This time last year I was writing about the Indian summer meaning it didn’t feel like autumn yet – don’t think I can say the same for this year! As the autumn release approaches, I would like to share some of my personal highlights:
1. SIMS Options online
If you read our last newsletter, you will have already had a look at what SIMS Options, now online, can offer your school. Moving it online saves so much time and paperwork and we’ve had great feedback so far from schools using it. For more information, view our product page or watch our video. The autumn release will make it easier to get the new SIMS Options set up, as two of the patches that need to be applied are already included in the release.
2. General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
One of the most talked about topics of the moment - I’m sure your plans for GDPR are well underway. As part of our strategy, we are planning to release a number of reports for Person Definition Output or PDO, in case you get a Subject Access Request from a parent, member of staff or pupils. In the autumn release, providing you have the necessary permissions, we have included a Pupil PDO report that will output into a word document on all information held in SIMS. You will need to review this and retract any information for safeguarding or other reasons and add any other information you may hold in other systems or recorded elsewhere.
3. With Concern widget
For users with our partner product MyConcern, it is now possible, with the relevant permissions, to show the number of pupils with any concern and drill down to find who these are. This is also available in the reporting area.
4. SIMS Parent App notifications
The SIMS Parent App continues to be enhanced, the latest changes include notifications to parents. We already have notification about conduct, data collection, homework and we have now enhanced this to include free form notifications meaning you are able to a message to any group such as all parents of a particular house, a particular maths set or even to individual parents.
5. ISC / SLASC Census Update
As ever the Autumn release includes updates for your census returns in January. You will need to upgrade before generating the returns. Please look at the ISC / SLASC notification on My Account for the latest information.
6. Children Missing in Education
I’m sure you all know that when a pupil joins or leaves your school during term time you need to inform your local authority. The DfE has now finalised the Grounds of Removal, meaning you can now capture this information for your leavers meaning that from the autumn release you are able to report this information on your admissions register and export the joiner and leaver files to your local authority. Again, keep up to date with the latest information on the Children Missing in Education notification on My Account.
I hope these highlights have given you a flavour of what to look forward to with the upcoming autumn release. The full release note can be found on My Account.
We’ll be previewing many of the new features at our autumn user groups and hope you’ll be able to join us there – it’s a great opportunity to network with colleagues from other independent schools and to hear first-hand from the SIMS Independent team about our plans for the coming months.