The ICT service

Helplines November 2016

Christmas Closure Dates

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

Advance notification of dates when The ICT Service will be closed during the Christmas Holidays.
Our Helpline staff will be taking calls up until close of business on Friday 23 December 2016 on 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 Tuesday 3 January 2017.
  • Boxing Day – Bank Holiday CLOSED
  • Tuesday 27 December 2016  – Bank Holiday CLOSED
  • Wednesday 28 December 2016 – CLOSED
  • Thursday 29 December 2016 – CLOSED
  • Friday 30 December 2016 – CLOSED
  • Monday 2 January 2017 – Bank Holiday CLOSED
During the closedown period our essential systems will continue to be monitored and any critical failures will be investigated and rectified.

SIMS Autumn Upgrade

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

The Capita SIMS Autumn Upgrade will be released to locally hosted schools using SOLUS 3 later in November. Centrally Hosted schools will be upgraded during the scheduled downtime on Saturday 10 December 2016.
This upgrade contains changes necessary to be able to create the School Spring Census 2017 and will be required by all schools.
Some of the main changes:
Source of Ethnicity: the options of Current School and Previous School have been removed from the Lookup options – where these are currently allocated to students, another option must be selected – this can be carried out in Bulk Update.
SEN Need Ranking is no longer collected – all Needs assigned to a student are now collected, not just 1 and 2.
Attendance/Lesson Monitor: a new Persistent Absence Report – Student Threshold is available.
CTF Security Message: a security message has been added to the CTF Import and Export Exception Logs as they may contain confidential information.
Home Page: the Current Academic Year is now displayed next to Quick Search and can be changed by clicking this label.  It is necessary to have the academic year set correctly to be able to select leavers during the last academic year when creating CTFs for export.

Programme of Study: can now select Years 10 and 11 and record achievements against user-defined statements.

The Spring School Census

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

The School Spring Census next year is on Thursday 19 January 2017. 
'Preparing for School Census' Workshops are now available to book for those new to creating and submitting a School Census, or for anyone who feels they would like a refresher.
  • Tuesday 10 January 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm
  • Thursday 12 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
It is necessary to be on the Autumn Upgrade of SIMS – version 7.172 – to be able to create the Spring School Census.
The 'DfE School Census 2016 to 2017 Guide’ is available for download from the Learn Together Hub (see article below).
These notes provide guidance on exactly what data will be collected and when.
Our Helpline notes for generating the Spring Census in SIMS will be uploaded shortly. It is vital for your school’s funding that you download and read our Helpline guidance at the earliest opportunity, as Census requirements do change regularly.
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: 
  • 0, 1 or 5: The selected time is one hour after the start of afternoon school
  • 2, 3 or 6: The selected time is one hour after the start of morning school
  • 4, 7, 8 or 9: The selected time is one hour before the end of morning school
Data items to be aware of: 
  • Country of Birth, Nationality, Proficiency in English
  • Child Care Provision
  • EYPPE (Early Years Pupil Premium Eligibility)
  • UPRN (Unique Property Reference Number)
  • First Language & Ethnicity (now required for Nursery Schools)
Please note:
  • Source of Ethnicity – the options ‘Current School’ and ‘Previous School’ have been removed from the Lookup options. 
  • SEN Need Ranking is no longer collected in the Census – all needs assigned to a student are now collected, not just 1 and 2.
Please don’t wait until Census Day. We encourage you to run a Census as soon as you can. Check the data in the Summary and the Detail Reports carefully – this information affects your school’s funding.
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 rules on COLLECT.
If you require any help, please do consider booking onto one of the 'Preparing for School Census' 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

Interventions in SIMS

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

A new Interventions Module is due to become available (at no additional cost) in SIMS, as a part of the Spring Upgrade 2017. 
This new module will enable Interventions to be recorded in SIMS. Students can then be assigned to the Interventions with starting points and targets for each student. 
Cost can also be recorded, either overall or per session. Reports can then be run on progress, outcomes and cost.  The data will also be available for Individual Reports and Discover. 
Further information will be published as it becomes available to us.

