I forgot to mention one particular thing that could be quite useful. There is a lot of expertise out there where users have developed reports etc for Facility, it is a good idea to tap into that either through forums like this or on the Facility Support Site discussion forum. The thing I like about Facility is that it is relatively easy to 'reverse engineer' reports, import assessment templates, criteria and reports into the system, but make sure that you have a coherent naming system and folder system. This is particularly the case when it comes to using Facility to record what are called Student Events or produce Interim or Summative Student Reports to Parents. Facility does provide basic assessment models which tie in to ePortal, which is the teacher UI, and show progress tracking, which is free although you have to request a separate 'key' to activate it. Using these as a basis and then modifying them slightly allow you to tailor the system to suit your school. Having retired after 30 years teaching I am now working at a nearby school and am developing this for them. Again, I must emphasise the need for attending the training courses and using the discussion forums as it helps, through swapping templates, reports etc., to prevent the need to re-invent the wheel . It also makes it easier for teachers to enter the data and see what information you have - which makes them happier - although this could probably be said of all MIS systems.
I quite agree. By the way, which way do you tie the toast to the cat?
Hi Terry, did you go to the NWM meeting recently?
There was a big dingdong over SERCO support access to the schools server as they would not tow the County rules for network access (wanting to use LOGMEIN etc.). The other point that was that Seb Gasse is pushing for a unfied and norfolk covered single MIS. That being I can see that we are ALL forced to move onto the Norfolk specified MIS.
Just some info to look at for the future.
Yep I was there. A very interesting metting. We were pretty much set on Serco at that point.
In the space of that week SIMS dropped their price to compete and we had that Serco meeting.
Needless to say that SIMS is probably now the front runner. However it's still early days and we are canvasing local E1, SIMS and Serco schools so we can go see them live over the next week or two.
I am not sure what the majority of schools are using in your area, I know that I like working with Facility and prefer it, but in many respects that is not important. It is much more useful if schools in an area use the same system as it allows a great deal more flexibility. It provides a local pool of expertise and ease of information exchange which I believe will outweigh most other considerations.
I would be interested to know what facilities are offered for SERCO in terms of online information presentation to the outside world, ie parents. SIMS has SLG (SIMS Leraning Gateway) which interacts directly with the data stored in the MIS and presents that in a secure way to parents and staff alike, along with offering a great MS Sharepoint platform to add content to.
And if you check out the SLG Roadmap on SupportNet then you will see that there are exciting things on the horizon!
I, for one, have no regrets that we bought into SLG. Having attended the SIMS Partnership Schools Conference earlier this week I am extremely excited by how it is developing.
It won't be long before the parents are really interacting with it rather than it just being a way of accessing pupil data, which is the requirement for next year!
There are schools around the country that really should be visited to see the full potential of SLG. We are obviously users of SLG. Staff can mark Registers, Complete Assessments and Write Reports online. Parents can access Pupil Data, including Attendance (both Sessions and Class), Behaviour & Achievement and Assessment. But what we are doing pales into insignificance when compared to some other schools, of whom I am very envious!
In Facility I know that you can make ePortal, the web based interface of Facility, available to parents so that they can see all the information available on their child. I haven't actually implemented it myself, so cannot advise you on how easy it is. What I can say is that we have had no problems with staff access to ePortal from home and that it is relatively easy to set up that side of it. I believe it is secure and that it is relatively straightforward, but would recommend that you see if there is anyone out there who has implemented it for further information.
It was a great conference to be fair, especially as it was all free!!!
ePortal from serco certainly provides the access level currently required for access from home by parents, students and staff. This is fairly easy to set-up and doesnt require the large financial outlay required for SLG.
E1 and other hosted solutions obviously provide similar functunality.
Obviously all MIS providers are contining to improve their products and all seem to be moving towards hosted solutions (BSF??) - except for Capita SIMS??.
From reading this any many other threads I do wonder if Sivadam works for capita tho!!
Last edited by APC; 13th November 2009 at 10:04 PM.
I am nobodies puppet either! If I think that something is wrong with SIMS or that certain enhancements are needed then I say my piece - often quite forcibly. The difference is that I tell Capita Staff directly and don't make spurious and inaccurate comments in a public forum!
I started to post on these Forums to try and enlighten some people who were obviously making invalid observations about an excellent MIS. Some of the statements showed a complete misunderstanding of SIMS by the contributors. I thought it was time to challenge these statements.
Last edited by Sivadam; 13th November 2009 at 11:15 PM.
got all teachers in to SIMS; got students & parents engaged via SLG; ; got teachers working from home (should they wish to); seen other schools, "poor users of SIMS" get much better at using it and seen their school improve; seen poor users of SIMS (& poor school performance) jump ship and are still poor performing schools, despite the clear focus on using an IMS better.
To be fair I've seen a couple of good schools make the same move, and they're still good schools. Meanwhile, I've seen what used to be good schools decline, prompting a return to SIMS after a very expensive strategic move CMIS.
So, what do you want, how do you achieve it, how will you be able to tell &, finally, is it good value for money?
We have found that the integration between SIMS and Fronter is especially solid and our recent implementation of the SIMS Learning Gateway has strengthened our online offering.
I gave a talk at to year 8 parents at an information evening last week, and the feedback about SLG in particular was good with clear support in regards to how the school is using data to assist student progress, and how the parents can be easily kept informed.
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