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MIS Systems Thread, Sims Gateway for primary school. Any good? in Technical; Hi, I have been asked to see if its worth setting up Sims Gateway for a small primary school. Price ...
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    Sims Gateway for primary school. Any good?

    Hi,

    I have been asked to see if its worth setting up Sims Gateway for a small primary school. Price is not an issue but nobody has any time to run our basic website so it needs to be very simple to use, setup and maintain.

    They would not be using the sims/staff sections, its only going to be used to let parents see attendance and pupil progress.

    Is it worth using in this situation?

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    jdoyle's Avatar
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    nope. Don't do it. Getting parents setup, ensuring the data is correct etc is going to be time consuming. Time will also be needed to show parents how to use it, support password requests etc.

    Finally, the data you're able to display isn't that good/useful to parents.
    Last edited by jdoyle; 13th September 2011 at 11:50 AM.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Maybe you should visit a school that is using it successfully!
    No doubt you will get a totally different evaluation
    Capita will be able to point you towards a SIMS Partnership School that is a Primary!

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    The reason to dismiss SIMS LG would be based on price, but if that's not an issue, it's worth getting a demo.
    Other options to consider, would be MCAS from bromcom, and the product from PARS (always forget the name), both of which will give a more user friendly interface and i think would be fully automated.

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    EasingtonCollieryPS_thelearninggateway has some teachers & parents talking about how sharing data makes a difference. They are using SLG but this piece is about primary schools and the fact that they do have useful data to share.

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    jdoyle's Avatar
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    Easington is a Capita partner school so a lot of support in place.

    The OP stipulated that time is an issue and I assume this is both for implementation of the system and then running the technology and the processes around it.

    There's another clip re Easington available to view here :

    Easington Colliery Primary School

    Worth watching the clip in the above video re the school managers using SIMs Learning Gateway (or not using it and instead looking over some printouts from SIMs?).

    Whilst Capita (and Microsoft) have touted the Easington adoption of SLG, Easington doesn't appear to have a link to SLG from their website and don't appear to be promoting it's adoption. Definitely worth a visit to see if Capita speak with forked tongue or not.

    We have SLG successfully installed. Started off using it for teachers to do their reports remotely. Held a big training session for all teaching staff. Now have it deployed to all staff, governors and some parents (a rolling deployment). We're about to do a promotion session at a Year 6 meeting this month as well as the new Year 7 welcome evening. We tie in using GroupCall and the website to prompt parents re updates on SLG (as well as for other activities and events).

    ADP is in place so user id creation for staff is linked to recruitment process; user id creation for students is driven by the admin office as students are enrolled into the school. Parents ids are managed by the SIMS Data Manager once parental responsibility etc is checked. We then have a process of introducing parents to SLG, stressing the need for security of passwords/confidentiality of data etc, and then issue their user ids and passwords after checking identity. We only issue ids and password to parents/carers flagged with parental responsibility. We also have a support mechanism in place for parents (forgotten user ids and passwords being common). Biggest issue at the start with parents was the horrendous passwords generated for them.

    As we went through the ADP route with SLG, we had to do a consolidation process for staff to merge their already created accounts with the new accounts created by ADP. Not difficult but took time.

    We have had to review how out behaviour incident reports are written up to ensure that staff do not mention the names of other students in the text.

    We now upload student reports to SLG which has the potential to save some time and money. Took quite a bit of time to get this working due to a bug in SLG but working well now.

    Parent hat now on. "Is this it then?". There just isn't enough useful information coming through.

    At my sons school they use Uniservity Parental Engagement tool. Very poor. Doesn't even seem able to handle a two week timetable.

    For a small primary school with limited time and planning minimal usage by parents, SLG is overkill. The joke re the NASA space pencil versus the Russian pencil springs to mind.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdoyle View Post
    Easington is a Capita partner school so a lot of support in place.........
    I think that I need to correct that misconception! Partnership schools do not get extra support from Capita.
    All cases have to be logged in exactly the same way as other schools and the cases are assigned exactly the same priority.

    The level of support is also determined by which support contract you buy into! There are no 'extra' favours!

    In my case I probably spend more time supporting Capita than the reverse!
    Last edited by Sivadam; 14th September 2011 at 09:31 AM.

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    SimpleSi's Avatar
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    Partnership schools do not get extra support from Capita.
    What does the "partnership" do then?

