The ICT service

Helplines February / March 2016

Dealing with Distasteful Emails

For Primary and Secondary Schools

Over the last month or so we have seen an increase in the number of phishing and spam emails received into the Cambridgeshire school email system.  At best these are a nuisance and at worst they can be upsetting for the recipient.
Every day we receive around 250,000 emails for schools of which we block around 130,000 as spam or suspect. Spam is a never ending battle and the spammers go to more and more lengths to bypass email filtering systems.
Our system works by giving each email a score; based on this score, an automatic decision is made to either deliver the mail or to delete it. We can adjust the level at which we delete; however, doing this in the past has resulted in genuine emails not being delivered so we have to be cautious in this area.
We have now implemented an alternative email filtering package and this has had an extremely positive impact on the levels of spam being received into users' mailboxes. With this said, no filtering system will ever provide 100% protection against malicious email.  Users do have a second line of defence in their ‘junk’ email list.
If you receive a distasteful email, simply highlight it in your inbox with one click then right click on it – from the menu select Junk | Block sender.
If you blocked someone accidentally you can right click on any email in the list and click on Junk then Junk email options, click on the Blocked Senders tab, locate and highlight the erroneously blocked address and click Remove.
If you have any question or concern about an email you have received, please contact The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email


Arrangements for the End of Key Stage Statutory Returns 2016

For Primary Schools

This year’s End of Key Stage Wizards should become available with the Spring SIMS Upgrade.  (Capita expect to make this available in March 2016, so Centrally Hosted schools will hopefully be upgraded during the scheduled downtime on Saturday 9 April 2016.)
We recommend that you don’t leave it until the deadline; we advise that you import your EOKS Wizards and enter the data as soon as possible. This will allow time to resolve any issues that may be encountered. 
In our experience supporting schools through this process, many encounter some issues with their EOKS returns – either with the Wizard, entering data, creating results CTFs, uploading results or generating reports.  The sooner the process is started the more time we will have to get problems resolved for you before the deadlines.
Throughout the instructions below XXXX will be your school’s DfE number and nnn is a number automatically generated by SIMS when the CTF is created.
All dates are closing dates and have been taken from the latest DfE advice. 
Be smart, get ahead and submit early.
  • Upload to S2S – Closing date: Friday 24 June 2016
  • Naming of CTF – 873XXXX_YR0_873LLLL_nnn
Year 1 + Year 2 Phonics Screening
  • Upload to S2S – Date to be confirmed by the IMS team in due course
  • Naming of CTF – 873XXXX_PHO_873LLLL_nnn
  • Include all Year 1 and those Year 2 pupils who have retaken the screening check
End of Key Stage One
  • Upload to S2S – Closing date: Thursday 30 June 2016
  • Naming of CTF – 873XXXX_KS1_873LLLL_nnn
End of Key Stage Two
  • Upload to the NCA Tools website –
  • Deadline to submit teacher assessment data: Thursday 30 June 2016
  • Naming of CTF – 873XXXX_CTF_873LLLL_nnn
Notes for recording End of Key Stage Assessments will be made available for download from the Portal Learn Together  shortly (search using keyword - EOKS).
If you would like the opportunity to complete your return outside of the office environment with expert support on hand to answer your questions, why not consider booking onto one of our workshops:
End of Key Stage Data Made Easy
  • Mon 9 May 2016, 1.30 – 4.00pm at The ICT Service Training Centre, St Ives
  • Thurs 12 May 2016, 10.00am – 12.30pm at Kingsfield Primary School, Chatteris
  • Mon 16 May 2016, 1.30 – 4.00pm at The ICT Service Training Centre, St Ives
  • Mon 20 June 2016, 1.30 – 4.00pm at The ICT Service Training Centre, St Ives
  • Thurs 23 June 2016, 1.30 – 4.00pm at The ICT Service Training Centre, St Ives
Book your place online
If you are responsible for completing and submitting the Early Years data, the following workshop dates are available.  Places may book up fast so do consider booking on as soon as possible.
EYFS in SIMS – Preparing for the Statutory Return
  • Weds 11 May 2016, 9.30am – 12.00pm at Kingsfield Primary School, Chatteris
  • Fri 13 May 2016, 9.30am – 12.00pm at The ICT Service Training Centre, St Ives
  • Fri 13 May 2016, 1.30 – 4.00pm at The ICT Service Training Centre, St Ives
  • Weds 18 May 2016, 1.30 – 4.00pm at Bellbird Primary School, Sawston
  • Fri 17 June 2016, 1.30 – 4.00pm at The ICT Service Training Centre, St Ives
Book your place online


