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MIS Systems Thread, Anyone use GroupCall or similar? in Technical; Currently we use Sims.NET. It is supported by our local LEA based team, the Westfield Centre. Apparently they are going ...
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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Anyone use GroupCall or similar?

    Currently we use Sims.NET. It is supported by our local LEA based team, the Westfield Centre. Apparently they are going to come in in the holidays and install some additional software called 'GroupCall'. Apparently this software is supposed to call parents when their child is truant automatically.

    Now does anyone currently use (or have used) GroupCall, or similar software to do this? If so, what were your experiences?

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    Geoff,

    I had the pleasure of using Groupcall at my last job, for a secondary school in Scotland. Based on the software back then (~2 years ago) I can very highly recommend it. It was pretty simple to use and they gave us a half-day's training before it was introduced. There are different versions for each of the main MIS packages although that shouldn't really make a difference for you.

    If you do require support, however, I found that they are very good on that front too and have even had tech support from the Managing Director, who also did our initial training.

    If you take a look at their website you should find some more info about it (although I think the site is playing up at the moment...). The contact details I have are for Lawrence Royston who IIRC is the MD. if you want his details, drop me an e-mail at rob (at) mycourse (dot) co (dot) uk.

    I should say that, although I might sound like I work for them based on my raving above, I have no affiliation with them. I just thought that it was fantastic software and deserves to be promoted.

    Regards,

    Rob Cowan
    Mycourse Limited

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    Geoff (20th February 2008)

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    paul's Avatar
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    @ Geoff - is this all lancashire Schools or just you?

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    You'll need to make sure that your attendance recording is top notch though - or you'll have a lot of unhappy parents getting called!

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    Geoff (20th February 2008)

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    We dumped Groupcall & now use BulkSMS:

    http://www.bulksms.co.uk/

    [ If thats of any help ]

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul View Post
    @ Geoff - is this all lancashire Schools or just you?
    I do not know those sort of details. I'll ask.

    Quote Originally Posted by SpuffMonkey View Post
    You'll need to make sure that your attendance recording is top notch though - or you'll have a lot of unhappy parents getting called!
    I suspected as much.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattx View Post
    We dumped Groupcall & now use BulkSMS:

    http://www.bulksms.co.uk/

    [ If thats of any help ]
    What was the reason?

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    My wife (school sec) uses it at her school and one of my school does as well.
    These are primaries and it works fine for them.

    regards

    Simon

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    Geoff (20th February 2008)

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul View Post
    @ Geoff - is this all lancashire Schools or just you?
    Digging reveals the following:

    http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=sit...c.uk+groupcall

    i.e., it's an 'extra' you have to specifically ask and pay for. Presumably my school did this.

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    We use Bromcom e-contact which I understand you can get as a separate item if you dont want the whole package. We use it to send messages per period not just AM/PM and can also send messages saying that the student has returned the following period. We have also used its manual system which allows us to send any message to parents ie reminder about parents evening or school closed due to broken boiler etc.

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    Groupcall is used in Lincolnshire to report attendance back to county. It occasionally breaks because of SIMS patches (or them not paying attention to SIMS changes), but generally works.

    It does (or used to) send pupil attendance data in the clear though.

  14. Thanks to pete from:

    Geoff (20th February 2008)

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    It does (or used to) send pupil attendance data in the clear though.
    From where to where?

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    @Geoff
    Correction.

    County uses Groupcall exporter (not full package) to send pupil attendance data from MIS to County. The software dumps data > .csv and then ftp from $school to $lea ftp-server as GLEACODESCHOOLCODE.csv (logs don't point to any encryption/secure sockets stage). Looking at the IPs used, this is within the border firewall, but is still distinctly dodgy from a DP perspective given the data exported.

    Full package may be different.

    PM me if you want to have a look at (slightly sanitised) logs.

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    Geoff (20th February 2008)

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Why does it have to ftp data to the LEA?

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    The answer is apparently "because the LEA asked us to provide the data". And you know this, but there's no compelling reason they couldn't use secure sockets given the data involved.

    We do hold our own SIMS license and are supported directly by Capita.

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Ok, I'm just trying to understand how the system fits together? Is the transfer to the LEA related to the GroupCall truant calling functionality or is it separate? I was under the impression the whole system worked in school without any outside 'help' (From register to phone call).



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