+ Post New Thread
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 50
MIS Systems Thread, Serco's Facility in Technical; One of the main reasons I decided to leave my old school, was because I was fed up to the ...
  1. #16
    StewartKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    1,587
    Thank Post
    2
    Thanked 27 Times in 21 Posts
    Rep Power
    31

    re: Serco's Facility

    One of the main reasons I decided to leave my old school, was because I was fed up to the back teeth with CMIS. We had loads of problems, and the teacher who organised the "reports" left, and I was landed with doing everything! I hated going into work each day.

    When we went on some trainng courses, we had a good idea how to use CMIS, but even the "advanced" courses were full of noobs, and by the time they were up to speed, the course was over. They were too keen to get people onto training, without establishing their level of expertise, as they wanted the money. In the end the courses were a waste of time and money, as you never got past the basics. Then there we're the "updates" that required you to re-install every couple of months or so.... I could go on!

    My "replacement" is off on long term sick, I guess he'd had enough of CMIS too.

    That was a couple of years ago mind you, so things might have changed now, but whenever my new head says "CMIS", I just say NO

    I think it's too expensive as well. So long as you're good at php and SQL, you MIGHT be able to find / use the data!

  2. #17
    CheeseDog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Midlands
    Posts
    217
    Thank Post
    5
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Rep Power
    18

    re: Serco's Facility

    We're in fourth year of using it now and the updates situations seems to have calmed down. Allthough it doesn't really take long to update.

    I can sort of agree with the courses a lot of ours were delivered at cluster schools with all the admin staff. Most (not all) admin complained it was too quick I personally thought it was too slow and I'd just be better off with the manual.

    As for work falling on to Tech Support staff. CMIS seems to assume everyone is an above average computer user.

    I have to admit most of the time I knock up the reports as it's far easier than trying to talk someone through it everytime. Don't have to do it too often but during the initial setup I think a colleague of mine was in a similar situation to you at a primary we supported.

    I've only got experience with CMIS so I can't really make comparisons to SIMS. A lot of staff seem to think CMIS is better but then again they're comparing it to SIMS 4 years ago now.

  3. #18

    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    2,261
    Thank Post
    55
    Thanked 283 Times in 189 Posts
    Rep Power
    135

    re: Serco's Facility

    We use CMIS - and really the upgrades are a breeze compared with the SIMS ones that I used to have to do - dunno if its better with .net - but visiting all the client PCs and keeping a track of the individual machine numbers - sheesh!

    However - strongly agree with the comments on random data fields - trying to set up security was a 'mare as no one seems to really know what each of the little tick boxes actually means - and the are a load with no title at all - appalling - reduced to changing a field and then trying to work out its effect.

    The basic install is just a starting point - not the finished product - if you really want to utilise the product to the full - you really need to sit down and plan it all out - not a long suit in many schools I think.

    ePortal is OK-ish - but does seem to have stability problems - especially when under load (during reporting times) when several crashes a day have been experienced.

  4. #19
    limbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    460
    Thank Post
    2
    Thanked 41 Times in 36 Posts
    Rep Power
    25

    re: Serco's Facility

    Just thought I would share this with you all - e-portal threw up a great error message a few weeks back when looking for all attendance within between two dates:-

    "error: your start date is earlier than your end date"

    A quick restart of the services seemed to resolve the confusion - perhaps it had slipped into a parallel reverse univers for a second, we shall never know!

  5. #20

    bossman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    3,967
    Thank Post
    1,212
    Thanked 1,075 Times in 766 Posts
    Rep Power
    332

    re: Serco's Facility

    I have just updated to the last version of Sims.net which i inherited from the LEA and after 5 years of hell, torment and fallouts it is now working very well and quickly with everything in place except FMS which i believe will be fully integrated after Christmas. We run lesson monitor every lesson and have an attendance officer who with a few clicks of the mouse can check truancy live.
    I have just announced that the teaching staff will be using lesson register instead of lesson monitor because it runs directly from the SQL database and therefore does not need to syncronise between local station database and SQL database. Anyway i think for now we will be staying put with Sims.net as it works a treat for us and seems to be getting better all the time. soory to be in favour of Sims.net but it is as you say input process output (shit in shit out) and it is a legal requirement to keep the data up to date. If you keep on top of admin and reinforce from time to time you will find I think that any management system will suffice as long as the data input is good and of a reliable source.

