The ICT service

Helplines June / July 2016

How to Avoid Creating Duplicate Pupil Records in SIMS

For Primary and Secondary Schools

Duplicate pupil records in SIMS can cause many problems and care should be taken to avoid creating them.
Before adding a new pupil into SIMS, use the ‘Student Details’ section - click New and enter their surname, or first few letters of the surname, into the ‘Surname’ field, then click Continue to search for any existing record.
The student may have been on roll previously, or in a pre-admission group but not actually admitted.  It is very important that the school re-uses the record if it already exists.
When importing CTFs that contain student details already recorded in SIMS, at the Select the CTF Import Type panel choose the Add Data for Existing Pupils Only option. 
Use the CTF matching screens to avoid importing duplicate pupil records.  A green light next to the pupil indicates that the record in the CTF has been matched with a record in SIMS. 
If the indicator next to the pupil is not green, it means there is a discrepancy between the CTF and the SIMS record, e.g. legal names, date of birth, UPN.  Even a misplaced hyphen will prevent records from matching.  These instances need to be investigated and corrected before proceeding with the import.
If you require any assistance with this process, you can call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email

ATFs - Files must be requested 

For Primary Schools

ATFs (Admission Transfer Files) are not automatically sent out to primary schools or available in S2S. If you would like to use an ATF to import your new admissions, you will need to request a file from the IMS team. 
To request the file, please email
The IMS team will email you when your file is available in the ATF Download area on S2S (accessed from the Secure Access website).
Download the notes on importing the ATF into SIMS.

Year End Procedures

For Primary and Secondary Schools

You don’t have to wait until the end of this academic year.  The next academic year must be added before the end of August 2016. 
The Promotion Routine must also have been run before the end of August 2016 – this does not promote the students when it is run, but it defines the promotion that will occur automatically on the first day of the next academic year. 
Admission groups should be created for the new September 2016 intake.
All the new pupils should be recorded in this group, or imported into it from an ATF, so that they can be dealt with as a group.
If you require any assistance to complete these tasks then please call The ICT Service Helpline on
0300 300 0000 or email

Sending through the New Timetable

For Secondary schools with Sixth Forms

To assist with the Autumn Census, please make sure that the levels in NOVA T6 match the courses that the students will be following.
Once the timetable has been sent through, check in SIMS Course Manager that the classes are in the correct course and that any new courses have been created successfully. 
If anything is incorrect, please amend the details in NOVA T6 and resend the timetable again with the same start date. Do not change the course and class links in Course Manager.

Year End and the Timetable

For Secondary Schools

Please take particular care with dates when setting up the new academic year in SIMS.
Check that all dates match between NOVA T6 and SIMS.

Quick Search in SIMS

For Primary and Secondary Schools

Did you know that if you search for ‘Help’ in the Quick Search field on the SIMS Home Page, it will produce a list of codes to use for specific searches?
If you need any further advice and tips, The ICT Service Helpline Team are here to help – call us on 0300 300 0000 or email

Changes to the School Census for the 2016-17 Academic Year

For Primary and Secondary Schools

Below is an extract from the DfE Census Guidance notes for the next academic year:
Changes from 2015-2016 school census specifications
New data items:
a) Proficiency in English [ALL schools]
Where a pupil’s language is ‘other than English’, the pupil’s proficiency in English is collected; see paragraph 5.3.3 for full details.
b) Country of birth [ALL schools]
This new data item records the pupil’s country of birth; see paragraph 5.3.4 for full details.
c) Pupil nationality [ALL schools]
This new data item records the pupil’s nationality; see paragraph 5.3.5 for full details.
d) Traineeships [For: Secondary, all-through and PRU with appropriate age range]
This new data item adds an indicator to each of the pupil’s learning aims. The indicator shows where the individual learning aim contributes towards a traineeship; see paragraph 5.10.16 for full details.
e) Unique property reference number [ALL schools]
This new data item is added to the home information address module and allows the unique property reference number (UPRN) to be returned where this is populated within school systems; see paragraph 5.7.2 for full details.
It would be advisable for schools to start collecting Country of Birth and Nationality data for new students as part of the admissions process. 
The DfE recommend seeing the Passport or Birth Certificate to obtain this information.
New data fields in SIMS will be included in the SIMS Summer upgrade that will allow schools to record Proficiency in English. 
The CREDS Team have training sessions available for staff who will be responsible for assessing and recording Proficiency in English. Please make sure the staff concerned are aware that these courses are available.  More information

