Summer Release

ESS has advised that due to the large change needed in the SIMS Summer Release 2024 to cope with the new set of DfE session attendance codes, they have inadvertently introduced an import problem for third parties who provide attendance.  Once a school has been upgraded to the Summer Release third parties will not be able to write back to SIMS any instance of session attendance code B or X.  The problem with code B can only apply for schools in England, while the problem with code X could also apply to schools in other countries/regions.

There are two main issues, the first of which will be rectified with the application of patch CWPsu1.  A second patch will be made available to resolve the second issue.
Patch CWPsu1 will be applied to SIMS Connected/Hosted during the evening of the 10th of July.

School ICT will authorise patch CWPsu1 in Solus for all schools on the afternoon of Friday 12th July.

School ICT will authorise patch CWPsu2 in Solus for all schools as soon as it is released by ESS.

Please see below information from ESS which explains the issues: –

Workstation Patch 1

A note for Independent Schools
This workstation patch includes an improvement that is important for independent schools as well as state schools. With that in mind, we recommend that independent schools that have already applied the SIMS Summer Release 2024 should apply this first consolidated workstation if they haven’t already closed for the summer holidays. If they have already closed for the summer holidays, they may want to consider waiting for our second consolidated workstation patch, which includes the improvement provided in the first consolidated workstation patch as well several other improvements.

The following is a summary of how we see the route for independent school to adopt the new set of DfE session attendance codes.

Apply the SIMS Summer Release 2024. This release is already available.
a. Apply Consolidated Workstation Patch 1. This patch is already available from SOLUS 3 and will soon be made available as a download as well as being applied to SIMS Hosted/Connected during the evening of the 10th July. From the point of view of adopting the new set of DfE session attendance codes, it will make no difference if this patch isn’t applied, providing the Consolidated Workstation Patch 2 is applied.
b. Apply the Consolidated Workstation Patch 2 when it becomes available. This patch will include the improvement provided by Consolidated Workstation Patch 1 as well as several other important improvements.
c. Apply the on-demand database patch for independent schools when it becomes available, so that the school’s attendance codes align with the new set of DfE session attendance codes.

Workstation Patch 1 Identification
Pulsar.exe Product Version: 7.218.21.1
The 1 at the end of the Product Version indicates Workstation Patch 1.

SOLUS 3 Identification
Description: SIMS Summer Release 2024 – Consolidated Workstation Patch 1 – Third Party Attendance Validation Fix
Package version: 1.22.228.1
Issues that are dealt with via CWPsu1

Issue 1:  All  Third party attendance interface
During the large change needed in our SIMS Summer Release 2024 to cope with the new set of DfE session attendance codes, we have inadvertently introduced an import problem for our third parties who provide attendance. Once a school has been upgraded to our Summer Release 2024 our third parties will not be able to write back to SIMS any instance of session attendance codes B or X. The problem with code B can only apply for schools in England, while the problem with code X could also apply to schools in other countries/regions.
The impact to SIMS schools is that the attendance data in SIMS can become out of synch with the attendance data in the linked third-party attendance application.

Solution
Once the patch is applied, third party application will be able to synch their attendance code B and X data with SIMS, both for sessions in the past and going forward.

Workstation Patch 2
We are providing this second consolidated workstation patch for the SIMS Summer Release 2024 as a matter of urgency, and I will provide an estimated release date as soon as possible after we have finalised the first consolidated workstation patch.
Issue 2 has been moved to this second consolidated workstation patch to avoid any delay in the provision of a solution for issue 1, as issue 1 is our highest priority.

Workstation Patch 2 Identification
Pulsar.exe Product Version: 7.218.21.2
The 2 at the end of the Product Version indicates Workstation Patch 2.

SOLUS 3 Identification
Date:
Description: SIMS Summer Release 2024 – Consolidated Workstation Patch 2

Package version:

A. Issues that have also been dealt with via CWPsu1
All improvements previously provided via CWPsu1 are included in CWPsu2. Schools can upgrade to CWPsu2 regardless of whether they applied CWPsu1.
You can click here to views the content of CWPsu1.

B. Issues this are dealt with for the first time via CWPsu2
Issue 2:  All *1  Editing the Basic setting for our attendance applications
Before saving any change to the Basic flag for attendance codes via menu route Tools | Setups | Attendance Setup | Codes | Maintain Codes, we are checking that the description of the code is not more than 50 characters. This restriction to 50 characters means that any change to the Basic flag for any of the following codes will not be allowed.

  • C1: Leave of absence – regulated performance or employment abroad.
  • E: Suspended or excluded without alternative provision.
  • J1: Leave of absence – interview for employment or transfer.
  • X: Not required to attend – non-compulsory school age pupil.

Being able to untick the Basic flag is important as school may not want to make these sorts of codes available for tutors/teachers to change. Such codes are often best left for the central administration of schools to deal with.
 *1  Although this restriction to 50 characters will apply to all countries/regions after application of the SIMS Summer Release 2024, it is likely to only have an impact for England as other countries/regions are likely to have no reason to change the Basic flag at this time.

Solution
This patch will ensure that any checking of the length of attendance codes will not fail for any of the descriptions of codes we have provided for the SIMS Summer Release 2024.

Issue 3:  All  Registration Certificate for all schools
Reports | Attendance/Lesson Monitor | Individual Student Reports | Registration Certificate report
During the large change needed in our SIMS Summer Release 2024 to cope with the new set of DfE session attendance codes, we have inadvertently caused the Registration Certificate Report to print over two pages per pupil rather than one.

Solution
This patch will adjust the margins of the report so that it once again prints on a single page per pupil.

Issue 4:  En Inde  Registration Certificates for English independent schools
Reports | Attendance/Lesson Monitor | Individual Student Reports | Registration Certificate report
After application of the on-demand patch to transform English independent schools to the new set of DfE session attendance codes, some of the schools existing codes are likely to have the exclamation mark added as a prefix. This outcome is as expected as it is necessary to avoid the school’s previous session attendance codes clashing with any of the new set of DfE session attendance codes. For example, if the school has previously been using code B for its own purposes this will be changed to !B so as not to clash with DfE session attendance code B.
However, we are now aware that session attendance codes prefixed with an exclamation mark will confuse the printing registration certificates so that the exclamation mark is printed as X rather than exclamation mark. For example, !D is printed as XD.

Solution
This patch will ensure that codes prefixed with an exclamation are printed as exclamation mark. For example, !D is printed as !D rather than XD.
Should you need any further guidance on this matter, please contact the School ICT helpdesk by e-mail:  helpdesk@schoolicts.co.uk or log a call via our portal https://my.schoolicts.co.uk/.