Can anyone give me a brief heads up on SIMS Cover (7 I think)? How good it is, ease of use etc. Currently we have a homebrewed solution that I have just had a call about saying they want to revamp it and add features. I want to get everything we can into SIMS but they are saying it is too tricky to use and re-rooming takes half hour. I think this is a crock but would like some supporting evidence. So over to you guys.
We had a new cover manager in Sept who hadn't worked in schools or used T4 cover and she got to grips with Cover 7 in a very short time. She just seemed to read the book a bit and have a fiddle and is extremely good with it now. Personally I quite like it and she seems impressed and happy with it.
Seems alright. Capita keep adding bits. Got training end of the month, so should know more then. But it's pretty straight forward, not as easy as going from Attendance 6 -7 tho!
The general response to Cover 7 seems to have been mixed, but this is mainly due to the complete change it represents from Nova-T4. If you are not currently using NovaT for cover many of the 'issues' some schools seem to have had relating to changing over will not apply.
Using Cover 7 requires you to work in a particular way, because it links to personnel for course and absence reporting and keeps records of all staff employed on site, including all supply staff, to make sure when the Workforce Census kicks in next year for all schools, the data can be easily extracted, much as PLASC does for pupil data.
It has some very good features (integration with other SIMS modules, cover recorded by the minute, and many others) and some really irritating ones (the present version doesn't do exams, although an upgrade scheduled for the May release will include this). Most complaints have focused on the printing and reporting side, which were quite buggy at first, but have improved.
We were a field trial school, so have been using it live for almost exactly a year. PM me if you want any more detailed info.
@jcollings: Thanks, that is exactly the kind of thing I want to hear. I have a feeling it is more a fear of change and someone else stirring as they don't want to set it up.
@matt40k: alright is a glowing recomendation for SIMS in my book ;)
@LinFit: Nope it will all be new to us. Exams are done seperately but once that is sorted it might be nice. The workforce census stuff seems like another huge reason to do it.
Having looked at the manual I managed to get from somewhere, except for the initial set up, it all looks fantastically simple and nicely integrated.
Something we haven't plugged enough of is working on two screens. Cover 7 is designed to work on two screens and if you do you should find it very quick to use.
That sounds interesting. Can you give an example of how that would work. e.g. what you'd have on the different screens?
Originally Posted by PhilNeal
That sounds incredibly interesting to me, as I have two. But not so much as if others findo ut they will lobby to get two! :p
The main "Cover Arrangements" window takes up a large area of the screen, and you want it to, so that you can see the timelines across the day. It's very useful to unpin the available staff window, (which by default occupies only a narrow strip on the right hand side of the screen and shows only a list of staff available for cover) and open it to its full extent on the second screen. You can then see all the details about staff, covers done, their timetable for the day etc, and you get more screen space for the main window. We also unpin the "Manage bookings" screen in the same way.
Its best with wide screen monitors as this allows you to see the timeline for the whole day on the screen and limits scrolling around. It really does make the software much easier to use as you can see all the relevant information on the screens at once.
We used T4 cover and then switched to using Cover 7 last summer. We were also a field trial school. The data transfer from T4 was only partially successful.
The second monitor is a lifesaver and I would not be without. I find Cover7 easy to use and like the way it writes data to other parts of the system. I wish it would do exam cover for internal exams better and this is promised for the next release.
I would set it up so only those entering cover data get into the actual module. The cover for the day appears on an html file on our intranet and also individual cover appears on a teacher's home page.
It is also important to define who does what as some absences are entered directly but others known about in advance might be entered by the Personnel Officer and having an agreed procedure helps with this.
Tis indeed in the new version (March)