  6. #21

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bettws, Wet Wales
    Posts
    4
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    re: Serco's Facility

    Sorry to jump in here. Some background: I teach physics but with a strong IT background.

    We have jumped from SIMS to Serco at the start of this year, and to say it's a mess is a polite way of called s@@t poo-poo. However I need some help / advice.

    I imagine that Serco is sold as a blank canvas and that our IT set up what we desire (with the help of Serco). So either it's gone very wrong for us or we have not paid the neccessary consultancy fees.

    At present, from a teachers perspective the system is next to useless for managing behaviour / event, for example:

    1) If we set C2 events, we can not go back and ammend if the student came to detention or not, ditto C3 and C4 -- surely this can not be the case??

    2) There is no way that I as a class teacher can get a list of the events I have created, other than for ny form group -- again surely not the case??

    3) I can not see the attendance of my form other than in the Main window -- I can not see if they have been missing a certain period every day / week

    I assume that these can be configured, but now nearly 2 months in and we still dont have them resolved.

    Questions:

    a) Are these things configurable?
    b) If so, would someone be willing to contact me off list and speak to our IT staff before someone goes Postal?

    Sorry to go off on one, but this is soooo infurating.

    Cheers

    Glen Gilchrist

  7. #22
    tosca925's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Midlands
    Posts
    1,547
    Thank Post
    4
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
    Rep Power
    22

    re: Serco's Facility

    Right,

    I cant help much with 1 or 2 as we are not going to be using this feature until after Xmas. As for 3, well our staff can look at their forms attendance fro up to a month period. They tend to prefer looking at 2 week;y periods though as pulling a month data off can be very slow through the browser.

    I would imagine all these things are configurable as we have set up things which are just for our school.

    Have any of yu IT staff/admin staff been on any of the courses at the Derby HQ? We send a lot of our staff to these who deal with the relevant areas of school admin.

    You can also download the user manuals from the Serco website. You just need to create a log on details and they send you a password (IIRC)

    We printed the manuals out and had a few days going through a test set up before we went live. We find it quite easy to use but you do need to spend a awful lot of time siting in front of it to get used to it.

  8. #23

    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    West Midlands
    Posts
    314
    Thank Post
    29
    Thanked 19 Times in 18 Posts
    Rep Power
    21

    re: Serco's Facility

    We've used SIMS.net and its great... yes we do have the odd hiccup now and again but it works well. Sometimes it can be slow over the wireless network but on the whole it’s ok.


    We have just moved from Bromcom to Lesson Monitor for Lesson by Lesson eRegistration - and that seems to work ok generally although the Reports some of the reports that can be produced are not as good as they should. We will be moving the .net version of Lesson Register as this seems far better with the addition of comments and behaviour tracking etc.


    We've been using Assessment Manager 6 with a separate system for Annual Reports for a few years now and that is very good, but we got the clerical assistant to enter the assessment data - however now that teachers have their own laptops we've moved to the staff actually doing it themselves. We used a SIMS.net partner reporting package to do annual reports for years but suddenly SLT wanted to use Profiles 6 to restrict staff in writing individual comments as the "Reporting Checking" process was taking too long for the AHT in charge and many mistakes were in the staff reports. Profiles 6 is bit rubbish but the new Profiles 7 is far better.

    Hope this helps.

  9. #24

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Bettws, Wet Wales
    Posts
    4
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Rep Power
    0

    re: Serco's Facility

    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by tosca925
    I would imagine all these things are configurable as we have set up things which are just for our school.

    Have any of yu IT staff/admin staff been on any of the courses at the Derby HQ? We send a lot of our staff to these who deal with the relevant areas of school admin.
    err I assume so to, but to here SMT talk, you would imagine we are asking for the crown jewels.

    Derby - No, mentioned it and got the daggers this afternoon.

    Apparently the issue is user rights. Either full admin or teacher. On full admin, well we can do anything we like, on teacher we can just ADD stuff with no fascility to DELETE events.

    Seems bizaare are we can not be the only school that this applies to?
    Today it was suggested that we keep a paper record of things until they iron out the teething problems. ROFL.... using paper to back up IT.

    Later
    Glen

  10. #25
    tosca925's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Midlands
    Posts
    1,547
    Thank Post
    4
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
    Rep Power
    22

    re: Serco's Facility

    You can tweak the user rights for any one. We have a standard teacher, admin, exams staff user as well as a full admin user. What ever user it is its easy to tweak their rights and access to what ever you want.

