Schools Information Management System FAQs

Schools Information Management System (SIMS) advice and support from Suffolk County Council.

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

This is the first school census where the exclusion type 'Suspension' is relevant, but as the collection of exclusions covers two terms, 'Suspension' is only relevant to the second of these two terms. The DfE does not collect the end date of an exclusion, so it is only the start date of the exclusion that is relevant to the use of 'Suspension' rather than 'Fixed Term Exclusion', with the end date of the exclusion being irrelevant.

  • If the start date of such exclusions are in the date range 05/04/2021 to 31/07/2021 (inclusive), the exclusion type must be 'Fixed Term Exclusion'.
  • If the start date of such exclusions are in the date range 01/08/2021 to 31/12/2021 (inclusive), the exclusion type must be 'Suspension'.

Incorrect allocation of the exclusion type will result in validation error 2275 (Suspension or permanent exclusion category is invalid).

To resolve, click on the error in the list of Census validations, this will take you to the pupil’s exclusion screen, Double click on the exclusion and change the type to the correct exclusion type as above.

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 most recent fileset is number 2201, this has been placed in your anycomms miscellaneous folder, the supplier are currently working on 2202 but we do not have a date of when this will be released.

Further filesets may be sent to you in zip form via anycomms, and will 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

Exams Day Survival Kit (PDF, 514KB).

The date for the Autumn Census is Thursday 6 October 2022. Our Census Helpline will be operating from Monday 3 October to Friday 7 October 2022. You can contact the team directly during census week on 01473 260666 from 8.30am to 5pm, Tuesday to Thursday and 8.30am to 12pm on Friday.

All other SIMS queries must be reported via the IT Service Desk on 01473 265555 or via ITServiceDesk@suffolk.gov.uk during that week, and queries regarding the School Census can be directed to the IT Service Desk prior to 17th May, or after Midday on 20th May.

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.

Guidance Documentation can be found via the links on your Census screen within SIMS.net. Go to Routines | Statutory Returns | School Census and to the right of the Census folder you will see a box headed Census Communications, this has links to the ESS Census Handbooks, DfE Guidance, Errors and Resolutions spreadsheet, and the Newsfeed with up to date information regarding the current Census.

Further Guidance Documentation

If you are experiencing this issue, please click here for guidance (PDF, 88KB).

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