    Si

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    This link should explain it for you:-

  10. Thanks to Sivadam from:

    SimpleSi (14th September 2011)

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    vikpaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sivadam View Post
    This link should explain it for you:-
    ... you will receive some additional free support from Capita and from the ICT Service ...
    looks to me like @jdoyle was right

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    SimpleSi (14th September 2011)

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    Many thanks for you reply's.

    Firstly I did laugh at the video (EasingtonCollieryPS_thelearninggateway), the part were they say its handy for parents to know were their children are. The reason I laughed is, that must have been scripted by capita as in most primary schools parents bring the children in to the school and they stay with one teacher all day. If a child went missing during the day I would like a phone call rather than leaving it for me to look on some website.

    I have contacted a few schools near me and so far all have been negative about SLG in a primary school setting. They can see it would be very handy in secondary schools but in all the primary's around me Sims is not used in the classroom and most parents come to the school twice a day so if they need any info they ask the office, face to face. Time was probably the biggest issue at these other schools and why 2 of them have dropped or are just about to drop SLG.

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    jdoyle (14th September 2011)

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    jdoyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    looks to me like @jdoyle was right

    not so sure. Reading the blurb makes me think you're going to be bored to tears by Capita marketing bods.

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    Sivadam's Avatar
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    I have to respond to a previous post that I find very insulting. Quotes, when taken out of context can be extremely misleading! The document is from an LA Site and the 'extra ICT Service support' refers to the extra support provided by that LA (Not Capita!) to their supported schools.

    Capita Partnership Schools only receive 'enhanced support' for two specific reasons.

    • As explained in the document aimed at LAs, as per this quote: 'Although the schools do have some access to the Capita support teams this is not to bypass the excellent support they receive from the LA but is more of an emergency system to move issues on that have been escalated to us by the LA and is designed to help both parties resolve these more urgent and serious problems. This is a service that most schools will only use perhaps once a year.' Many Patches, KBs etc have been raised as a direct result of my personal inter-actions with Capita Support and the Forums on Supportnet, re. major issues affecting all schools & LAs! Bear in mind that we are a SIMS Direct School as well as being a UAT Associate School and a SIMS Partnership School!

    • Some Partnership Schools often trial new functionality in advance of it being included in new SIMS Upgrades. As you are all no doubt aware, changing the functionality in one area of SIMS can adversley affect other areas. If this happens during the trialling of new software then an immediate 'enhanced' response is required from Capita support. This support has to be of the highest priority else schools would not risk using their systems to trial the new software.
    Apart from the above, new Support Cases from Partnership schools are accorded the same priority as other SIMS Schools & LAs.
    Last edited by Sivadam; 14th September 2011 at 08:08 PM.

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    jdoyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edutech4schools View Post
    Many thanks for you reply's.

    Firstly I did laugh at the video (EasingtonCollieryPS_thelearninggateway), the part were they say its handy for parents to know were their children are. The reason I laughed is, that must have been scripted by capita as in most primary schools parents bring the children in to the school and they stay with one teacher all day. If a child went missing during the day I would like a phone call rather than leaving it for me to look on some website.

    I have contacted a few schools near me and so far all have been negative about SLG in a primary school setting. They can see it would be very handy in secondary schools but in all the primary's around me Sims is not used in the classroom and most parents come to the school twice a day so if they need any info they ask the office, face to face. Time was probably the biggest issue at these other schools and why 2 of them have dropped or are just about to drop SLG.
    yes, there are a couple of odd things in the video.

    Interesting to hear about the school dinner stuff, rewards points, governor material and letters home being available via SLG. Our governors have a separate tab on our internally hosted Sharepoint as governors who are not staff/parents (ie from the community or LA) don't have access to SLG.

    My youngest just left primary in July to go to my old school (Wootton Bassett Comprehensive) and I will shortly be experiencing first hand the transition from good, regular contact with the primary school teachers and staff to the cold remote online data driven world of SLG as a parent.

    If you do contact Easington, please let us know, especially if they help you change your mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vikpaw View Post
    The reason to dismiss SIMS LG would be based on price, but if that's not an issue, it's worth getting a demo.
    Other options to consider, would be MCAS from bromcom, and the product from PARS (always forget the name), both of which will give a more user friendly interface and i think would be fully automated.
    I agree with Vikpaw as regards the product from PAR's (Tasc Software much better) its called Insight and is very reasonably priced and works really well with SIM's looks nice and is user friendly for parents looked at the Learning Gateway and a few other products but thought this was by far the best.

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