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MIS Systems Thread, SIMS Learning Gateway in Technical; SMT are looking into getting SIMS learning gateway. We need to compare having the hosted service or hosting it on ...
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    SIMS Learning Gateway

    SMT are looking into getting SIMS learning gateway.

    We need to compare having the hosted service or hosting it on our own servers.

    Our current SIMS server is virtual running on VMware and we don't have sharepoint on any of our existing servers.

    Have any of you setup either type and how much did it cost?

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    BKGarry's Avatar
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    We have bromcom's MyChildAtSchool for parents access and for teachers we purchased Teachers WebFolder (both of which can be brought separately)

    I found MCAS to be a much more polished off product and cheaper, the TWF was just an extra thing we brought later on so that teachers did not have to use VPN to access SIMS at home. As you are in kent as well @WGSGClive we know it will work without an issue (you just get a public IP for the server that is going to run the bromcom link from the School's Broadband team)

    I am in North West Kent, so if you want to come and have a look with me, drop me a PM and I can show you, I also have a powerpoint somewhere (from about 2/3 years ago) comparing the 2.

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    fiza's Avatar
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    Why SIMS Learning Gateway? There are other products out there too. We used SLG in my last place. Never liked it.

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    zag
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    SLG is rubbish due to its reliance on SharePoint. Its also hideously expensive. It will cost around £15,000 from what I remember.

    Go with TASC insight if you want a parent gateway, its about £1,000 a year.
    Last edited by zag; 21st January 2014 at 01:00 PM.

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    All my schools turned down SLG as it was clunky.

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    We hosted SLG locally until recently. I'd mirror what others have already said - it's very clunky (sharepoint, yueck). Only ever used it so staff could enter assessment grades and comment banks from home, parents never, ever, saw it. We've just moved over to Go4Schools which has got very positive feedback from staff and we are happily planning on rolling out to parents.

    One thing to note on SLG is the dreaded termly SIMS upgrade. I don't think I managed to successfully update SLG even once without having to phone Capita to remote in and look at what went wrong. It's all command line based, removing old packages and adding new to sharepoint. Our setup had the additional complication of ADPS being on a seperate server which I think caused most of the phone calls to Capita to bail me out.

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    fiza's Avatar
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    +1 for TASC Insight

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    Quackers's Avatar
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    We dumped SLG and went Insight from TASC Software too. Insight is way better.

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    +1 for Insight as well!

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    Thanks for the info. SMT has been told we need a partnership gateway. It's because we operate a joint sixth form with the boys school down the road. I think the idea is to log onto one site which would work across the two schools, which have separate SIMS systems. They need access to the SIMS data and reports etc. I think it's been suggested that we need SIMS Learning Gateway to do this.

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    SLG and Partnership Xchange would do this for you, I wouldn't recommend hosting Partnership Xchange yourself though

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    Only go SLG if your LEA are forcing it on you. If you have any choice whatsoever in the matter then avoid it.

    SLG and PX were mandated by our LEA as like you we have a collegium between local schools for 6th form.

    PX is a beast - it must be hosted by your LEA. It is buggy and needs constant attention both from a technical side and a data side. Our SIMS data regularly gets overwritten/changed with unwanted pupils or changes, much to our Data Manager's disgust. Only run this if you ABSOLOUTLY have to.

    SLG works and is fairly reliable, but as said above it is really clunky, the horrific interface is straight from "the internet of the 90s" and it's totally unintuitive for the poor users. The majority of users here prefer to use SIMS in school and avoid SLG unless they absoloutly have to.

    One thing to note - if your LEA and mandating that you have this - they should be hosting it for you!

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    I do hope members take a look at SLG for themselves!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    I do hope members take a look at SLG for themselves!
    We did, trialled it for a year, ditched it and went with TASC Insight.

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    Another Insight vote for me. As mentioned before, we also didn't manage an upgrade without Capita logging in and giving lengthy help each time - process takes 30 seconds with Insight. In addition, the upgrades are frequent as they incorporate customer requests/fix bugs as they go along. I asked for a change to exam timetable content and within 90 mins an upgrade was released to incorporate my request.

    From a parents point of view - from the login process (SLG was always somewhat unstable) to the way the pages display, there is no comparison between the hard to navigate SLG and the extremely user friendly Insight.

    Want to display something? Toggle the item to Yes and it shows on the parent's page. Easily switch to the parent's view to check that their pages look as you wish them to.

    I would be perfectly happy to stick with an integrated Capita product if it did the job, but sadly I think they really missed a trick using Sharepoint and not building their own platform from scratch.

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