School ICT News Bulletin No. 180 - 08/04/2011

Published by Children’s Services


SIMS Suite Customers Services Managers Newsletter March 2011


 

Welcome to the March 2011 CSM SIMS Newsletter which contains important items that we would like to bring to your attention, including advice on the SIMS Spring Release and Summer School Census. The newsletter has been broken down between the different phases for ease of reference.

We hope that you all have an enjoyable Easter break.

Content:

  1. IMPORTANT INFORMATION

    All Schools & Academies:

    Adding the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday in SIMS

  2. SIMS SPRING 2011 RELEASE

  3. HOUSEKEEPING ROUTINES


 

ALL SCHOOLS

1. IMPORTANT NEWS ITEMS

Adding the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday in SIMS.

Schools in England can take 29 April 2011 off for the Royal Wedding without breaching any regulation. Or, if closing already for Easter or a non–contact day, they can take an alternative day off in 2010–11.

These changes reduce the minimum length of the school year by one day (two sessions) for 2010–11. They also reduce the maximum number of days a teacher must be available for work, and the number of hours they must be available to perform their duties.

  1. If 29 April 2011 falls outside any existing planned holiday, then this should be added to the current academic year as a bank holiday. This can be done either via the School Diary or via the Edit Academic Year wizard.
    • Please be aware that any future attendance marks already entered against that day will be overwritten.
    • To use the school diary please go to Focus | School | School Diary
    • Ensure Academic Year 2010/2011 is highlighted
    • Right–click on the calendar area and choose ‘New Public Holiday’
    • Enter a description of ‘Royal Wedding’
    • Select a category of Bank Holiday
    • Ensure the start time is set to 29/04/2011
    • Click ok, or to edit via the academic year wizard please go to Routines | School | Edit Academic Year
    • Ensure that Academic year 2010/2011 is selected and click on OK
    • This will take you into the Edit an Academic Year Wizard
    • Click on Next five times until you reach the ‘Define public holidays’ screen
    • Click on Add holiday
    • Choose a category of Bank Holiday
    • Enter the date of April 29th using the calendar button
    • Enter Royal Wedding in the description and click on OK
    • Click next again and then click Update to save this change.
  2. If 29 April 2011 is a day when the school is already closed, then the extra day that is allowable should be added as an inset day for whichever date has been decided by the school.
    • To use the school diary please go to Focus | School | School Diary
    • Ensure Academic Year 2010/2011 is highlighted
    • Right–click on the calendar area and choose ‘New Staff Training’
    • Enter a description of ‘Royal Wedding’
    • Select a category of Staff Training Day
    • Ensure the session is set to the date that the school will be closed and that both AM and PM session are ticked
    • Click ok, or to edit via the academic year wizard please go to Routines | School | Edit Academic Year
    • Ensure that Academic year 2010/2011 is selected and click on OK
    • This will take you into the Edit an Academic Year Wizard
    • Click on Next four times until you reach the ‘Define teacher training days’ screen
    • Click on Add
    • Choose a category of Staff Training Day
    • Enter the date that the school is closed
    • Enter Royal Wedding in the description and click on OK
    • Click next twice more and then click Update to save this change.

Please be aware that any future attendance marks already entered against that day will be overwritten.


 

PRIMARY SCHOOLS

2. SIMS SPRING 2011 RELEASE

The SIMS Spring 2011 Release will be available in early May and prepares the way for the launch of the new Discover software. This powerful visual analysis tool uses an intuitive graphical interface enabling users to easily analyse data.

  • Enhancements have also been made to Alternative Curriculum, Assessing Pupil Progress (APP), Behaviour, Report Card, Homepage, Registrations and Admissions, SIMS Learning Gateway (SLG).
  • Statutory Returns will include the Summer School Census 2011 functionality.


 

3. HOUSEKEEPING ROUTINES

Please find time to follow a few routines you may wish to consider carrying out within the SIMS suite through April. Further Housekeeping Routine reminders can be found within SIMS | Documentation | Year Books and are a valuable source of information to remind you about key processes which have been detailed Month by Month and by Module for ease of reference.