The Portal is now the Learn Together Hub

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

Schools have been sent communications from the Council that the Portal has now been decommissioned (as of Wednesday 2 November 2016). 
The Portal has now been replaced by the Learn Together Hub (LTH), which is also referred to as Knowledge Hub, a central platform for accessing documents, guidance and advice specifically from the services that matter to you.
Parts of the Learn Together Hub will be accessible without having to log in and while we are running in the system, all documents published by The ICT Service will be 'public' so that links to documents will still work even if you’ve not yet created a login.
The Learn Together Hub is accessible here:
We invite you to add this link to your favourites.
Within the Learn Together Hub there are service-specific groups, and The ICT Service is one of these. These groups are accessible via a single login, which you can create and manage yourself. When you first try to access a group you will be asked to create login details. You can sign up to as many groups as you want.
Please search for and subscribe to the following groups as they will become the route for you to access all our notes and guidance documentation.
If you have any questions please call 0300 300 0000 or email

Capita Licences for the next Financial Year (2017/18)

Audience: Maintained Schools

SIMS, FMS and Dinner Money are applications licenced by Capita and managed by The ICT Service. 
We have been requested by Capita to provide a list of all schools that want to continue using the product/s during the financial year 2017/18. 
The ICT Service requires this information by Tuesday 6 December 2016. 
Please confirm your choice/s by completing this very quick online form.
It is especially important for you to respond if you are thinking of dropping the use of an application as, unless we hear to the contrary before Tuesday 6 December 2016, you will be charged the annual maintenance fee. 
Please fill in the online form as this will save you from receiving reminder emails from us.

Central Hosting Downtime - Saturday 12 November 2016

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

On Saturday 12 November 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 12 November 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 and Recently Uploaded Documents

Audience: Primary / Secondary Schools

  • Collect and update all relevant information for the January Census, paying particular attention to the recently added fields for Country of Birth, Pupil Nationality and Proficiency in English
  • Create a Learn Together Hub Account  -  join the following groups: 'The ICT Service',  'SIMS: The ICT Service', 'FMS: The ICT Service'.
  • After the Autumn Upgrade, import the latest Pre-Defined Reports into SIMS
  • Use the quick online form to tell us which Capita Licences you wish to use in the 2017/18 Financial Year.
Our most recently uploaded documents can be found on the new Learn Together Hub (please see article above).

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 Finance Officers
Tues 15 November 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
SIMS for Nurseries
Tues 29 November 2016,  9.30am - 12.00pm
Using InTouch for Communication and Parental Engagement
Weds 30 November 2016, 1.30 - 4.00pm
SIMS for Special Schools
Weds 7 December 2016, 9.30am - 12.00pm
SIMS for NEW Users
Session 1 of 2:
Weds 11 January 2017, 9.30am -12.00pm
Session 2 of 2:
Weds 25 January 2017, 9.30am -12.00pm
Session 1 of 2:
Weds 22 February 2017, 9.30am -12.00pm
Session 2 of 2:
Weds 8 March 2017, 9.30am -12.00pm
Preparing for School Census
Tues 10 January 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Thurs 12 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Finance Courses
FMS for New Users
Day One: Thurs 12 January 2017,
9.15am - 12.45pm
Day Two: Thurs 26 January 2017,
9.15am - 12.45pm
Day Three: Thurs 9 February 2017,
9.15am - 12.45pm
Day Four: Thurs 9 March 2017,
9.15am - 12.45pm
Accounts Receivable
Weds 18 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Barclays 3 Day Payments Workshop - Reporting and Beyond
Weds 18 January 2017, 9.30am  - 12.00pm
Tues 21 March 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Paperless Office PLUS 3 Day Payments Set up Workshop
Thurs 19 January 2017, 9.15am - 12.45pm
FMS Budget Adjustment & Profiling
Weds 25 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Bridging the Gap between Agora & FMS
Thurs 26 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm

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