Census Error 9999
Unfortunately, there is a mistake in the DfE coding of validation rule 9999 when applied to Admissions Appeals that means the validation error will be incorrectly triggered for all Primary and Middle deemed Primary Schools with a Governance of Voluntary Added, Foundation or Academy. Governance Type can be confirmed through Focus | School | School Details.
The DfE will not be issuing a new fileset - schools should submit with the error which will be disappear on upload to COLLECT.
Census FILESET 502
As ever, should you have any queries with any of the above, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll be in touch.
Team Viewer Statement
The use of an “Always On" remote software solution is completely necessary to meet some of our commitments to schools (Remote Upgrades, Out-Of-Hours Patching etc.) and we make use of an industry standard solution (TeamViewer) to achieve this.
You may be aware that there are reports on the internet that the TeamViewer software we use to support your use of the SIMS system has been ‘hacked’ - http://arstechnica.com/security/2016/06/teamviewer-says-theres-no-evidence-of-2fa-bypass-in-mass-account-hack/
We are satisfied that TeamViewer itself (the protocol and software) has NOT been compromised at all, but that there may be risks where TeamViewer credentials are the same as those used on other sites which have been (LinkedIn etc), and that is the root of the reported problem. Use of the same credentials across solutions is itself bad practice but given the reasonable concerns raised by the news item we would like to confirm that we at OSMIS Education are taking the matter very seriously.
Whilst we have no reason at all to suspect that our accounts are at risk of being compromised, we have taken a roots and branches review of our use of TeamViewer and are changing our use of the systems to make them EVEN MORE secure.
In the light of this review we will make the following changes:
1. We have changed our Team Viewer credentials
2. We have prevented the use of default passwords when generating an ‘on the fly’ remote support session and have changed the remote support tool on the OSMIS web site to reflect this
3. We have enabled two factor authentication on our accounts
4. We will connect to all schools currently using the “Unattended Host Client” software and will make the following changes:
a. change the Team Viewer connection password
b. configure the Team Viewer application to accept connections only from verified OSMIS Education accounts
c. Restrict access to the Team Viewer options screen so as to prevent any unauthorised change to these configurations
Whilst we recognise and share the anxiety the news item will cause, we trust that you are reassured that we are taking appropriate steps to ensure that your systems remain secure.
Should you have any concerns over matters raised by this mail, please log a call to firstname.lastname@example.org
SIMS Product Roadmap 2016
GCSE 1-9 Grades
Patch 21799 is available from SOLUS and provides three new levels, so that schools can differentiate between GCSEs with grades of A* to G and GCSEs with grades of 9 to 1.
GCSNSGCSE 9-1 short course
GCSNFGCSE 9-1 full course
GCSNDGCSE 9-1 double course
Once these levels have been added they can be used by for the 2016/17 timetable. Once students have been added to timetable classes with these new levels, Update Course Membership will create corresponding courses and course memberships. This may be helpful for schools who have some students taking the new 9 to 1 GCSE and others retaking the old A* to G GCSEs.
Please note that error 2310 - SEN Provision is not a valid value is sometimes generated using fileset 302 and will be fixed by another fileset soon
The DfE has just published guidance on the new round of census returns (beginning with this autumn's return). New data items include country of birth, nationality and proficiency in english - more information here.
The Spring releases of SIMS, FMS and Discover are now available for installation
SIMS Spring Release - materials supporting the recent update seminars are available here.
EOKS Deadlines extended to 30th June (phew!)
SIMS SPRING 2016 RELEASE
The SIMS Spring release is scheduled to be made available by Capita on Friday 11th March.
Schools are encouraged to attend update seminars, at which information relating to the release and its application will be shared.
- Blackburn with Darwen schools - Tuesday 1st March am and pm sessions at Witton Park CLC
- Trafford schools - Thursday 3rd March morning only at Sale West Conference Centre
COLLECT ERROR 2950
On 28th January the DfE introduced a new data check to its COLLECT system which is not reflected in the fileset in SIMS and therefore not apparent until the file is uploaded to COLLECT.
