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MIS Systems Thread, Data Transfer (Was Changing from SIMS) in Technical; You will likely be very surprised then... projects are stopped at a moments notice often when a new government comes ...
  1. #16

    GREED's Avatar
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    You will likely be very surprised then... projects are stopped at a moments notice often when a new government comes in because it doesn't fall into their political agenda... shall we all play 'name that stopped project'?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GREED View Post
    You will likely be very surprised then... projects are stopped at a moments notice often when a new government comes in because it doesn't fall into their political agenda... shall we all play 'name that stopped project'?
    I'll play ... PFI and raise it with BSF

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    I'll see your BSF and ill raise your the National ID Card scheme

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    Political with a capital "p". 3..2..1…and ContactPoint is gone
    Thank you. From your link, the actual reasons given were "intrusiveness, cost and problems with ContactPoint".

    I'd hope it would be fair to say that whether you agree or disagree with that assessment, it is unlikely that there was no evidence on which those opinions were based. Only the first on the list is almost entirely Political as a value judgement and even then the politicians would have been looking closely at an actual metric, how many votes might that mean. The cost was significant enough that it was even on the radar of Senior politicians outside of DfE, and there were ... genuine problems both at a conceptual level [*1], at operational levels, and technically.

    [*1] Conceptually - I mean the whole idea of putting "widely sharing" into the same sentence as "extremely sensitive confidential" is only a good one if the sentence also contains some sense of "fail".

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    From the technical perspective of a supplier, the key difference between the DX project and the various school census it replaces is the requirement to feed data back into schools automatically from the DfE data warehouse; a data flow which does not exist outside of CTF, and then only for a limited data set encompassed by the CTF.

    A technican may argue that submitting changes from the school through to the DfE via a more immediate protocol than Termly/ad-hoc would just make the data held and analysed at the centre more timely with the same level of accuracy; but perhaps a realist would admit that the "operational gap" between the entering the data which contributes to the census, and the actual validation it and submission of it, reprepsents a good quality assurance process, which will be eliminated or reduced if the data were submitted immediately (or near real time). The DX protocol as I currently understand it does not envisage schools blocking or suspending the outward flow of data to the DfE, and the ambition is to get near-real-time data from the school eliminating all termly or scheduled data collections.

    The most problematic issue which arose when we designed the B2B protocol/product that led to us implementing some quite comprehensive suspense rules and protocols, was the issue of data owership. A good example might be

    1) If a child tells their school, via a letter from a parent, that they have moved house; the school enters the data, thereby updating the LA/Dfe (potentially).
    2) If the LA is informed the child has moved house through some other channel, and update the school database via a data synch product (B2B, DX etc); but the school staff are not positively informed (i.e. not in the update loop), then who is the data owner ? and who is the guarantor of data quality ?

    I'm sure there might be specific legal definitions in these cases, but as I understand it it is the school who registers themselves as the data controllers currently, so are responsible for the accuracy of the data they hold ?

    Our answer to this was to introduce in our product suspense capabilities allowing recipients of data to "hold" updates in suspense until they had eyeballed them and either rejected or accepted them. We believe that this same process will be potentially required within the school with the rollout of DX, and this will in fact increase the data administration tasks done by a school, depending on the volume of changes received through the DX channel. It may well be that these two facilities of DX (submission from school to Dfe and from DfE to school) are implemented in seperate phases, but at present I don't have any information to indicate that this will be so.

    To comment on another line of conversation in this thread and based on my understanding of the goals, scope and business case of the DX project; it will explicitly not address data transfer school->school or data transfers within a school. Its a school->Dfe->school data transfer protocol (that might happen to make CTF obsolete). This may have changed since my brief involvement in reviewing the technical approach, but I believe its unlikely.

    Phillip Hamlyn

  7. Thanks to PhillipHamlyn from:

    pcstru (11th May 2014)

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Philip

    This will replace CTF and school to school transfers as we know them today. It will 99.9% certainly go school dfe school as you suggest, but school transfer is very much on the medium term plans.

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    GREED,

    Understood, but the route will be School A ->Dfe-> School B ? So not direct school to school ? Correct me if I've got out of date info.

    Phillip

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    GREED's Avatar
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    Yes you are right Phillip that is the current thinking, via dfe (well, the data exchange, not the data warehouse). During discussions it was deemed unfeasible to have school endpoints, all 24000 of them, being aware of all other 24000 schools to allow direct communication.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhillipHamlyn View Post
    A technican may argue that submitting changes from the school through to the DfE via a more immediate protocol than Termly/ad-hoc would just make the data held and analysed at the centre more timely with the same level of accuracy; but perhaps a realist would admit that the "operational gap" between the entering the data which contributes to the census, and the actual validation it and submission of it, reprepsents a good quality assurance process, which will be eliminated or reduced if the data were submitted immediately (or near real time). The DX protocol as I currently understand it does not envisage schools blocking or suspending the outward flow of data to the DfE, and the ambition is to get near-real-time data from the school eliminating all termly or scheduled data collections.
    Extremely helpful detail. Thank you. So essentially a one way transfer?
    I'm sure there might be specific legal definitions in these cases, but as I understand it it is the school who registers themselves as the data controllers currently, so are responsible for the accuracy of the data they hold ?
    Interesting question. "Responsible for the accuracy" with respect to what? When we carry out an action or a third party acts on our behalf, using data we have supplied, then we are liable for our actions because we have a duty of care. If we supply data to the DfE and the DfE acts on on that data in some way independently of the school, does our duty of care apply? Do the DfE have a get out clause under DPA anyway? What if we accept information from the DfE - are we acting as suppliers for them, under their registration or under our own? Does it matter in terms of a school "upping it's game" - they presumably are already motivated to hold data of a quality in a way that appropriately manages the risk. Why then would DX change data quality?
    Our answer to this was to introduce in our product suspense capabilities allowing recipients of data to "hold" updates in suspense until they had eyeballed them and either rejected or accepted them. We believe that this same process will be potentially required within the school with the rollout of DX, and this will in fact increase the data administration tasks done by a school, depending on the volume of changes received through the DX channel. It may well be that these two facilities of DX (submission from school to Dfe and from DfE to school) are implemented in seperate phases, but at present I don't have any information to indicate that this will be so.
    So more work and not a one way process?