Admissions: Allocate applicants to admission groups

Statutory Returns: Carry out dry runs of the Summer School Census

Attendance: Print a Registration Certificate for pupil/students

Dinner Money: If your Catering Year starts in April, create a new Catering Year for 2011/2012 in Dinner Money Setup


 

Author: Capita

Services To Schools 2011/12

An online version of this year’s ICT offering from the Services to Schools brochure can now be accessed direct from ICT Solutions website.

All contracts information is located in the Contracts and Services tab which can be found on the home page of the site, inclusive of:

  • Overview – a summary of the service
  • Features – a description of the service
  • Benefits
  • Costs

To find out more about this year’s services to schools and to see the new format, please visit by using the following link http://www.ictsolutions.norfolk.gov.uk/s2s/default.aspx

Author: Judy Houghton

Data Cleansing in Readiness for Moving to SIMS

You can start this now!! Please do not leave this to the last minute. There is no need to wait until you hear from the Project Team, who will remind you that this work needs to be completed. Details and the latest version of the guidance document can be found on the ICT Solutions website. By either going to the SIMS area and using the link to the guidance document which can be found in the Training Rollout Dates box or alternatively by visiting the following link http://www.ictsolutions.norfolk.gov.uk/page.aspx?id=776

Author: Carole Barwell

ICT Services to Schools Project Invitation to Schools Workshops No.3

Thank you to all schools’ staff who attended the School Workshops held in November and January to discuss the ICT requirements specific to Norfolk’s schools – a summary of key messages from attendees at these workshops can be found at: ICT Services - School Workshops.

As promised, we have arranged a third series of School Workshops to take place in May 2011 to have more detailed discussions on specific service areas that are important to schools. Please attend one of the workshop days listed below for either the morning or afternoon session or for both sessions if you are able.

As before, the workshops are suitable for Head Teachers, Staff involved in leadership and management of ICT, Teaching and non–teaching staff.

 

The dates and venues are:

 

  • Workshop 1A Thursday 5th May

Session 1 – 10.30 to 12.30 Learning On–Line

Lunch 12.30 to 13.00

Session 2 – 13.00 to 15.00 Broadband and Support

Venue : South Green Park Enterprise Centre, Mattishall, Dereham, NR20 3JY


  • Workshop 2A Wednesday 11th May

Session 1 – 10.30 to 12.30 Learning On–Line

Lunch 12.30 to 13.00

Session 2 – 13.00 to 15.00 Data Management and MIS

Venue : West Norfolk Professional Development Centre, Kilhams Way, Kings Lynn, PE30 2HU


  • Workshop 3A Friday 13th May

Session 1 – 10.30 to 12.30 Learning On–Line

Lunch 12.30 to 13.00

Session 2 – 13.00 to 15.00 Data Management and MIS

Venue : Professional Development Centre Woodside Road, Norwich, NR7 9QL


  • Workshop 1B Monday 16th May

Session 1 – 10.30 to 12.30 Broadband and Support

Lunch 12.30 to 13.00

Session 2 – 13.00 to 15.00 Learning On–Line

Venue : West Norfolk Professional Development Centre, Kilhams Way, Kings Lynn, PE30 2HU


  • Workshop 2B Thursday 19th May

Session 1 – 10.30 to 12.30 Data Management and MIS

Lunch 12.30 to 13.00

Session 2 – 13.00 to 15.00 Learning On–Line

Venue : South Green Park Enterprise Centre, Mattishall, Dereham, NR20 3JY


  • Workshop 3B Friday 20th May

Session 1 – 10.30 to 12.30 Broadband and Support

Lunch 12.30 to 13.00

Session 2 – 13.00 to 15.00 Learning On–Line

Venue : Club 101, Norwich City Football Club, Carrow Road, Norwich

 

To book a place on a workshop session please e–mail jo.north@norfolk.gov.uk with your preferred date and any dietary requirements. We look forward to seeing you on the day.