The upshot is that schools yet to submit to COLLECT may get a 2590 error and that schools which have already submitted should now return to their census and check their submitted return for compliance with childcare requirements.
Spring Census 2016 Guidance now published
SIMS Autumn Release now available to all supported schools
Cloud software services and the Data Protection Act
Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Results 2014-15
SEN STAGES A AND P - GUIDANCE FROM THE DFE
The SEN support code 'K' is not a rebadging of School Action and School Action Plus, schools actually had until Spring 2015 to review all pupils of with School Action and School Action Plus, after which either the pupils were considered to no longer need SEN support, they still required SEN support (Code K) or they have moved to an Education Health Care plan.
This should not be a surprised to anyone as the new code code practice came in force in September 2014. It has also been pointed out in our guidance since autumn 2014 extract below):
'Schools should review their current cohort of pupils in the ‘SA’ or ‘SA+’ categories from September as they normally do (ie at least termly or as new pupils enter the school). Any new, newly identified or reviewed pupils must be recorded under the SEN support category, rather than as ‘SA’ or ‘SA+’
It is expected that the conversion from SA / SA+ to be completed by the January census for most pupils on the assumption that most schools conduct reviews of SEN pupils within a term. However it is recognised that this may not be the case for all schools and a transitional period to the end of the 2014 to 2015 school year is provided to allow all conversions to be completed.'
And we have also pointed this out in numerous communications emails over the last year.
For pupils issued with a statement prior to September 2014 have until April 2018 to review. However any pupil who is assessed/re-assessed from 1 September 2014 may only result in an EHC plan - no new statements can be issued.
Importing Pupil Premium Data
A data download relating to pupil premium allocations for the 2015-16 financial year is available on the Department for Education's (DfE's) Key to Success website. This was uploaded on July 8 2015.
Key to Success, DfE
How do I get the data?
Schools can log in and view this data using their Secure Access account username and password, which also grant access to the COLLECT and school-to-school (S2S) websites.
Please find here a powerpoint presentation describing how to import PP data for the financial year to SIMS. Please note that, as the financial year spans two academic years, records for both years will be updated in SIMS. Please also note that this data is for school use only and is not collected by census.
The DfE has confirmed that the rates for 2015/16 will be as follows.
• Primary Deprivation Premium: £1320 <= Up by £20
• Secondary Deprivation Premium: £935 <= Unchanged
• Service Premium: £300 <= Unchanged
• Adopted Premium: £1900 <= Unchanged
The DfE has indicated that this year's CSV files will be provided in the same format as last year's files and will not include any information on the new Early Years Pupil Premium (which is paid to LAs for this first year).
PA Reports and the use of the D (Dual Registration) Code
For clarification we can confirm that the SIMS persistent absentee report is calculated as follows:
1. The system calculates the number of possible sessions for the school as a whole over the date ranges listed on the report
2. The system then counts and reports the number of students where the total of Authorised and Unauthorised equals or exceeds the persistent absence threshold for the periods specified in the report.
As you will hopefully be aware, the D registration code for dual-registration has a DfE statistical meaning of ‘Attendance not Required’ and as a consequence these sessions are excluded from the report, which compares possible sessions with the total of authorised and unauthorised absences.
If your school reports are not producing accurate PA data in this way, can you please a log a call to email@example.com and they will investigate and report back.
Universal Free School Meals - Reception to Year 2 - a reminder
Please note that from September 2014 all Reception to Year 2 pupils will be eligible for Free School Meals. Universal Free School Meals for Reception to Year 2 pupils will be collected in a new panel the School Census and is not required to be maintained in the student record.
However, Panel 6. Dietary Eligible for Free School Meals in the student record should continue to be maintained to record free school meal entitlements for disadvantaged pupils.
Parents of disadvantaged pupils in Reception to Year 2 will likely need to be encouraged to apply for the Free School Meal entitlement so that the school can record this and receive the correct Pupil Premium funding in future years.