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I have been asked to look into the various MIS thats available. I have talked to Hebron and was quite impressed. I have a meeting with Pearson today and SIMS tomorrow. We are a prep school with about 200 pupils. Anyone else I should look at. Are there any schools on this forum that are in Surrey or Hampshire that I can come and have a look.
Any advice would be great.
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I too am interested in thoughts on this! I'm about to take a new post and one of my first jobs is likely to be plan the upgrade to the MIS. They are still using Phoenix Gold.
I know Phoenix E1 is recommended by the LEA. My current school nearly went live with E1 3 times, we are now on Bromcom. My next school have said 'they are not comfortable with E1' but it remains an option. Bromcom look good from here, good support, good system, well designed. But may or may not be right for my next school (open minded).
One thing I'm particularly keen to hear thoughts on is MIS integrations with the VLE as I think this could impact the choice of MIS. I know my current school are going to use the county recommended 'Fronter' and Bromcom are currently writing hooks between the two. I know my next school is currently planning on using Fronter, but this might change.
Finally the next school works closely with their feeder schools, who will more than likely use E1. Would we encounter too many problems if we used something else?
We run SIMS here (with LA support), the thing is SIMS is great when you have support, but I imagine it would be a pain without a support contract. Our primaties use RM Integris, an apparently that's even worse...
The problem with Sims has always been the constant updates and the bugs that they introduce with them. The support is actually pretty good but its very very expensive to maintain when all we use it for is a simple database of students.
Bromcom is good, we use the electronic registration, emarkbook and ebehaviour aspects here. The "folders" (PDA units for registration) are pretty robust and solid, it can integrate with SIMS, but it isn't 100%.
I used to work in a school that used Pearson e1. Having just started a new Data Manager job in a new school that uses SIMS I can now compare the two and if it were up to me I would choose SIMS. Its just far better and far quicker to acheive simple tasks. With e1 we had to have lots of Access Databases for functions that e1 simply couldnt perform, we also had to keep running an old copy of Phoenix Gold just so that we could perform the staff absence and cover because the way it works in e1 is too labour intensive. In fact I would say that is the main problem with e1, its far too labour intensive in every way. You feel like you are going 'around the houses' so to speak to perform very simple tasks, such as changing teaching sets, timetables etc, it all takes a lot more time than it should. Also the support staff, whilst very freindly come across as not having a clue about how to solve any of the problems and always have to call you back. From what little time i've spent using SIMS so far it appears to not suffer from these problems, whether there are other problems I havent faced yet only time will tell, but my advice is steer well clear of e1.
We use Facility, and ePortal, same thing really but different backends, provided by Serco.
We use it all, lesson registration, behaviour management, auto-mated timetabling, auto-mated covering, reporting. The whole lot and it runs effortlessly
SIMs think twice or million times b4 going to SIMs. My current school we are using SIMs and its pain from updating to upgrating. If you want i am more than happy to show you SIMs.
My NM here looked at Serco and complained that there'll be too much to do in house in terms of writing SQL queries to get at the data. @ahuxham - have you found this to be a problem?
Also, I don't know about the OP, but I'd be interested to hear people thoughts on VLE integration and how that may effect the decision of which MIS to use. Cheers.
They sell you the online aspect with tales of teachers being able to register students away on trips etc but some teachers couldnt register classes in the school building so they arent likely to do it on a mountainside either!
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