Schools Information Management System

How schools and academies in Suffolk can access Schools Information Management System (SIMS) from Suffolk County Council.

Capita SIMS long logoOur range of Schools Information Management System (SIMS) services on offer.


Base SIMS

For Local Authority (LA) maintained schools only.

The Base SIMS service covers the cost of the SIMS.net and FMS licence. It's a basic service for schools.

Support is provided via email or telephone from the SIMS Support team at Suffolk County Council.

You'll receive:

  • Termly upgrades released via Solus 3
  • Assistance via a dedicated helpline with the census returns
  • Free training to help your school prepare for the autumn census and workforce census
  • Access to a range of SIMS specific training courses via CPD online

Enhanced SIMS

For Local Authority (LA) maintained schools who already have the Base SIMS service.

You'll receive the benefits of the base SIMS service, and:

  • Remote or onsite support where errors and queries cannot be fixed over the phone
  • Termly upgrades or patches to the software performed by our experienced technicians
  • Up to half day onsite training per year for a new member of office staff
  • Reduced rates of SIMS training, via CPD online
  • Availability to purchase hardware and peripherals through our catalogue, installed by our friendly technicians

Dinner money licence

For LA maintained schools only who already have the Base SIMS service.

The dinner money licence is an additional module within the SIMS software and provides and easy to use solution to manage and report on school meals efficiently.

You can record, monitor and share pupil meal choices and track the financial aspects automatically.

There is an annual maintenance charge for this module.


Remote SIMS

For academies and free schools who've already purchased a SIMS.net licence directly from Capita.

You'll receive:

  • Telephone, email or remote support from both our technical and support experts
  • Termly upgrades or patches to the software performed by our experienced technicians
  • Access to our dedicated census helpline
  • Free census training for the autumn and workforce census
  • Reduced rates of SIMS training via CPD online

If you are part of a multi-agency trust and are looking for a solution to cover all your academies talk to us about your requirements. Call the IT Service Desk on 01473 265555 or email itservicedesk@suffolk.gov.uk

When buying into this service please inform Capita that Suffolk County Council will be your SIMS Support unit so we can ensure a smooth transition to your services.


Withdrawal services

Base SIMS and Dinner Money

This service is purchased annually by schools on 1st April for 12 months. In order to withdraw from this service, you must provide in writing no less than 4 months’ notice before the renewal date, no refunds will be given for the remainder of the service. Please ensure a new supplier will be in place from 1st April, schools cannot be added once removed from the annual return.

For schools converting to an academy, you do not need to provide written notice to withdraw from this service. However, you will not be entitled to a refund unless a SIMS licence has been purchased directly from Capita.

Enhanced SIMS

To withdraw from this service, please provide in writing no less than 6 months’ notice. If you have paid annually from 1st April, you will be entitled to a refund for the remainder of the service.

If you are a school converting to an academy 6 months’ notice does not apply, please inform us as soon as possible so we can discuss your requirements after conversion. A refund for the remainder of the service will be applied.

Remote SIMS

To withdraw from this service, please provide in writing no less than 6 months’ notice.

If you have paid annually from 1st September, you will be entitled to a refund for the remainder of the service.


Procurement

Local Authority (LA) maintained schools who buy a Enhanced SIMS service can order hardware from our IT service.

You can order:

  • Multimedia monitors
  • Admin PC
  • Windows 10 Workstation Admin Server
  • External DVD Writer
  • Mouse
  • Wireless mouse
  • Keyboard
  • Monitor cables
  • Printers

FAQs and contact us

Find advice or technical support relating to SIMS in the list of FAQs below.

For further information about our products call the IT Service Desk on 01473 265555 or email itservicedesk@suffolk.gov.uk.

If you do not know how to complete a process in SIMS.net look in the Documentation Centre on the home page of SIMS.net, click on Documentation then on the A-Z Documentation List, you will find helpful handbooks and quick reference sheets to help you.

The DFE FSM Ever6 report definition files have been released to all schools via Anycomms. Once imported into SIMS.net this report provides a list based on the method used by the DFE to calculate eligibility for the Spring Census 2020.

To import the report, extract the .zip file from your Misc Anycomms folder: S | Other | In | Misc. Next go to Reports | Import and browse for the report definition file.

Please note that this report can only be used as an approximation of FSM Ever6 as used by the DFE for allocation Deprivation Pupil Premium. For example, the DFE knows the year taught in reported for pupils in the School Census when pupils attended a previous school but that is not available to the current school.

