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MIS Systems Thread, East Sussex County Council say we have to use Sims Gateway and not any other software in Technical; I was on a free Sims Gateway course a few weeks back put on by East Sussex County Council and ...
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    East Sussex County Council say we have to use Sims Gateway and not any other software

    I was on a free Sims Gateway course a few weeks back put on by East Sussex County Council and was told that ESCC had spent lots of money on training etc for this software and as such we as East Sussex Schools have to use it. It was actually put in such a way that we would be in breach of some law or the other if we didn't use this system.

    Is this correct?

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    It so much depends on your school and the contract that they have with ESCC. Some schools are mor independent than others within the state system.

    You certainly don't have to have a specific MIS package, but your school does need to be able to comply with various regulations and Sims is one way of doing it. It may be however, that you are tied into a contract with ESCC. You need your finance office to check this out.

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    The only thing that you would be going against is the Government thing of parental communication by 2010. Someone will come along and be able to say the exact name and details in a sec but it is along the lines of all secondary schools should give parents real-time access to their children's data by 2010.

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    As far as I am aware their are other web cms systems that can display the data required from Sims for parents to view. think moodle does this. The school would always be using Sims.

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    You can use whatever software you wish.
    ESCC do not mandate the use of SLG, or even SIMS. Your quite free to not use SIMS at all if you want to pay for an alternative. (but ESCC will only provide support for SIMS)
    The realtime access to childrens data is no longer mandatory - it is up to the school.

    Remember, people in ESCC are scrambling around trying to protect their jobs/entire existence with the latest round of HT top-slicing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dknight001 View Post
    As far as I am aware their are other web cms systems that can display the data required from Sims for parents to view. think moodle does this. The school would always be using Sims.
    there is a commercial package for this:
    SchoolsICT - enabling 21st century learning

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    The realtime access to childrens data is no longer mandatory - it is up to the school.
    .
    Can you point me to somewhere I can check this is the case.

    Thanks

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Schools have control over what they purchase at a local level now, and the person ultimately responsible for this is your head teacher and the governors. Your LEA cannot force you to use a piece of software, or sign a contract on behalf of schools without the head or governors agreement.

    So, the first place to ask would be there - ask in school if they have agreed to a contract for this software.

    If there is no contract, then what they said is baloney, and trying to prevent competition would be against EU rules AFAIK.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dknight001 View Post
    Can you point me to somewhere I can check this is the case.

    Thanks
    This is the current Governments policy on parental engagement
    Parental Involvement - The Department for Education
    It doesn't need to be online anymore.

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    If there is no contract, then what they said is baloney, and trying to prevent competition would be against EU rules AFAIK.
    Absolutely, it would be anti-competitive.
    by the way - the SLG is an extra module (500 p/a from ESCC) you don't need to purchase it.

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    I think its a case of the Harnessing Technology Grant has gone and as such ESCC has nothing to top slice so has a black hole in there books.
    They need schools to pay for it to keep the project going, but taking 3 years to get it up and running and only rolling it out to a few schools isn't a great sales pitch.

    There is a lot of confusion over Parental Engagement and Online Reporting, Parental Engagement was the bit most people missed and just opted for offering Online Reporting.
    Parental Engagement is getting parents involved in the students learning, by have communication between parent, teacher and student and informing them of student progress within a learning context.

    SLG is does Online Reporting not Parental Engagement, what use is it if a parent sees a '5a' when there is no context, its meaning less.

    Parental Engagement is still a very good idea. A colleague has just attended a NAACE training day about the new ofsted inspection framework and the VLE must be at the heart of learning ethos if a school wishes to get outstanding. There need to be more integration between your VLE and MIS. Parental Engagement should be wrapped around your VLE not your MIS, parents should get the whole picture of the students learning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CyberNerd View Post
    Absolutely, it would be anti-competitive.
    by the way - the SLG is an extra module (500 p/a from ESCC) you don't need to purchase it.
    Wasn't that the price before the the HT grant got slashed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    Wasn't that the price before the the HT grant got slashed?
    yep, I don't think they announced next years pricing yet

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    This has been an eye opening forum for me. I though the CC was hear to help the schools but it turns out they are trying to fleece them.

    I have been on the phone to the DFE and will post back after they have confirmed everything I need to know.

    Thanks for the info.

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    Quote Originally Posted by penfold_99 View Post
    Wasn't that the price before the the HT grant got slashed?
    It sounds a steal at 500 compared to the list price from Capita.

  15. Thanks to Banjo from:

    laughingcavalier (5th October 2010)

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    Hi dnight001,

    I think I need to clear some of these things up for clarity to all. East Sussex is not ‘forcing’ schools to use SIMS Gateway to offer online reporting. A few years ago there was a procurement process taken place to enable East Sussex schools to offer on-line parental reporting to parents. This requirement was in place from the DfE (or DCSF as it was then) and had target dates of 2010 (for Secondary) and 2012 (for Primary). So in 2007, this was taken to the Schools Forums (this is a group made up of schools SLT who make decisions of projects, work or anything that impacts schools) and SLG was the preferred product due to its complete package for SIMS schools, this is an important fact, no harnessing tech funding can be spent by the LA unless it is signed off by the schools forum (as above, is made up of East Sussex schools).

    East Sussex then went through a pilot phase where 8 schools (a mix of Primary, Secondary & Special) piloted a Capita hosted SLG solution. The outcome and feedback from this pilot was the decision to go ahead with the product, if the feedback from these schools users (this was staff, pupils & parents) was negative we would not have run with this product.
    Following this, a project was in place to build an infrastructure centrally to host the SLG product.
    This decision to host ourselves was taken from costings; Capita charge at that time was in exceess of 4000 just to host per school (not including licences etc). Another decision was made to procure the licences through the LA; this is due to the huge discounts an LA can achieve rather than a single school who go to Capita. I believe the licence cost per school direct to Capita (at that time) was around 7000 per school, though the LA the discount is much much less that 7000. Local Authorities do gain large discount through aggregated procurement in most area’s (hardware/software etc)

    Once the infrastructure was built, the LA hit another snag, Becta/Government guidance on data security on sensitive data, so we looked at 2 factor authentication for our schools staff to be able to access this sensitive data (IL Level 3 data – accessing multiple accounts), this delayed the project quite a bit. After months of researching different companies and prices we were above to procure 2FA tokens at 10 per user (we were quoted anything from 40 - 150), this was through the Becta framework.

    The LA then ran another pilot for the central hosted system, this was to test connections, iron out issues, test 2FA, gain feedback from schools (there was 8 different schools in this pilot), feedback on documentation created from the LA and training delivered before rolling out to all schools.

    Now we are in the situation of rolling out to schools to be able to install and run SIMS Gateway to meet the requirements on online reporting to parents. SIMS Gateway it also offers staff to be able to enter assessment & attendance & profile reports direct from a web browser, this was to add value to their PPA time and be able to do their tasks from home or somewhere with an internet connection. It also offers (from autumn release) the ability of publish reports online therefore saving money for the school, and doing a bit to save the planet!

    I also would like to make a point of SIMS Gateway is not just another ‘techie’ product we have ‘pushed out’ to schools to make more work for you, there is large amounts of research taken to prove (this is the important part!) that effective parental engagement and communication between parent & school, can increase attainment, attendance for students because of this. The key things I want to say here is it directly effects students in your school, brings parents/schools closer, and I feel that can only be a good thing for your school and students.

    ....And yes Banjo 500 a year for this is very cheap (compared with 7000+) and why we have worked so hard to get this for our schools

  17. Thanks to drprozak from:

    laughingcavalier (5th October 2010)

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