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MIS Systems Thread, Changing from SIMS in Technical; We all have to remember that doing census will be disappearing in 3 years anyway when the DfE Data Exchange ...
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    GREED's Avatar
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    We all have to remember that doing census will be disappearing in 3 years anyway when the DfE Data Exchange comes online and is sucking our data directly and more regularly...

    [Awaits screams from 27000 head teachers]

    Census is not really that hard, the validations are a bit of a bugger, the issue is communication of change of requirements from DfE has been know to be only 24 hours in advance of census day (giving suppliers no chance to make changes!).

    To answer the other point, there is only 1 schools census 3 times a year. Depending on the phase and type of school you have to return different information, but the structure is the same.

    There are about 6 different types of standard return for schools (excluding financial ones) and about 30 overall across the sector, a lot at LA level.

    PS: I know this because I directed the construction and structure of the census' for Aspen... although take no responsibility for it's rollout!

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    CAM
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    @kinster - nope. No ScholarPack, thing, school only bigger...



    Funny enough I said that on Twitter, what if Google\someone wrapped a MIS around it.
    @pcstru - don't think census would be too much of a problem if you had someone dedi too it, it's pretty well documented, it's things like OfSted that are pretty difficult - personally.
    There is no way in hell I am trusting sensitive data about pupils, staff and parents to an advertising company famed for extracting as much data from it's users as it can before suddenly shutting the project down with little warning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kinster View Post
    Maybe not call it opensource, but a community based project? We have the users and testers on here. We just need the developers right?
    Yet still, it needs some staff now, and a lot of support staff in the future... where does the money come from for that? Without a backer?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    There is no way in hell I am trusting sensitive data about pupils, staff and parents to an advertising company famed for extracting as much data from it's users as it can before suddenly shutting the project down with little warning.
    Well said

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    The required output is reasonably well documented -76 pages of technical specification for 2015 - although I'm not sure that covers Welsh flavours, (it definitely doesn't cover Scotland!). How you then get that from a particular system is down to the system and not documented at all. The DEF do provide validation tools but how helpful that is will depend on your software. Perhaps as big a problem assuming someone can dedicate a few man years of development time to actually produce such a thing would be support - when it breaks on the day, who are schools even going to call?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    Yet still, it needs some staff now, and a lot of support staff in the future... where does the money come from for that? Without a backer?

    - - - Updated - - -



    Well said
    Agreed, the only issue is support.

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    CAM
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    Regarding returns we have multiple flavours:

    - Two vanilla bog standard returns over Spring and Summer.
    - Post-16 hell in Autumn (this one is nasty and comes whilst the end of year transition hasn't settled down).
    - CES Census for faith schools.
    - Schools Workforce Census.
    - Whatever Wales, NI and Scotland do because I have no experience of those LAs. The Welsh one probably needs the MIS available in Welsh though.

    Bear in mind major changes get announced but the suppliers don't get the information until too late with changes often missed, making the DfE scramble to fix it in another census or a back-dated one.

    Also consider it isn't just the DfE you have to worry about. Anyone in on Exams Download Day knows the horror of exam boards sending rubbish and malformed files EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. I have never seen a year where an exam board hasn't screwed up.

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    Interesting point @CAM, maybe we should be fixing the exam boards first? - PS: More money in exams then MIS systems.

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    CAM
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    If last year was anything to go by, they could use a bit of Azure or Amazon Cloud as their servers fell over due to heavy traffic until after midday.

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    Eh? I thought exam officers all logged on at 1min past midnight!

    Yes, cloud was designed for this sort of thing. I'm sure someone like Rackspace would absolutely LOVE them to come a customer, would be a perfect case study.

  10. Thanks to matt40k from:

    JohnCondon (9th May 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by matt40k View Post
    Interesting point @CAM, maybe we should be fixing the exam boards first? - PS: More money in exams then MIS systems.
    This is all changing with the A2C project starting September and full adoption to a more automated and integrated system by December 2016...

    [Awaits more screams from schools and suppliers alike]

  12. Thanks to GREED from:

    JohnCondon (9th May 2014)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    [Awaits more screams from schools and suppliers alike]
    What about cynicism. How many such things have not come to pass.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    What about cynicism. How many such things have not come to pass.
    Of everything, this will happen for sure, it is almost too late not to now. Whether it works or not is a different matter. But suppliers are making changes to their systems to accommodate this. It is the colleges that have their own home grown MIS that I feel sorry for and so been doing some work with them to help them through it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    This is all changing with the A2C project starting September and full adoption to a more automated and integrated system by December 2016...

    [Awaits more screams from schools and suppliers alike]
    Missed you at the last A2C meet Graham
    Was quite an eye opener when one of the AO's was revealed to be under the impression that schools update their Learner record information more than 3 times a year (ie. at census time)
    Which brings its own lovely brand of hell as your MIS dutifully transmits the exams data which is subsequently disregarded by the AO because the students name isn't the same...
    and THAT is why we have a 12 month staggered roll out of the A2C interface processes.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    Regarding returns we have multiple flavours:
    - Post-16 hell in Autumn (this one is nasty and comes whilst the end of year transition hasn't settled down).
    Plus this year we have the wonders of Planned Learning Hours and Planned Enrichment, Employability and Pastoral hours added into the mix.. For this year AND the previous year no less!!!

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnCondon View Post
    Missed you at the last A2C meet Graham
    Was quite an eye opener when one of the AO's was revealed to be under the impression that schools update their Learner record information more than 3 times a year (ie. at census time)
    Which brings its own lovely brand of hell as your MIS dutifully transmits the exams data which is subsequently disregarded by the AO because the students name isn't the same...
    and THAT is why we have a 12 month staggered roll out of the A2C interface processes.

    John
    I only attend one in two now John. I will be at next month's one I think.

    Yes, eye opening is an understatement! Particularly how expectation by the designers and the reality from the exams officers and software suppliers is so vastly different. The design has solely the AOs in mind... Once again not the customers (schools).

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