    The courses are invaluable( so i am told, I've never been on one) but the manuals are very easy to follow. I also find that rather than kill myself working it out, a quick call to them and it soon sorts us out. I have found their tech support to be very good.

  11. #26

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    425
    Thank Post
    7
    Thanked 32 Times in 27 Posts
    Rep Power
    21

    re: Serco's Facility

    We've had a whole host of problems with Facility over the 3 years we've had it, but no more so than the SIMS mess we moved from.

    Thier implementation was shocking, but Facility has settled down for us of late. We've just upgraded (earlier today) to the latest and greatest version, and its certianly different. Thier support is not too bad, although when we had SIMS (as a former GM School) we dealt direct with CAPITA, rather than the LEA support unit - but Serco's support generally seems better than CAPITA's did.

    I expect as we've just upgraded, we'll now exprience a whole host of new and more frustating problems.

    Kyle

  12. #27
    CheeseDog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Midlands
    Posts
    217
    Thank Post
    5
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Rep Power
    18

    re: Serco's Facility

    You willl indeed. (started a thread here)

    Other than early on when CMIS was new the implementation could've been better but most of the time the upgrades go smoothly.

    However, this new implementation is really bad (2.8 b34) I can't actually believe how bad it is.

    To put it in a nutshell most of your existing reports now won't work. Including some of facilities own system reports.

    Non of the finance reports report the correct data.

    Luckily it seems like it's just the reports that are shafted as the data appears to be fine.

    I've heard today Birmingham LEA have refused to install it.

    2 High Schools within our LEA are running school census from a different database at the moment so they can still use the other system.

  13. #28
    limbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    460
    Thank Post
    2
    Thanked 41 Times in 36 Posts
    Rep Power
    25

    re: Serco's Facility

    Birmingham LEA finally issued a release for us yesterday so we could do the upgrade in time to do the SLASC return - but it did come with a document of "known issues"

    This is the first time Birmingham LEA have issued a release they know to be not quite right and I think it is purely because they have run out of time.

    We still have data to enter for our students to be able to do the return on Thursday and without the upgrade (which I am just running now!) the fields are not there to fill in.

    One of the issues is that it drops the history of cdb files out of the file menu so staff have to search for it themselves the first time they go in after the upgrade - I have a feeling this is going to be a busy morning!

  14. #29

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    807
    Thank Post
    29
    Thanked 36 Times in 24 Posts
    Rep Power
    26

    re: Serco's Facility

    Quote Originally Posted by limbo
    One of the issues is that it drops the history of cdb files out of the file menu so staff have to search for it themselves the first time they go in after the upgrade - I have a feeling this is going to be a busy morning!
    I'd say you're in the same boat as me.... busy few days! We installed yesterday afternoon, had a few calls instantly from people asking how to get in? Answer, click "file --> open --> then select admin1.cdb". Grrrr, do i have to do everybodies thinking.....

    Another issue we have found instantly is ePortal. This has had a major face-lift, and not a good one, you may need to log in as an admin user to be able to set while stylesheet it uses. Also something in the code causes some builds of IE to crash during log-on. Not good when you have e-registration and assessment.

    Not tested the reports yet but if CheeseDog is correct Link2ICT (birmingham LA's IT bods) are going to have a busy few weeks.

  15. #30

    CHR1S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Birmingham
    Posts
    4,532
    Thank Post
    1,622
    Thanked 500 Times in 307 Posts
    Rep Power
    220

    re: Serco's Facility

    The problem with CMIS/ePortal is the development! Look at the last update, rush job to enable us to do the census. Before the update we were into weeks of uptime, now we are lucky to keep it up for 30 mins!



SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Serco Facility
    By wellscs in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 8th June 2010, 10:03 AM
  2. serco facility
    By garrysaddington in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 8th June 2009, 11:22 AM
  3. Serco Facility Experiences!?
    By Nick_Young in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 6th March 2009, 04:10 PM
  4. Fronter and Serco Facility
    By cheredenine in forum Virtual Learning Platforms
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10th November 2008, 09:24 AM
  5. Serco CMIS Facility
    By bursar in forum MIS Systems
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 22nd May 2007, 05:36 PM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •