The ICT service

Helplines December 2015

Christmas Closing and New Year Staff Training Day

For Primary and Secondary Schools 

The ICT Service Helpline would like to wish you and your families a Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year. 
We hope that you all return with your batteries recharged to face the challenges that the new year will bring. We look forward to continuing to work with you and help support you in the year ahead after a well-earned break.
Our Helpline staff will be taking calls up until 2pm on Christmas Eve on our usual Helpline number 0300 300 0000, after which time The ICT Service will close for the Christmas period.
Thereafter you will be able to leave a voicemail or email and we will respond when we return on Monday 4 January 2016.
  • Thursday 24 December 2015 - OPEN (The ICT Service Helpline will CLOSE at 2pm)
  • Christmas Day – CLOSED
  • Monday 28 December 2015 – CLOSED
  • Tuesday 29 December 2015 – CLOSED
  • Wednesday 30 December 2015 – CLOSED
  • Thursday 31 December 2015  -  CLOSED
  • New Year’s Day – CLOSED
During the closedown period our essential systems will continue to be monitored and any critical failures will be investigated and rectified.
We would also like to take this opportunity to let you know that The ICT Service will be CLOSED between 12.30 and 2.30pm for an all staff training session on Monday 4 January 2016.  We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.


SIMS Autumn Upgrade

For Primary and Secondary Schools  

All schools should now be upgraded to version 7.166 of SIMS.  The upgrade was applied to Centrally Hosted schools during the scheduled downtime on 12 December 2015 and released on Solus 3 to Locally Hosted schools on 1 December 2015. 
All schools must have applied this upgrade in order to run the School Spring Census in January 2016.
We advise you to IMPORT the latest Predefined Report Definitions v7.166 immediately.
In SIMS go to Reports | Import | Open – locate the correct version of PreDefined_Reports 7.166 and Import.
Primary Schools - Programmes of Study assessments are included in CTFs and can be exported from and imported into SIMS.
Primary and Nursery Schools - Years E1 and E2 can now be added in the pastoral structure of schools with Nursery age pupils, to deal with the Rising 2s.
This upgrade also contains a number of new features and fixes.  For full details please look at the release notes available from the 'Documentation' link on your SIMS Home Page.


Groups in SIMS and other software

For Primary and Secondary Schools  

If your school uses third party software with data transferred from SIMS (such as Starz+, SchoolComms or Parentmail etc.), please be aware that any user defined groups set up in SIMS can be transferred into the other software.
Whilst this is a useful function for your teaching staff colleagues as they use Starz+, your colleagues holding administrator roles may need to hide from users some of the unwanted/confidential groups, such as Pupil Premium, SEND etc.
If you have User Defined Groups in SIMS that are no longer required, these can be deactivated (by changing the Active State to Inactive in Group Details). Inactive groups are not transferred.


Parent Evening Booking System for Starz+ Users

For Primary Schools 

All Starz+ subscribing schools have access to a free Parent Evening Booking System.  The system was demonstrated at dedicated briefing sessions recently and was well received.  Missed the session and like to find out more?  Do call us on 0300 300 0000 or email


School Spring Census 2016

For Primary and Secondary Schools  

The School Spring Census next year is on Thursday 21 January 2016. 
Workshops are available in January 2016 for anyone who is new to creating and submitting a School Census.
It is necessary to be on the Autumn Upgrade of SIMS version 7.166 to be able to create the Spring School Census. 
The DfE ‘School census 2015 to 2016 Guide’ is available for download from the Portal Learn Together website.   These notes provide guidance on exactly what data will be collected and when.  Helpline notes for generating the Spring Census in SIMS will be uploaded shortly.
This School Census collects information on class activity at a given time - your selected time of day depends on the last digit of your school’s DfE number - see below:
  • 2, 3 or 6 The selected time is one hour after the start of afternoon school
  • 4, 7, 8 or 9 The selected time is one hour after the start of morning school
  • 0, 1 or 5 The selected time is one hour before the end of morning school
Additional items being collected this January from Primary Schools are:
  • EYPP - Early Years Pupil Premium
  • Child Care Provision (Collected on a voluntary basis last year)
Please don’t wait until Census Day.  We encourage you to run a Census as soon as you can.  Check the numbers on the summary and the detailed reports carefully.  Pass the reports to the relevant members of staff for checking.  Then you can upload a test Census to the familiarisation blade on COLLECT to check for any errors or queries that may be picked up by the validation on COLLECT.
If you require any help, please do consider booking onto one of the workshops or getting in touch with the Helpline team in plenty of time to ensure you can complete this Census with minimal difficulty.  Call 0300 300 0000 or email


Assessment Manager Mapping  

For Primary and Secondary Schools 

The SIMS Autumn Upgrade has brought in a range of new Assessment Manager resources which will help schools record and track Progress at Key Stages 3 and 4.
School Aspects can be mapped to Generic SIMS Aspects which then populate Attainment 8 / Progress 8 on the School Report (accessed from the Reports menu in SIMS). All Subjects should now be available for mapping since the Autumn upgrade. This upgrade has also introduced a host of other reports to aid schools with analysis of students’ attainment.
Notes to help with mapping your school aspects to the Capita generic aspects, that are used by the School Report, can be found within the Documentation centre in SIMS, under Exams and Assessment | Performance and Analysis | Creating Assessment Related Components.
From Page 101 in the booklet the notes will guide you through matching your aspects to the Capita associated ones, including mapping result and grade sets.
Further information on the new resources included in this upgrade are provided in the Release notes. These show what is new, and what has been amended to aid analysis of results.
Templates are also available for import for KS3 Programmes of Study. These templates contain the full curriculum for all subjects that are studied at KS3, allowing teachers to record as each student becomes secure in their understanding of each individual learning aim. Analysis and tracking can then be carried out on these assessments.
For assistance or further information, please contact The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email


Pupil Starters and Leavers – admin checklists

For Primary Schools 

Guidance documents are available to assist school admin staff with essential processes when pupils start or leave a primary school.
These documents are in the form of checklists and the latest versions will be available for delegates of the SIMS New User training courses and are now on the Portal Learn Together website (search for ‘pupil starters’ or ‘pupil leavers’).
Various county departments have been consulted during the preparation of these notes; however, if school personnel are aware of any updates required or have any queries at any time, then do please contact The ICT Service (call 0300 300 0000 or email so the documents can be edited, as this will benefit all schools.


Documents Available

For Primary Schools 

Documents recently uploaded to the Portal Learn Together with key search word highlighted in red
  • DfE School Census Guide 2015 - 2016 v2.0.pdf - School Census
  • Pupil starters checklist for Primary Schools Dec 2015 - Pupil starters
  • Pupil Leavers checklist for Primary Schools - Pupil leavers


Documents Available

For Secondary Schools 

Documents recently uploaded to the Portal Learn Together with key search word highlighted in red
  • DfE School Census Guide 2015 - 2016 v2.0.pdf - School Census
  • - SIMS Assessment


Key Dates and Training

For Primary Schools 

You can find all our SPRING and SUMMER TERM 2016 Training & Events details online and available to book here!  Lots of courses in January 2016 so do have a look and book your places.

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