For further information on the Project, please visit ICT Services.

Karen O’Kane
Head of ICT Services

Paul Fisher
Assistant Director,
Business and Compliance,
Children’s Services

John Leigh
ICT Business Partner

Author: Jo North

Important Security Information

Audience: Network Managers, ICT Coordinators, schools moving to the Capita SIMS Hosted MIS

Microsoft Windows XP Security Information

This article applies to your school if you have devices running Microsoft’s Windows XP 32-bit Service Pack 2 (SP2) or previous.

Support for Microsoft Windows XP with SP2 ended on July 13th, 2010.

What does this mean for my school?

Microsoft is no longer providing support, or important security updates, for Service Pack versions of Windows XP prior to SP3. Essentially, these are software updates from Microsoft to protect devices from viruses, spyware and other malware, or that improve Windows reliability, including new drivers for hardware.

There are a total of 1,174 fixes included with XP SP3.

The minimum requirement for any school wishing to use the Capita SIMS Hosted Management Information System (MIS) is Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3.

If your school has a contract with ICT Solutions that includes access to a Field Support Technician (FST), then you can rest assured that the necessary work to bring all of your Windows XP devices up to date with SP3 is ongoing.

If you are planning to carry out the upgrade to Microsoft Windows XP SP3 yourself, or in conjunction with alternative ICT support arrangements, then you should be aware that there are some potential pitfalls that should be considered and mitigated against.  For the most up to date guidance we recommend that you check the Microsoft Support website; the following links are a good starting point:

Please note that 64-bit versions of Windows XP do not support SP3.

Please be aware that neither ICT Solutions, nor Norfolk County Council, can be held responsible for any loss or corruption of data, operating system or hardware failure, or disruption to business or learning caused by any upgrade to Microsoft Windows XP (or other operating systems) that is not undertaken by employees of ICT Solutions.

Update Your Password Now!

Many more services that schools have access to are web–based and online, or in ‘the cloud’. Some of these services hold important, personal and sometimes sensitive data. We are implementing a strategy to make access to these services easier so that you only need to remember one username and password. Your Norfolk ID. In line with Norfolk County Council’s password policy and best practice guidelines, we are asking all staff in schools to increase the strength of their passwords.

This is mandatory for all school staff who need to access the Capita SIMS Hosted MIS.

What do I need to do?

ICT Solutions has made it easy for you to change the password associated with your Norfolk ID. You can change your password anytime at https://password.nsix.org.ukand we advise you to change your password regularly.

When do I need to do it?

As soon as possible! For schools moving to the Capita SIMS Hosted MIS, your staff must change their passwords before migration; failure to do so could result in a temporary loss of access to the service.

How do I do it?

For school staff, passwords must be at least 8 characters in length and additionally meet the following rules.

  1. Must have at least one character from each of the character sets A–Z, a–z and 0–9.
  2. When passwords are changed, you may not use any of the last four passwords you have previously set
  3. Passwords must not contain sequential alphanumeric sequences with a run of three or greater (e.g. ABC or 123)
  4. Passwords must not contain identical alpha numeric sequences with a run of three or greater (e.g. AAA)
  5. Passwords must not contain any phrase derived from the word password or similar.
  6. Passwords must not contain your username.
  7. Passwords must not contain your first name.
  8. Passwords must not contain your surname.

We have implemented a service that makes it easy for your to change the password associated with your Norfolk ID and adhere to the 8 rules at https://password.nsix.org.uk.

Services that are currently linked to your Norfolk ID and password and that will be automatically updated when you change your password include:

  • Capita SIMS Hosted MIS
  • Google Apps for Education
  • Fronter (not all schools at this point as ongoing integration)

The list of services is growing!

Remember; treat your password like your toothbrush!

Author: Mike Pickett

Anti-Virus Licensing

Please be aware if your school is not renewing a Silver Plus contract with ICT Solutions for 2011–12 you may need to purchase new anti virus licences, as these could have been provided free of charge to some schools as part of the Silver Plus contract 2010–11

Author: Steve Everitt

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