Exams Organiser and the new A2C Project

For Secondary Schools

Capita have been running pilot schemes (in Wales and Northern Ireland) over the last year.  These will be ending shortly.  Capita are now concentrating on a new generation of Exams Organiser that will be fully A2C compliant.
JCQ have issued a Statement to the effect that:
The current position of the JCQ Awarding Organisations is:
  • AQA, OCR and WJEC will start A2C live pilots in September 2018.
  • Pearson will start pilots in September 2016 and roll out before, or with, other Awarding Organisations.
  • CCEA is ready to roll out and will start deployment as soon as SIMS is ready as originally envisaged (all C2K centres in Northern Ireland use SIMS).
  • C&G will start deployment when the majority of suppliers are ready and collective AO industry progress has been made, so is currently planning for pilots from September 2017.
In order to ensure the availability of parallel arrangements throughout this schedule of migration to A2C, EDI will continue to be supported until 31 December 2020.
Capita are planning to hold a series of Exam Consultation Groups around the country on the next generation of Exams Organiser.
For more information or if you have any questions, please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email


Online Signup Form for Maintained Schools - Helping You Choose the Right Annual Support for Your School

For Primary Schools

The link to the Online Form, for schools to sign up for support from The ICT Service for the next financial year, has now been distributed by email to Cambridgeshire Maintained Primaries, Specials and Nurseries.  The email also contains links to the Guide to Services 2016-17 and the Price Lists.  We hope that we have given you all that you need to make your support choices for the coming year.
If you would like any help or guidance to decide between the available levels of support  appropriate for your school, or to complete/submit your Online Form, please speak to our Customer Services Team by calling 0300 300 0000 – select option 3 for the Helpline and ask to speak to a member of the Customer Services Team, or email


Preparing for the Next Academic Year

For Secondary Schools

We have posted some documents on to the Portal Learn Together that secondary schools may find useful when preparing for the next academic year.
  • Preparing for 2016/2017 using Nova T6 and Options (use search keywords: SIMS; Secondary; Helpline; 2016-2017; Options; Timetable)
  • Starting Next Year’s Curriculum Early 2016 (use search keywords: SIMS; Secondary; 2016-2017; Helpline; Timetable; Options)


Dinner Money - New Catering Year

For Primary Schools

The new catering year in Dinner Money begins on Monday 4 April 2016. 
The start date of the catering year determines the week numbers on the CAT forms, so it is very important that you set up the new catering year in Dinner Money well in advance. 
To set up the new catering year in SIMS go to:
Tools | Dinner Money | Setup and in Panel 2 Catering Returns click on the New button. 
In the Add/Edit Catering Year screen please type in the following information:
  • Name: 2016/2017
  • Catering Date: 04/04/2016
  • Frequency: Weekly
  • Repeat Every: Monday
Click on OK and then click on the Save icon at the top left of your screen. 
This will ensure that when you return from the Easter break your CAT form will correctly display week 2. 
If you require any assistance or have any questions please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email


