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MIS Systems Thread, Birmingham Schools - Where are you going next in Technical; We are certainly going to the Serco 'Progreso' demonstration on 12th July at Birmingham FC and will be looking with ...
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    We are certainly going to the Serco 'Progreso' demonstration on 12th July at Birmingham FC and will be looking with interest at this as the way forwards.

    SIMS seems really expensive to move to as the quote a colleague has received doesnt include any of the migration costs or more than the most basic training. I would think that moving more than the basic CTF transfer which is quoted for would not only be very time consuming but could also cost and probably not result in a complete data set.... nightmare!

    As we use really complicated assessment structures I will be interested to see if serco are able to migrate all the data and structures straight into their new system as re-creating them in SIMS for example would be really time consuming (a friend uses assessment manager and I know!!)..

    Just as a thought, are Link2ict offering us the opportunity to look at other systems, or are we being sold SIMS due to the Capita ownership... it certainly seems that capita are trying to get schools to sign up now... are they worried about the competition?

    We are not yet looking at being an academy but its probably on the horizon - why do we have to re-licence at all when the only difference is a change of legal status - we dont want anything else from the mis supplier - just a new licence and the support we have now! - seems like the big boys see this as a licence to print money

  2. #17
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    As stated, the relicencing for SIMS only happens if you move from LA control to Academy if the LA hold the licence. This is because the school doesn't own the licence, it belongs to the LA who get them cheap for a no transfer of ownership deal. When dropping out of LA control to Academy status, they are no longer eligible to use the LA's licence and thus have to purchase a new one.

    On the other hand, if you buy a licence from Capita then it will be yours and a new one won't be required when changing to Academy status. This means if the school plans to move to academy in the short term, do not buy a SIMS licence from the LA no matter how cheap it is. You will get stung on transferring to Academy status!

    EXAMPLES:

    School 1 is LA controlled with CMIS. They plan to move but will change to Academy in Sept 2012 so they hold off on migration and stick with CMIS for Sept 2011. They pay the high SIMS fee for a brand new licence only once when they carry out the migration to SIMS at the same time as transferring to Academy status in Sept 2012.

    School 2 uses CMIS and decides to go to the LA in Sept 2011 for a cheaper SIMS licence and migrate their MIS to SIMS straight away. It seems a smart move but the governors want to change to Academy status in Sept 2012, so when that date rolls round they have to pay for a SIMS licence again! The school has effectively paid twice for SIMS, once on the cheap LA licence and again for the not-so-cheap new licence when they drop from LA control. The decision to jump in with an LA licence to set up for cheap is effectively a false economy!

    However, had School 2 approached Capita direct then they'd only pay a "small" admin charge (about 200) to move to Academy status as they own the licence, not the LA, and thus don't need to purchase a new one.

    Also there is precedent on here somewhere of using old SIMS licences dating to before the school started using ones from the LA. They are still valid for transfer to academy status if the school owns these licences but you need to fight the matter with Capita's support teams who will try say otherwise so hunt through your filing cabinets to see if a predecessor used SIMS and still has a licence!
    Last edited by CAM; 30th June 2011 at 12:08 AM.

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  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilNeal View Post
    If you own the licence you should not have a quote of this size - feel free to PM me and I will check.
    I contacted Capita to enquire about licensing costs associated with academy conversion last month. Assuming we own the licence, I was told if we retained our DofE number the school could novate the licence, but a change of DofE number would result in SIMS having to be re-licensed. Is this advice still valid?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CAM View Post
    relicencing for SIMS only happens if you move from LA control to Academy if the LA hold the licence. This is because the school doesn't own the licence, it belongs to the LA who get them cheap for a no transfer of ownership deal. When dropping out of LA control to Academy status, they are no longer eligible to use the LA's licence and thus have to purchase a new one
    Why does it matter who holds the licence - It doesnt cost 1000's more as its the same licence for the same software... Rip OFF!... I can understand if we wanted to go to the supplier for support that there would be an additional cost, but we wouldnt !

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    SIM's has a learning gateway which is not that teacher friendly to be honest. If you use moodle for your VLE there are alot of suppliers who provide an E-Portal type web frontend. We are currently looking at a webanywhere product and it looks very good and they can give you a demo of how it integrates with SIM's.

    We moved from CMIS to SIM's this time last year and although i still think CMIS does alot more.... SIM's does what we want efficiently and taking up less of my time....

    Well apart from the options part of CMIS, no that was an outstanding piece of software... If there are any CMIS people here look at providing that as a standalone piece of software...!!!!

  7. #21
    CAM
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    Quote Originally Posted by emma_24_uk View Post
    Why does it matter who holds the licence - It doesnt cost 1000's more as its the same licence for the same software... Rip OFF!... I can understand if we wanted to go to the supplier for support that there would be an additional cost, but we wouldnt !
    It's in the first paragraph of my post

    As stated, the relicencing for SIMS only happens if you move from LA control to Academy if the LA hold the licence. This is because the school doesn't own the licence, it belongs to the LA who get them cheap for a no transfer of ownership deal. When dropping out of LA control to Academy status, they are no longer eligible to use the LA's licence and thus have to purchase a new one.
    It sucks but according to Capita, offering a discount for existing SIMS schools would be "anti-competitive"...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Timetable View Post
    SIM's has a learning gateway which is not that teacher friendly to be honest. If you use moodle for your VLE there are alot of suppliers who provide an E-Portal type web frontend. We are currently looking at a webanywhere product and it looks very good and they can give you a demo of how it integrates with SIM's.
    Thats partly my concern - we use eportal really intensivley and learning gateway doesnt seem very user friendly and why pay extra for something we currently get included in our costs..


