The ICT service

Helplines September 2016

School Autumn Census - Thursday 6 October 2016

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

This year’s Autumn School Census takes place on Thursday 6 October 2016.
As always, you can download our Helpline guidance notes and you can also download the DfE Guidance notes.
Please note:  the new Data Collection items of Country of Birth, Pupil Nationality and Proficiency in English are included in this Census.   These new items can be entered using the Bulk Update area in SIMS via Routines | Pupil | Bulk Update.
The Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) is also being collected, but on a voluntary basis until Autumn 2017.
Please aim to upload your Census on Thursday 6 October 2016.  The Live blade on COLLECT becomes available from 7.30am for all schools.  Schools are advised to upload a dummy return to the Familiarisation blade on COLLECT in advance of Census Day, to enable data checks and for early warnings of any potential problems. The Familiarisation blade on COLLECT is now open but will close at 4.00pm on Friday 30 September.
Please ensure that all statutory fields have been completed for all new students in SIMS, paying particular attention to the recording of Free School Meal entitlements (not the Universal FSM).  You can also encourage parents with KS1 pupils to apply for FSM if they are eligible (even though pupils will receive Universal FSM anyway), as proof of eligibility attracts Pupil Premium funding for the school. 
Secondary Schools with Sixth Forms should also be aware that Post 16 Learning Aims are collected as a part of the Autumn Census.  This year The ICT Service will again be hosting a Post 16 Census Workshop on Thursday 15 September, where schools can work on their Post 16 return here at Speke House and consult with other school users and members of The ICT Service team.  Each year it would appear that the goalposts are moved for making this return.  Working together can be a valuable exercise for all concerned.
You can book online now and attend for a half day for just £95, or the full day for £175, at The ICT Service Training Centre, St Ives.

Data Collection Sheets and UPRN

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

Now is the best time to send out Data Collection Sheets for all your existing students, with a request to parents to provide any missing data and to identify and amend any incorrect information held.
The SIMS Summer Upgrade included an update to the Data Collection Sheet which now includes the new Census data fields of Country of Birth and Pupil Nationality. 
Once the amended Data Collection Sheets have been returned and as you work through updating your student records in SIMS, it may also be an opportune time to bring in the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) – by Validating the address of each student. The UPRNs are currently being collected on a voluntary basis, but will be compulsory from Autumn 2017.
If you require any assistance, please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email

Pupil Premium

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

Each year the DfE makes a file available for schools from KeytoSuccess (usually from mid-July) – it contains details of all students for whom each school will receive PP, based on the January Census information.
To import the file into SIMS, the filename usually needs to be edited into the format pp_data_1617_873nnnn_1.csv (where nnnn is your school DfE number).
However, this import only shows which students the school is receiving funding for, which does not necessarily match with the pupils at the school currently who are now eligible for PP. 
It is useful to have the PPI box ticked in Student Details as this allows for easy reporting on these students in all areas of SIMS.  The PPI tick box has to be updated each academic year.  On importing the DfE file you can choose for the PPI box to be completed.  Bulk editing of PPI can be carried out using the Bulk Update area in SIMS via Routines | Pupil | Bulk Update. 
This is also a reminder for schools with pupils in receipt of Universal Free School Meals – it is so important to know whether they would be eligible for Free School Meals (FSM), as they would also attract PP.  If NI numbers and Dates of Birth of parents are known, the Education Welfare Department can run searches to identify families that would be eligible for FSM. 
Download the guidance pack on using SIMS to help collect and report on the NI numbers and Dates of Birth of parents. 
If you require any assistance, please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email

EYFS Baseline Assessments - Deadline Friday 7 October 2016

Audience: Primary / Nursery / Early Years Schools

The deadline for Reception Initial Data Return (RID) is Friday 7 October 2016.
As in previous years, the Early Years Team are collecting RID data this term which should be submitted using Perspective Lite on or before Friday 7 October 2016. 
A letter was sent direct to Headteachers and Early Years Foundation Stage Leaders dated 29 June 2016, which explained the need for producing the return. 
You should expect to receive a further letter early this term that will include instructions on how to use the required Perspective Lite spreadsheet and how the file should be renamed in order to submit your data successfully.
The ICT Service will be running courses this term to support this process for those schools using EYFS in SIMS.
Attendees to date have found these workshops extremely useful.  Not only are there lots of updates for analysing your Reception data, but updates for those schools with Nurseries have also been included within the workshop guidance.
You can book online to attend the EYFS in SIMS – Preparing for the Baseline at The ICT Service Training Centre in St Ives on:
  • Friday 23 September 2016, 9.30am – 12.00pm
  • Tuesday 4 October 2016, 9.30am – 12.00pm
Read more about the workshop

FMS - New Documents Available to Download

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

FMS6 users are invited to download the following new guidance documents produced by The ICT Service Helpline:
If you require any assistance, please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email

Secure Access - Updates

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

There has been an amendment to the number of School Approvers (administrators) allowed for each school.
The DfE has announced that the number of Secure Access Website Local Approvers has been increased for schools, from one to two, with the number of End Users remaining at seven.
It is the responsibility of the current Local Approver at your school to assign permissions in Secure Access as required:
  • For school staff (End Users) who need access, as appropriate to their role, to any/all of the following areas in Secure Access: S2S, KtS and COLLECT;
  • To grant Approver permissions to one other school user, as appropriate to their role. We would strongly recommend that an additional Approver is assigned, as this would help prevent issues caused by staff absences or moves.
An updated Secure Access Request Form is now LIVE
The Request Form on the Secure Access site has been reviewed by the DfE and the improved form is now live. There is a link available on the Secure Access home page