    To comment on another line of conversation in this thread and based on my understanding of the goals, scope and business case of the DX project; it will explicitly not address data transfer school->school or data transfers within a school. Its a school->Dfe->school data transfer protocol (that might happen to make CTF obsolete). This may have changed since my brief involvement in reviewing the technical approach, but I believe its unlikely.
    Many thanks for chipping in. I guess what I'm now clearly very unclear about is the detail on a) the two way stuff. What data will the DfE be sending back and b) what motivates a school to achieve and maintain a 'higher' data quality at times other than when "ASC snapshots" will be in play and what makes it possible, other than data quality to make those snapshots more frequent.

    (Sorry for making up "ASC snapshot" as term, hopefully you know what I mean - what exactly goes into the funding model).
    Last edited by pcstru; 11th May 2014 at 06:00 PM.

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    There Is Currently no in the project scope for 2 way transfer other than sending alerts and messages and such back. Obviously the system will be built with that in mind for the future.

  13. #27

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    With the obvious exception of a CTF transfer which will be a pull from the school and not a push from DX

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    GREED,

    The 2 way transfer was in scope at the supplier consultation event (suppliers were asked to provide outline cost estimates for two way transfers), and it was the recommendation of the technical focus group to seperate out the School -> Dfe and the Dfe -> School transfers, so I'm glad to hear this has in fact occured.

    Phillip

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    How? Will they be putting money into schools to pay for the set-up and maintenance?
    Integration with DX would be handled by your MIS supplier.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Will they pay for the staff time to investigate and correct problems when the system goes wrong?
    No. Its the same as if you were asking your MIS supplier to pay for your time to investigate issues with their system.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Will they pay a retainer to suppliers to build the software?
    Probably not, it will be mandated like census but hopefully cheaper to implement.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    We were asked to put in a feed for the LEA, they would suck data out of our system for their use. We refused on my recommendation. There was simply nothing in it for us except the work to make it work - it would cost us time and effort to set up and every time something went wrong. There was no disadvantage to the school in refusing so why would we?
    Sorry but this shows that you can't see the bigger picture. The LEA would need the data to fulfill their statutory role, as the automation hasn't been put in place more than likely the extraction of data is done manually and returned via other methods. This is probably costing the school more in time than what is required to setup and maintain it.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    IMO there is a misunderstanding somewhere. ASC for instance is more a data quality exercise than a data transfer exercise. A lot of effort goes in at the school end to make sure the data is a true reflection of the school because funding is predicated on the result. Similarly a lot of effort goes in by the DfE and software suppliers to specify and produce valid, accurate data. It's just about doable as a one off exercise every so often. Keeping that quality all the time - forget it.
    I may be reading this wrong but it sound like your internal policies allow for incorrect data to be entered with the assumption that it will be corrected before census. Drip feeding correct data over time will always be easier than trying to correct a backlog of issues in a very tight deadline.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Other than independently assessed 'examinations', do you think schools will rely on the quality of assessment data coming from another school?
    Yes schools do rely on assessments from previous schools, the best example of this is KS2 teacher assessments, a secondary school will use these as a basis to set new year 7 students as test results are not available.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    And why would attendance data from another school matter to them?
    Having historical attendance would allow the new school to identity any possible issues with future attendance and put policies in to support the student.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    There was a previous DfE site for exchanging CTF files - what happened to that (why didn't it really work and why are CTF files emailed around between schools instead). I doubt the answer is because the technology is not capable of doing the job.
    The School2School website not still about? Emailing CTF files is a big no no.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    There is very little appreciation that the main problem is procedural and the impact on schools to make it work would be huge. Even if there is appreciation of that, the people who can do something about it are not in the room or actually involved.
    The ISB have spend a lot of time documenting the workflows surrounding how data is use in schools. I believe they are available online @GREED might be able to dig out a link.

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Let's take the bad example - Imagine standardising practices to improve behaviour in schools. Imagine a government trying to impose a national system of behaviour management. I mean the advantages would be potentially huge - imagine all those data managers who would never have to touch the reporting systems because suppliers would supply the same report to everyone. And because the process and procedure would be exactly the same at every school, no one would actually need a different report. This seems to me little different from the nirvana promised by DX - huge potential future advantages being sold, little real thought as to the cost and effort that would be required to achieve it.
    The scenario here and the DX project would have the same outcome, reduced effort on the data manager's part but you have been bias in you view of DX by assuming there is zero cost to a school in adopting a new behaviour recording policy (staff training etc).

  16. 2 Thanks to penfold_99:

    GREED (12th May 2014), vikpaw (12th May 2014)

  17. #30

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    @penfold_99 I agree with all most everything. Data validation is a problem though. I think we over validate on input and need to allow more null entries so that schools can get pupils into the system immediately. The problem with a drip feed to DfE is that the null entry approach may result in that data never being collected.

    As an aside I thought this NHS project is something to learn from

    NHS to scrap £356m outpatient booking system



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