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Modern technology means that you are no longer tied to the office when it comes to doing your work. That is assuming your work involves sitting at a computer, writing documents, updating databases, sending e-mails and the like. If you're a lion tamer then, well, maybe not so much use. But let’s assume you fall into the former category, and you'd like to know what you can do at your school to be able to work remotely; from home, from the beach, the train or anywhere.
Following on from a Microsoft Update the date selector feature in SIMS has not been working correctly and bringing up a SIMS fault when users try to enter a date using the date selector. We have been advising schools to enter the date manually in SIMS as a temporary fix but we now have a patch which has been made available by Capita. Please use the instructions below to download and run the patch at your school:
- Click on the following zipped folder and choose "Save as". Save the folder to a shared SIMS area (we suggest: J:\SIMSdata\Inbox): SIMS 2015 Spring Date Selector Fix
- Once the file has downloaded, locate the zipped folder in J:\SIMSdata\Inbox. Right click on the zipped folder and choose "Extract all". If you have winzip installed then you may need to choose Winzip then "Extract here".
- When the file has been extracted from the zipped folder, please make sure you are logged out of SIMS then double click on the file to start up the wizard. Continue to click on "Next" until the installation starts to run, then click on "Finish". Other users can stay logged into SIMS as this is a workstation fix and therefore will need to be run on each SIMS workstation.
- You might now be asked to restart your machine. Click to restart if this window has popped up. Once your machine has booted back up please login to SIMS and test the date selector. A quick way to test would be to open edit marks and try changing the date using the date picker (Focus - Attendance - Edit marks).
- Please note that this is not a crucial update and you can continue you enter the date in SIMS manually if you wish.
We have been made aware of a fault code which is appearing in various areas of the SIMS MIS system since Microsoft released an automatic update which may have been implemented on school’s servers overnight.
The error manifests as a number (1829-4733-7100) specifically when users who are entering data select any drop down date box in SIMS and will close down your SIMS software without notice.
Capita are aware of the issue and are working on a resolution as a matter of urgency.
In the meantime, schools are being asked to enter any dates manually and not use the drop down boxes.
Following is a comparison of various alternatives to ParentPay for on-line payment and communication (texting and email) systems out there, namely SIMS In Touch and Agora, and SchoolComms. The links below give basic details and costs about these different solutions to on-line payments and texting/emailing for parents which aim to make school life and parental life as straightforward as possible. We have also included the SIMS Dinner Money system for completeness.
The information given is just functionality, costs, support and contact details. It’s as accurate as possible but comparisons have been difficult to make as some products charge by numbers of pupils in school and some don’t. Confirmation of prices will therefore be needed, plus there are discounts to be had if enough schools sign up. A bit of a minefield I’m sure you’ll agree!
If you are interested in going forward with any of these products we would be grateful if you could get back in touch with us in the first instance, so that we can then liaise properly with the product account managers to negotiate any possible discounts. However, you are obviously perfectly free to contact the companies direct to ask any questions, confirm any misunderstandings, etc.
Links relating to different school sizes are available to open at the bottom of this article.
Please also be aware of the guidance from Internal Audit:
Although ParentPay is the County Council's preferred provider, there are other providers on the market which schools may be interested in using.
Schools that are considering implementing other systems are reminded that any procurement exercise must be carried out in accordance with the LMS Procedure Rules. Paragraph 4.9 of the LMS Financial Procedure Rules states that schools may operate an online income collection system but must only use a supplier whose system has been approved by the CD-SR. Such schools are strongly advised to contact Veritau Ltd for advice regarding their preferred system.
Guidance on the issues to consider when implementing an online income management system other than ParentPay can be found here:
Is your website secure?
This week has seen another school website "hacked" (taken offline and replaced with religious/ political propaganda) at this moment in time we do not know how this has happened as Schools ICT do not manage this specific web site. Normally this type of attack happens when old versions of software are used, or there is a lack of security and software maintenance, where servers are not kept up to date and web design software is not updated and maintained.
Your School website is your portal to the internet community and it is vital that you or your supplier maintain the software with security and update packages.
If you require support or guidance with the following don't hesitate to contact Schools ICT Cirrus Web Team on 01609 536086 option 1
What you need to do :
The Department for Education has issued advice for schools on cloud software services and the Data Protection Act.
The advice “outlines how schools need to consider data security when moving services and sensitive information to the internet-based facilities of cloud computing”, the DfE said.
---- PROGRESS UPDATE 12/11/2014 11:55 ----
NYnet are still experiencing issue’s with some of the Bonded aDSL attached sites.
NYnet have stabilised this to some 15 schools and 1 Yorkshire dales park site (out of a total of 54 Bonded aDSL sites on the network).
NYnet are working to bring these sites back online, this is taking longer than expected as they are trying not to affect the current connected and working sites.
We will keep this feed as up to date as possible until resolution.
12th November 2014
We are seeing an issue with NYnet Bonded aDSL connected sites.
At the moment we believe that this issue is related to a central server in the data centre at NYnet and we are working on this.
As soon as we have any more information we will update you.
We apologise for the inconvenience that this will cause.
Schools ICT Help Desk