Secondary School Analysis and Reporting

For Secondary Schools

Capita have released a set of new importable resources for KS4, for use by secondary schools, for analysis and reporting using Assessment Manager in SIMS.
Pre-defined templates and reports are being made available to all secondary schools that will allow for the recording of results (both old and new style GCSE grades, BTEC, AS) and display instant analysis for individuals, key groups and cohorts on both attainment and progress Key Performance Indicators such as A*- C English and Maths, Ebacc, Attainment 8, Progress 8 and Best 8.
SIMS schools already using their own custom aspects for tracking purposes can use the Mapping Tool within SIMS to link school aspects to those provided by Capita and still take advantage of the new analysis and reporting being introduced.
Secondary schools choosing to use GCSE grades within KS3 could also adapt these new resources for use in years 7, 8 or 9 if appropriate.
How can I get these new resources?
A copy of the resource files can be downloaded from the Portal Learn Together and they will be included within the AMPA folder of the Spring 2016 release. 
What is included in the file?
  • Assessment Manager Templates
  • Report definitions
  • Example Report Outputs
  • Documentation
  • KS4 Assessment Mapping Tool Aspects
  • Mapping Tool Patches
Other useful Information
Updates to the mapping tool have taken place for the Autumn release to accommodate the new KS4 aspects. Should you wish to use the mapping tool ahead of the Autumn release then you will need to apply patch 21106 included in the
If you require any assistance or have any questions please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email


Address Button in SIMS no longer links to correct map location 

For Primary and Secondary Schools

Ordinarily, when you click on the word 'Address' to the left of the address of a student in SIMS, it would direct you to a street map of that area.  However, since the last upgrade some schools have reported that the link opens up a map of a county, but not specific to that search.  Each student's address takes you to the same map regardless of where they actually live.
This issue can be resolved as follows:
Go to Tools > Setups > User Options - on Panel 2. External Files from the drop down menu select the following Mapping Hyperlink:
Click Save
If you require any assistance or have any questions please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email


Frozen Screens in Central Hosting

For Primary and Secondary Schools

If programs freeze inside Central Hosting, it is usually possible for the user to force a close on the frozen applications. 
It is necessary to close out of Central Hosting by undertaking the following process:
  • Click on the Start button (inside Central Hosting) and select Log Off.  You should then see a message which allows you to confirm that you are happy for the open programs to be forced to close. 
  • When the Central Hosting session has closed down, wait a couple of minutes to allow the programs to fully close and then log back into Central Hosting – the programs should then be working normally.
Please note: users should NOT log out of Central Hosting by clicking the ‘X’ in the top right corner – this procedure does not close Central Hosting properly and is one of the main causes of printer issues and duplicate sessions.
If you see duplicate programs such as ‘SIMS (2)’ and ‘Microsoft Outlook (2)’, this may be a result of closing out of Central Hosting having pressed the ‘X’ or being disconnected from a previous Central Hosting session by an interruption to service.  Logging out using the correct process can often resolve this problem too.
Users sometimes try to close frozen applications in Central Hosting by using Control-Alt-Delete – this will not work, as the applications are not on the machine or network.  Even shutting down the machine will not resolve the issue.
If you require any assistance please contact The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 – you can request that we remotely log you out of your Central Hosting session.    


Financial Year End for Maintained Schools

For Primary Schools

Financial Year End will soon be upon us and, as usual, it falls in the Easter Break!  However, there is no need to panic – prepare now to sort out your system and it will be plain sailing.
There is still time to book on to one of our workshops taking place here at The ICT Service Training Centre in St Ives:
FMS6 Year End for LA Schools
Tues 8 March 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Fri 11 March 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Thurs 17 March 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
If this is your first Financial Year End then you may well have heard plenty of ‘doom and gloom’ stories to give you unnecessary worry.  The good news is that Year End is really just an extended Month End and if you start now and get your prep done, then you will have nothing to worry about.
Have you thought about…?
  • Looking at your structure within FMS? This means the chart of accounts – do you know what this is?
  • Checking if you still have numerical codes in your ‘Fund’ Cost Centre? What difference does it make?
  • Checking if you still have all the NI and Pension Codes in your ‘Employees’ Cost Centre?
  • How you deal with Pupil Premium Funding – can you prove your spend? This is possible by improving your cost centres within FMS.  Even better if you are using online payment systems proving Parental Engagement.
  • Doing a tidy up? Stop wading through a redundant structure.
If you are thinking about any of the above, then your system needs an ‘MOT’. 
We are excellent mechanics! Get in touch for details of our service.  Call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email  


