The ICT service

Helplines December 2016

Wishing you a Fantastic Festive Break from all at The ICT Service Helpline - Christmas Closure Dates 2016

Audience: All 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.
The ICT Service will be closed during the Christmas Holiday.  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.

Schoolcomms Upgrade - Version 9.5A

Audience: All Schools

Centrally Hosted Schools have been upgraded to the latest version 9.5A.
Locally Hosted Schools should carry out their own upgrades, if they haven’t already done so. Download here
ALL SCHOOLS will need to be on the latest version in readiness for when Schoolcomms move away from the Silverlight-based system.
The deadline to be on version 9.5A is 31 January 2017.
Centrally Hosted Schools using the Payments product:
Some schools have been experiencing slow speeds when using the new ‘live’ web-based Payments product. Schoolcomms are currently working on enhancements which they expect to be ready by early January 2017.
If you have not yet moved over from the old system to the new ‘live’ web-based Payments system, we recommend that you wait until early January 2017 when the enhancements have been tested and released.
If you have already moved over to the new ‘live’ web-based Payments system, please continue as usual.
If you require any assistance please call The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or email

Accessing Email Accounts

Audience: All Schools

We are aware that many school staff previously used the link on the old Portal to access their emails.  There is now a new link to access email on the NEW Learn Together Hub headed 'Schools Email'. 
However, we would strongly encourage schools to copy and paste the following url: and use it to access your email going forward.  You can then save it as a favourite.  

SIMS Autumn Upgrade

Audience: All Schools

All schools should now be on version 7.172 of SIMS.  
This upgrade contains changes necessary to be able to create the School Spring Census 2017 and will be required by all schools.  Centrally hosted schools have all been upgraded.
Following the upgrade, one member of staff in school should update the report definitions via route: Reports | Import | Open and select PreDefined_Reports_v7172. Click on Open and then Import.
This applies to ALL schools, including those who are centrally hosted.
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: 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.


Teacher App and Dinner Money

Audience: Primary / Nursery / Special Schools

The latest release of the iOS SIMS Teacher App allows Dinner Money registers to be completed using Teacher App.
This iOS app update (version should be available as an update from the App Store as of Monday 5 December 2016.
The app will update automatically only for those users who have enabled this function on their iPads.
Users can update the app manually on their device via the App Store > SIMS Teacher to ensure they have the latest version.
A patch will also need to be applied to the school’s SIMS database. 
Please contact The ICT Service Helpline on 0300 300 0000 or by email to if you use TeacherApp and Dinner Money and would like the patch to be applied.

The School Spring Census - Thursday 19 January 2017

Audience: All Schools

The School Spring Census next year is on Thursday 19 January 2017. 
Workshops are available in January 2017 for those new to creating and submitting a School Census, or for anyone who feels they would like a refresher.
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 Knowledge Hub. 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
Important Note: Fileset 501 is now available and should be imported to enable schools to run the Summary and Detail Reports – notes available here. However, we are aware of major issues with this fileset as it is producing several false error codes – please do not spend time trying to resolve these until the DfE has produced further guidance and, hopefully, an updated fileset. We will advise schools further as soon as we receive updates from the DfE.  
Data items to be aware of:
  • Country of Birth & Pupil Nationality
  • Child Care Provision
  • EYPPE (Early Years Pupil Premium Eligibility)
  • UPRN (Unique Property Reference Number)
  • First Language & Ethnicity (now required for Nursery Schools)
  • Proficiency in English – Please note: It is expected that all relevant pupils should have been assessed by the time of the 2017 Spring Census; therefore, the use of the ‘Not yet assessed’ code should be limited to pupils who have joined the school close to Census Day or are not currently in regular attendance from January 2017 onwards.
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 workshops or getting in touch with The ICT Service Helpline in plenty of time to ensure you can complete this Census with minimal difficulty.  Call 0300 300 0000 or email

Central Hosting Downtime - Saturday 14 January 2017

Audience: All Schools

On Saturday 14 January 2017 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 14 January 2017:
  • 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: All Schools

  • All schools import the latest report definitions (7.172)
  • Schools complete Proficiency in English, Pupil Nationality and Country of Birth in SIMS
Our most recently uploaded documents can be found on the new Learn Together Hub

Key Dates and Training Coming Up Soon

Audience: All 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
Mon 9 January 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm 
Tues 10 January 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm 
Thurs 12 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm 
Session 1: Weds 11 January 2017,
9.30am - 12.00pm
Session 2: Weds 25 January 2017,
9.30am - 12.00pm
Session 1: 22 February 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Session 2: 8 March 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Mon 16 January 2017, 10.00am - 12.30pm
Mon 23 January 2017, 9.30am -12.00pm
Weds 25 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Tues 31 January 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Thurs 2 February 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Tues 7 February 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Tues 7 February 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Weds 8 February 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Finance Courses
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
Weds 18 January 2017,  9.30am - 12.00pm
Weds 18 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Thurs 19 January 2017, 9.15am - 12.45pm
Weds 25 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Thurs 26 January 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Weds 8 February 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm
Tues 21 February 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Thurs 9 March 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Tues 21 March 2017, 1.30 - 4.00pm
Tues 21 February 2017, 9.30am - 12.00pm


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