SIMS - and the start of Academic Year 2008/09
I thought some "good positive thoughts" might be welcomed! I'm driving forward the good use of MIS - in order to make a really big difference in a previously paperbased school. And - I'm very pleased to say that things are going very well.
We have started the new term now, at Ruthin School in North Wales. SIMS is being used to manage finance (FMS), Fees (Fees Billing 7), Reports (Assessment Manager 7 & Profiles 7), Attendance, Timetable, Cover and general admin (pupil records).
I am pleased to be able to say that Pastoral promotion went through without any problems - a relief, as we have changed from a vertical structure (in some years) to a horizontal structure.
We left writing the timetable to the very last minute - in fact, it was started and finished on the last day of the holidays. This allows our students to receive their results (GCSE), before we write the option blocks for Year 12. Nova T6 had no issues - and in a day we were able to produce an efficient, "perfect" timetable. Pretty amazing, actually - as we have a junior school that is on a different timetable cycle to the senior school. Nevertheless, all students (from 3 -18), and all teachers have a timetable that works.
House Lists, data collections sheets, registers etc produced with no issues.
We moved from WCBS to FMS over the summer - our financial year starts in September, so all is now ready to go for the new year. Alot of work to set up the nominal ledger - as I need to be able to analyse expenditure and fee income in minute detail.
New payroll: Earnie 32 - weeky payrolls run fine, and I am optimistic that monthly salaries will work well. We have removed paper payslips altogether - all staff now get emailed. A bit of a saving on stationery. It also looks very impressive! Maintenance staff without emails now have them.
Future plan - install Learning Gateway for March 2009, and all our overseas parents will be delighted to receive reports and regular updates through our new website (to be launched in January 2009.)
Key point - I know exactly what I am doing with the SIMS software, and can make it work within my school. Staff are on board - and can really see the benefits (reduced admin time, quick access to key data, better informed etc).
In (at most) a year's time, I hope to be able to demonstrate how the SIMS software has improved our school in the areas of Pupil Performance (academic monitoring), efficiency (reduction of mundane clerical tasks by admin staff), recruitment (analysis by ethnicity and nationality to inform which students we want to accept) and financial control.
A very positive look forward to the year ahead.