Monthly Tasks and Documents Available - Primary / Nursery / Special Schools

For Primary Schools

Documents recently uploaded to the Portal Learn Together with key search word highlighted in red.
  • Preparing for OfSTED.docx - ofsted
  • FMS Preparing your System for Barclays Three Day Payments and Lloyds Link Online.pdf - FMS
  • FMS Financial Year End.pdf - Year End
  • Helpline School Spring Census 2016 Notes.pdf - School Census
  • How to Upload the latest Census Validation Fileset into SIMS.pdf - School Census


Monthly Tasks and Documents Available - Secondary Schools

For Secondary Schools

  • Set up options for next year
  • Preparation for the next Academic Year - Create new year, create admission groups
Documents recently uploaded to the Portal Learn Together with key search word highlighted in red.
  • SIMS Starting Next Years Curriculum Early.pdf - Timetable
  • Preparing for 2016_17 using Nova T6 and Options to prepare the timetable.pdf - Timetable
  • Preparing for OfSTED.docx - ofsted
  • Capita Producing the School Spring Census 2016 for Secondary Schools.pdf - School Census
  • Helpline School Spring Census 2016 Notes - School Census
  • How to upload the latest Census Validation Fileset into SIMS.pdf - School Census


Key Dates and Training Coming Up Soon

For Primary and Secondary Schools

Ensure you receive our latest Training dates by signing up to receive our regular newsletters. Visit The ICT Service Website and sign up with your own email address.


SIMS Courses

Managing SEND
Weds 9 March 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm 
Tues 3 May 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Account Administration Tool Intr/Refresher and Education Portal Accounts Training
Weds 9 March 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Tues 5 July 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
SIMS Basic Reporting
Tues 22 March 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Mon 9 May 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Tues 21 June 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Using InTouch for Messaging and Parental Engagement
Tues 12 April 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Tues 21 June 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
SIMS for New Users
Session 1: Fri 4 March 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Session 2: Fri 18 March 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Session 1: Tues 12 April 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Session 2: Tues 26 April 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
N.B. This course takes place over 2 half-day sessions
SIMS Advanced Reporting
Weds 13 April 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Mon 6 June 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Tidy Up - a Course for Administrators
Fri 29 April 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Fri 17 June 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
SIMS Refresher
Tues 3 May 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Achievement & Behaviour Management
Thurs 5 May 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Weds 29 June 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Cambridgeshire Solution for Assessment
Fri 6 May 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Weds 6 July 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm

Finance Courses

FMS6 Year End for LA Schools
Tues 8 March 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Fri 11 March 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Thurs 17 March 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Paperless Finance Office PLUS 3 Day Payments set up Workshop
Tues 22 March 2016, 9.15am - 1.00pm
Tues 19 April 2016, 1.00 - 4.45pm 
Tues 10 May 2016, 9.15am - 1.00pm
Weds 25 May 2016, 9.15am - 1.00pm
Weds 8 June 2016, 9.15am - 1.00pm
Weds 22 June 2016, 9.15am - 1.00pm
Barclays 3 Day Payments Workshop - Reporting & Beyond
Weds 13 April 2016. 1.30pm - 4.00pm
Tues 17 May 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Weds 18 May 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Thurs 23 June 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Thurs 30 June 2016, 1.30pm - 4.00pm
SIMS for Finance Officers
Fri 22 April 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
FMS Budget Input Workshops
Weds 27 April 2016, 9.30am - 12.30pm
Weds 4 May 2016, 9.30am - 12.30pm
Thurs 12 May 2016, 1.30 - 4.30pm
Weds 18 May 2016, 9.30am - 12.30pm
Thurs 26 May 2016, 1.30pm - 4.30pm
Making FMS Reports Understandable
Thurs 28 April 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
FMS for New Users
Day 1:  Thurs 5 May 2016, 9.15am - 12.30pm
Day 2: Thurs 19 May 2016, 9.15am - 12.30pm
Day 3: Tues 7 June 2016, 9.15am - 12.30pm
Day 4: Tues 28 June 2016, 9.15am - 12.30pm
Click on a course title to view the full course programme, prices and to book all your delegate places online!
Contact The ICT Service
Helpline | 0300 300 0000 (then press 3) |
Training | 0300 300 0000 (then press 2) |
Portal | Learn Together website

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