    We moved from CMIS to SIM's this time last year and although i still think CMIS does alot more.... SIM's does what we want efficiently and taking up less of my time....
    Is sims as locked down as im under the impression it is? last time I looked we could do far more on assessment in facility and its easier to integrate with internal systems without paying an additional licence for access to our own data?

    It seems that on a pricing front capita are offering a range of prices depending upon who you are...

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    That is true, Capita's pricing is varied... we pay two different prices for lesson monitor due to covering a middle school and a high school. (were still 3 tier this far north as we have been forgotten)..

    SIM's is locked down quite a bit and as i stated can do far less than CMIS, but provides enough of what we want and the new SIM's Discover will add some very useful features for us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emma_24_uk View Post
    Thats partly my concern - we use eportal really intensivley and learning gateway doesnt seem very user friendly and why pay extra for something we currently get included in our costs..
    Is sims as locked down as im under the impression it is? last time I looked we could do far more on assessment in facility and its easier to integrate with internal systems without paying an additional licence for access to our own data?
    It seems that on a pricing front Capita are offering a range of prices depending upon who you are...
    Capita have to deliver some of their products as separate modules/add ons! Because of their large share of the market they are not allowed to package them all together, as smaller companies can do. It would be classed as unfair business practice if they did try to packet everything into the one product!

    And I would be very interested to see what CMIS can do in Assessment that AM7/PA/Discover cannot do. The staff in this school who have worked in CMIS Schools are very surprised at how accessible the data is as compared to their previous schools. Of course this could represent how well each of the school's MIS is configured (or not!).

    As for SLG not being User-friendly, it seems to do it's job here. We have had to move from the Capita Hosted service to the LA Hosted Service, as part of the BSF 'deal', and for a while we have had to do without a service that we have used since it's initial launch in October 2008. I can assure you that the staff and parents have really missed the service during this transition!!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 30th June 2011 at 02:38 PM.

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    Thanks for the replies = Ill be really interested to see what progresso can do at the event on the 12th and understand that link2ict will be hosting a sims event in the autumn term so will be good to compare features and total cost etc.

    I guess with the new hosted progresso there wont be a need for an extra parental access component at all tho? - anyone know?

  13. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by emma_24_uk View Post
    Thanks for the replies = Ill be really interested to see what progresso can do at the event on the 12th and understand that link2ict will be hosting a sims event in the autumn term so will be good to compare features and total cost etc.

    I guess with the new hosted progresso there wont be a need for an extra parental access component at all tho? - anyone know?
    Parental reporting is, as it is with Facility ePortal, be inclusive but its even more powerful and flexible than it currently is via ePortal, but its inclusive thus no additional fees

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    Quote Originally Posted by john View Post
    Parental reporting is, as it is with Facility ePortal, be inclusive but its even more powerful and flexible than it currently is via ePortal, but its inclusive thus no additional fees
    Glad to hear that - have you had that fact confirmed by serco?

    Does anyone know what Serco are doing about the finance solution used by almost all Birmingham schools - there have been some rumours that it may not exist, but other people are saying its going to continue and be changed to meet academy financial requirements?

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    I posted a query on the serco forum asking for some information on what will happen with financial reporting for schools transfering to academy status that want to continue to use Facility CMIS Accounts:

    "Is there a plan for Serco to produce an accounts GAG report, meeting the current requirements for financial reporting to the DfE, that those schools using Facility Administration software for accounts will need once converted to academy status?

    Have any of those newly converted academies (since September 2010) either been able to write these sorts of reports themselves, or obtain the information via an alternative route without having to implement a new accounting solution?
    "

    "Further to my previous email the guidance from the YPLA is available from the link:
    [link=http://readingroom.ypla.gov.uk/ypla/ypla-Academies_financial_handbook-gn-Nov06.pdf]Academies Financial Handbook[/link]
    The following pages give samples of the reports that need to be submitted (177-181, 185-192, 196-204 and a list of the reports to be submitted on page 209).

    Although the handbook is currently under review:
    ([link=http://www.ypla.gov.uk/academies/funding-and-finance/financial-monitoring-and-assurance/]YPLA Finance Monitoring page[/link])
    This guidance does appear to have been in place since 2006 so I would assume that any schools that have converted since that date will have been required to produce these reports - are any of them using Accounts in Facility CMIS Administration to do this?

    The 'new' version of Capita's FMS includes reports to meet these requirements, will Serco be releasing a patch to include these reports for those schools that don't want to move away from using the accounting functions of Facility CMIS Administration, or are they happy to continue to loose more of these schools to FMS on their conversion to academy status?
    "

    I've not had a response yet though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emma_24_uk View Post
    Glad to hear that - have you had that fact confirmed by serco?

    Does anyone know what Serco are doing about the finance solution used by almost all Birmingham schools - there have been some rumours that it may not exist, but other people are saying its going to continue and be changed to meet academy financial requirements?
    I heard a rumour that a parent will be able to login once and see parental information for ' both' of their children across two separate schools within the cluster

    I think finance is going to be an external App
    Last edited by Banjo; 4th July 2011 at 03:34 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Banjo View Post
    I heard a rumour that a parent will be able to login once and see parental information for ' both' of their children across two separate schools within the cluster
    That is standard functionality with SLG too!
    Obviously each site has to be hosted by the same organisation though! e.g. LA or Cpaita.

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