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MIS Systems Thread, What would you recommend for creating staff/student timetables? in Technical; Hi All We use SIMS Independent for primary schools, but don't have the timetabling module. I was wondering if anyone ...
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    Tara's Avatar
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    What would you recommend for creating staff/student timetables?

    Hi All

    We use SIMS Independent for primary schools, but don't have the timetabling module. I was wondering if anyone would recommend using it, or could recommend an alternative? My brief is:

    - each day is divided into timed slots, up to 16 in a single day, on a 1 week rollover. We need to vary the slot structure, depending on the year group.
    - each subject can be taught to a year, a class, or a defined class set
    - each student in a class, or defined class set, is allocated set number of taught hours per week, across all subjects
    - each student in a class, or defined class set, is allocated set number of taught hours per week, per single subject
    - each student has the same teacher for all periods of a single subject
    - define the set subjects a teacher can teach (different per teacher)
    - define the set periods a teacher is available to teach (different per teacher)
    - define the set periods of non contact time (different per teacher)
    - define rooms, and allocate those rooms to a timeslot
    - setting of general preferences, eg. no maths for any class before lunch
    - ability to identify teacher free periods, to enable providing cover
    - the timetables will be remade every term

    Ideally we want something that will either sit on our SIMS, or take an extract, and then automatically timetable according to these predefined rules, with the ability to fine tune afterwards. The information doesn't have to feed back into SIMS, we just need it for printouts.

    Not asking for much I know! I would be very grateful for any feedback.

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    GNewnham's Avatar
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    Hiya

    We use Timetabler for designing the timetable. It does produce printouts for teachers. We have a fairly complicated set up with many part time teachers and lots of different blocks which need to be scheduled so that they do not clash for a student and have found it to be very flexible.

    We then export the info into a format which we import into our MIS (iSAMS)

    Hope this helps.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tara View Post
    I was wondering if anyone would recommend using it, or could recommend an alternative?
    We use Tiger Timetabling. We use that in conjunction with School Manager, but it's a stand-alone program and should work equally well with SIMS. I'm not sure if it imports data from SIMS or how it compares for pricing.

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Using Nova the SIMS package has it's advantages as it seamlessly sends the data over to SIMS and it just works.

    However, if you need to alter the structure by year, you're going to find that SIMS probably won't like that. You can only have 1 cycle defined, which would be your 16 slots by 5 days. Actually, you can now split up the school into different cycles but sharing resources is a pain, and it's a paid for extra to do that, plus i think will become hard to manage as you have to have a separate file for each different group.

    The easiest thing to do would be to use 16 as your base, and do doubles, triples, quads to fit in the others. This is workable.
    If you need the most flexibility, then perhaps another program like Timetabler or Tiger might be better. Our primary school is so complex they do it in Excel - though part of that is preference of Excel over SIMS rather than any true functional requirement.

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    Keith-Johnson's Avatar
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    Our primary school is so complex they do it in Excel
    Actually, using Excel to do a timetable is really hard ...because of its inability to show you multiple 'musical-chairs' moves to find a solution.

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