Administration Procedures - Useful Documents

Audience: Primary Schools

The following documents provide very useful reference checks at this time of year.  Download and start using them now:

School Workforce Census - Thursday 3 November 2016

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

The School Workforce Census is fast approaching - Thursday 3 November 2016 – we advise you to start work on your data now.
Ensure all staff details are up to date and new staff have been recorded in SIMS, with all statutory fields completed.
Ensure contracts for this year and last year are recorded and correct for current staff and leavers who worked at the school last year.
All staff sickness absences should be recorded in SIMS – with start and end dates and with the number of days lost showing correctly.  A new absence category of Pregnancy Related Absence is collected for the first time in this return – the code became available in SIMS as a part of the Summer upgrade.
Check that qualifications have been recorded accurately for all staff.
Download the DfE Guidance notes explaining what data is to be collected. 
There are also two reports which can be imported into SIMS (do not attempt to open these reports; download and import into SIMS via Reports | Import).
These reports show Staff details held in SIMS plus training and qualifications – these can be run and passed to staff for checking. 
If you require any assistance, please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email

Schoolcomms Update - Web-based Version

Audience: Primary Schools

Schoolcomms have commenced the phased release of a web-based version of their product, to enable users to access Schoolcomms via a wider range of browsers, devices and locations.  
Payments are already available on the web version, and schools can switch anytime from now until the end of 2016.
Centrally Hosted schools will not be able to transfer until The ICT Service has completed the switchover – we are currently liaising with Schoolcomms regarding this procedure.
We are aware that some schools are now seeing an advisory message when they log into Schoolcomms – they appear to be given the option of uninstalling the current version and moving over to the new version. Schools should click OK to the advisory message and carry on as usual in the current version, pending further guidance from The ICT Service.

Photograph Licences and Bulk Import Reminder

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

This is a reminder that a Capita licence is required if you wish to bulk import student photographs into SIMS. Licences are only valid for one year.
Capita accredited photographers may supply the licence, or you may need to obtain one direct from Capita – contact the SIMS Sales Desk on 01234 832100.
Your chosen photographer should be able to advise you regarding requirements, and should be contacted well in advance of the photograph session to confirm procedure, as they will need information from the school before the visit.  They will need a SIMS report of admission numbers or bar codes.
Guidance on the procedure for importing photographs can be located from your SIMS Home Page as follows:
Documentation | QRS (Quick Reference Sheets) | SIMS Core | Importing Photographs into SIMS

SPAM Email Alert

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

Cambridgeshire County Council has recently issued a warning to staff regarding ransomware emails.  View details regarding the latest threat. 
As always, please be vigilant when clicking on email attachments or links.  New security threats emerge continuously and The ICT Service actively works to block and filter as much as possible. With this said, no filtering system will ever provide 100% protection against malicious email.
If you suspect an email or would like to report an incident, please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email

Central Hosting Downtime - Saturday 10 September 2016

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

On Saturday 10 September 2016 The ICT Service will be carrying out scheduled maintenance on Centrally Hosted Systems.
The following systems will therefore be unavailable between 7.00am and approximately 11.00pm on Saturday 10 September 2016:
  • Centrally Hosted Email (Email sent to accounts during this time will still be delivered)
  • Remote Access
  • School based systems via Remote Access
  • Video Conferencing
The full calendar of scheduled downtime dates can always be found on our website

Monthly Tasks & Recently Uploaded Documents

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

  • Prepare for School Autumn Census
  • Send out Data Collection Sheets
  • Obtain Country of Origin and Nationality  data
Recently added documents:

Key Dates and Training Coming Up Soon

Audience: Primary / 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

SIMS for New Users
Session 1: Tues 13 September 2016,
9.30am - 12.00pm
Session 2: Tues 27 September 2016,
9.30am - 12.00pm
Session 1: Tues 8 November 2016,
1.30 - 4.00pm
Session 2: Tues 22 November 2016,
1.30 - 4.00pm
SIMS Basic Reporting
Thurs 22 September 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
EYFS in SIMS - Preparing for the Baseline
Fri 23 September 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Tues 4 October 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Preparing for School Census
Fri 23 September 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
SIMS Advanced Reporting
Thurs 6 October 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Managing SEND in SIMS
Mon 10 October 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
SIMS Personnel & Working towards School Workforce
Tues 11 October 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Wed 19 October 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Single Central Record in SIMS
Tues 11 October 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Tues 1 November 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Attendence & Dinner Money
Thurs 13 October 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm

Admin Roadshows

Admin Roadshows - Autumn 2016
Weds 28 September 2016, 1.30 - 3.30pm
Hemingford Abbots Village Hall, Hemingford
Tues 4 October 2016, 1.30 -3.30pm
Meadows Community Centre, Cambridge

Finance Courses

Barclays 3 Day Payments Workshop - Reporting & Beyond
Tues 20 September 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Wed 30 November 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Budget Adjustment & Profiling and CFR Mapping
Tues 20 September 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Tues 18 October 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
FMS for New Users
Day One: Weds 21 September 2016,
9.15am - 12.45pm
Day Two: Weds 5 October 2016,
9.15am - 12.45pm
Day Three: Weds 19 October 2016,
9.15am - 12.45pm
Day Four: Weds 23 November 2016,
9.15am - 12.45pm
Bridging the Gap between Agora and FMS
Tues 27 September 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Paperless Finance Office PLUS 3 Day Payments set up Workshop
Thurs 29 September 2016, 1.00 - 4.30pm
Thurs 20 October 2016, 9.15am - 12.45pm
Tues 29 November 2016, 1.00 - 4.30pm
FMS Equipment Register
Weds 5 October 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm

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