If you have any issues importing or running this report, please log a call with the IT Service Desk on 01473 265555.

All secondary schools can set their working academic year in SIMS.net. This will need to be set at the start of each academic year to avoid potential issues.

To set the academic year go to, Tools | Academic Management | Set Academic Year, choose 2020/2021 and click on ok.

Please record the following for any carers/family members that you need on the system:

  • title
  • given name
  • family name
  • address and post code
  • telephone numbers
  • relationship to the pupil

If in doubt, please contact the SIMS team through the IT Service Desk on 01473 265555 or ITservicedesk@suffolk.gov.uk.

No, unfortunately the Local Authority will only have sight of clashes between yourselves and LA maintained schools, so if there is a clash between yourselves and another academy this would remain hidden from them.

As you will be aware unresolved clashes mean that the DfE will not fund the pupil/student at either establishment, so it is in your interest to resolve the issue with the other establishment, and check that it has been resolved in the COLLECT Website the following day.

The Duplicate reports for "same person different UPN" and "Same UPN different person" are available on the COLLECT website, and whilst we appreciate that the DfE issue a deadline for submitting your census, that deadline does include completion of resolving enrolment status clashes, and any other amendments the DfE request, this is why it is essential to have your Autumn Census submitted within a week of Census day to ensure no loss of funding is incurred.

No, the correct method of preparing for the next pupil intake is to create a pre-admission group within SIMS.net, where an admission file can be imported, and additional pupils/students added, these are left with an application status of accepted until the pupil/student attends, at which time it is altered to admitted.

The reason this method has to be used is that frequently the pupil/student never arrives for various reasons, and where it is possible to delete them from your SIMS system, you will already have created a "ghost student record" within the central education system via B2B exchange, this is distorting the overall attendance figures.

Should you have any issues, please log a support call with the IT Service Desk on 01473 265555.

Where a pupil is registered with both a mainstream establishment and a Pupil Referral Unit they have to be dually registered, this is recorded in SIMS.net and will be returned in the DfE Statutory Returns.

The Local Authority have issued the following guidance to ensure the correct registration is recorded. Regardless of Key Stage, the Mainstream establishment should record the pupil as Dual Main Registration, and the PRU should record the pupil as Dual Subsidiary Registration.

The only instance where this could be different is if a pupil has been permanently excluded from mainstream education then attends the PRU. In this case the pupil is taken off roll at the Mainstream Establishment and the PRU registers the pupil as Single Registration.

The Unique Pupil Number (UPN) is a number that identifies each pupil in England uniquely. A UPN is allocated to each pupil according to a nationally specified formula on first entry to school (or perhaps in some cases earlier), and is intended to remain with the pupil throughout their school career regardless of any change in school or Local Authority (LA). Please find DfE UPN guidance here.

You assign a UPN to a new pupil if you are absolutely positive that the pupil has not attended another school even in a nursery class.

If you are in any doubt, please log a call with the IT Service Desk on 01473 265555 or ITServicedesk@suffolk.gov.uk asking the SIMS team to check to see if your new pupil already has a UPN.

From the Help menu at the top of your SIMS.net home page, choose 'About SIMS.net' this will open a window giving you the version and database build, to close the window click inside it.

The date for this year’s Spring Census is Thursday 21st January. Our census helpline will be operating from Monday 18th to Friday 22nd January.
You can contact the team directly during census week on 01473 260666 from 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday and 8:30am to 4:30pm on Friday.

All other SIMS queries must be reported via the IT Service Desk on 01473 265555 or via ITServiceDesk@suffolk.gov.uk

Please note this helpline is available to all LA maintained schools, and academies that buy into an SCC SIMS service only. If you are an academy and do not buy into our SIMS services, we cannot help you, you must contact your own SIMS Support Unit for assistance.

Information for Primary schools


Information for Secondary schools 

How to find Census Guidance on your SIMS Documentation (doc, 1MB).

The most recent fileset is Fileset 1703, this has been sent in zip form to you via anycomms, and can be found in the following folder:-
S | Other | In | Miscellaneous

The guidance on how to import the fileset is attached (DOC, 2MB).

Should you be unable to find the fileset in the Miscellaneous folder having run anycomms, please log a call with the IT Service Desk on 01473 265555 or ITServicedesk@suffolk.gov.uk

Further filesets may be released closer to the Census Day, in which case we will advise you via email.