Results Day Survival Kit for Exams Officers

For Secondary Schools

As usual, Capita have made their ‘Results Day Survival Kit 2016’ available, to help Exams Officers to deal with exam results using SIMS and Exams Organiser. 
A copy has been emailed to all Exams Officers – please contact The ICT Service Helpline on
0300 300 0000 or by email to if you have not yet received your copy.
Also, as a reminder, Paul Stratford, our Secondary ICT Projects Manager, has arranged a Forum Meeting for Exams Officers here at The ICT Service Training Centre in St Ives, at 10.00am on Thursday 7 July 2016.
The meeting is aimed at providing an opportunity to meet other Exams Officers, to network, and to raise and discuss current and future issues with each other as well as with members of The ICT Service.
There is no charge for this meeting, but we would be grateful if you could email to let us know that you would like to attend.
We hope to see you there.

Preparing for Results Days

For Secondary Schools

Exams Officers - have you tidied your Examin folder recently?
The ICT Service would highly recommend archiving or deleting old basedata or results files from your Examin folder.
Not only does this make it easier to manage your basedata imports, but there have been occasions in the past when incoming results files from A2C merged with previous season results files of the same name, leading to duplicated results in Exams Organiser when imported.
Old results files can be moved to an Exams Archive Folder if you are not happy to delete them.

Guidance and Checklist Documents for Admin Staff

For Primary and Secondary Schools

The following documents are now available on the Portal
We have created them to be useful for reference purposes or as a checklist for when staff or pupils start or leave a school – to help ensure that all necessary procedures have been completed.
Procedures are regularly changed by various departments (local/national), and The ICT Service will be reviewing the content termly to ensure the information remains current.
We always welcome feedback from school staff, in particular if they become aware of any procedures in these documents that require updates.  Contact The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email 

Passports and Country of Birth

For Primary and Secondary Schools

During our recent Impulse Conference meetings in mid-June, the CREDS team notified us that in the next academic year the Census will require Country of Birth information for EAL students – this data will therefore need to be added in SIMS.
The extra fields should become available in the next SIMS upgrade and we would suggest that schools ask to see passports to confirm this information.

Impulse Conference Follow Up 

For Primary Schools

Following our recent Impulse Conference meetings, we have published the presentation slides from The ICT Service and the CREDS team on the Portal
Access them here:
Thank you to those able to attend, and we hope to see you all at a networking event in the future.

Central Hosting Remote Access - Many New Features!

For Primary and Secondary Schools

Our new Central Hosting Remote Access Service has lots of new features designed to make it easier to work remotely.
Before the upgrade was implemented, accessing Central Hosting from home required several logon stages.  Not anymore!  You now only need to log in once on the initial screens and *you may not even need a key fob.
The new Remote Access system provides support for many more devices, including Apple Mac, iPad, Android and Windows Mobile.
There is also support for most current web browsers, including Safari, Firefox and Chrome, giving you increased choice.
*We’ve now made remote access even easier for more staff!  You may well have staff who only access a limited amount of information, none of which is particularly sensitive, for example attendance or assessment marksheets. If so, you can authorise remote access for these staff without a key fob.
We recommend you review your staff ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ to ensure that basic security measures are set out (e.g. not leaving screens logged in and unattended).  Once reviewed, Headteachers can contact The ICT Service Helpline to arrange the new set-up.  You can then administer this using your Central Hosting Admin Tool by adding the users to a new group.
Did you also know that you can link your SIMS ID to your Central Hosting ID?  Once you’ve done this, you can access SIMS from the SIMS icon without the need to enter any additional login credentials.
For any help you might need, please contact The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email

Non-teaching Pay Scales

For Primary and Secondary Schools

Please note that the new pay scales for non-teaching staff were loaded onto the Portal on Friday 24 June 2016.
Schools using Cambridgeshire Pay Scales will need to import the relevant Pay Scale (Primary, Secondary or Special) for the Workforce Census in November 2016.

Helpline Staff Leaver

For Primary and Secondary Schools

Some of you may already be aware that on Friday 17 June Emma from The ICT Service Helpline team took early retirement. 
Emma had worked for the County Council for the last 42 years! She has been an extremely valued member of The ICT Service Helpline team with regard to her extensive FMS knowledge and we will miss her.
I am sure you will join us in wishing her a well-deserved, long and happy retirement.


Customer Request/Incident

We invite our customers to use our online form to quickly let us know if you have a request or an incident to report.

Submit details

Your Basket

  • No products selected


Add products to your basket to enquire about multiple services

what people say…

  • Really clear, easy to follow course with some great ideas.

    Sarah Dodsworth, Wisbech St Mary Primary School

  • Emma always explains what you need to do very clearly and is extremely helpful - Thank you

    Sue Scott, Alderman Payne Primary School

  • Lorraine on The ICT Service Helpline was very patient and friendly and seemed genuinely pleased to be helping me.

    Sheena Marsh, Sawtry Infant School

  • The course answered all my questions but went far beyond my expectations. Very good value for money. I also appreciate the handbook.

    Margaret Carpenter, Longsands Academy

  • Thank you. The e-safety session was one of the best uses of time that I have had for a long while.

    E-Safety Course

  • Our Technician always goes the extra mile for us. He understands our school needs and limitations. He is considered to be one of our school team.

    Primary School Headteacher

  • I just wanted to let you know how happy we have been with a recent server installation at school. Great service and so prompt.

    Head, Abbots Ripton C of E Primary School

  • The trainers was very happy to answer all questions so that we are able to use the system in the most effective way for our school

    Alison Rowbotham, The Weatheralls Primary School

  • I attended a truly fantastic course which has really opened my eyes to how I can use SIMS to support my data analysis.

    Yasmin Trace, Hatton Park Primary School

  • We have used The ICT Service now for many years, and have the highest praise for all the departments we deal with (we couldn’t live without our ICT technician or the helpdesk!).

    Weatheralls Primary School

  • I don't know what I would do without The ICT helpline. I have always found them to be friendly and supportive whenever I have called

    Primary School Secretary

  • ...really helplful during a very stressful time...

    Secondary School ICT Technician

  • All courses that I have attended are so helpful and are explained in terms that I can understand and I am not afraid to ask questions.

    Sarah Walker, Thorndown Primary School

  • Everyone I deal with on the Helpline is helpful and patient especially understanding the pressures we're under. It's lovely to know we have an efficient team available when needed.

    Lynn Hilling, The Vine Primary School

  • I have been in this job over 10 years and find the team a comfort at times of stress over jobs that have gone wrong. They are a credit to the service.

    Rebecca Mack, Business Manager, The Fields CC

  • I was given extremely clear and understandable instructions to help me find my way through difficulties.

    Sue Bardell, LLDD Team, CCC

  • Always helpful to guide me through the troubled waters of the Post 16 Census! I don't know how I would manage without them.

    Christine Bradshaw, St Ivo School

  • I found the whole session incredibly useful. You gave us lots of useful resources to take back to school and even more to think about.

    E-Safety Course

  • Very helpful, I like the way that The ICT Service can come on to the system remotely it saves so much time!

    Chris Cater, Cottenham Primary School

  • The Helpline are always great when I ring and try to sort the problem there and then at all times if possible. Great service.

    Paula Beeby, Coates Primary School

  • I always find the technical team extremely helpful and knowledgeable and very patient with whatever question you ask!

    Emily Lewney, Bar Hill Community Primary School

latest tweet

  • Scheduled downtime is complete, all services are back online. For support, contact The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 #ICTDowntime

    2 weeks

Tel:0300 300 0000