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News and Events



CTF Import Issue following SIMS Spring 2018 Release

(Note: All school admin accounts have been emailed with this information)

Further to the email sent to all schools on 21/05/2018, which we now understand not all schools received, we have continued to explore options for how we can assist schools in the data checking exercise that the latest SIMS Upgrade may have made necessary.

Please note: This issue will only affect schools that have imported a CTF into a Pre-Admission Group, after the SIMS Spring 2018 Upgrade has been installed and before Patch 23971 was applied. If you haven’t imported such CTFs you will not have any data to check and correct, however, you will still need to ensure Patch 23971 is installed to prevent you having this issue in the future. If your school receives Network Support internally or from someone other than the HfL ICT Services team (this is for PC/Network support and not SIMS support) then please speak to them to check whether this Patch has been installed; HfL Network Supported schools will have this check performed on your behalf by us, so no need to contact the ICT Service Desk.

In consultation with one of our schools, we have created a new report which will provide a list of contacts that will most likely have been affected by the CTF Import issue, meaning that you will not have to check every contact associated with the affected Pre-Admission Group(s). This should make the process a little less labour intensive, but it may still require admin time to correct any identified data corruption.

The majority of the guidance in the previous email still stands, up until the ‘How to resolve’ section, which is now replaced with the following:

  • Save the attached report file (below) to your machine and then import it into SIMS (Reports > Import in the menu).
  • To run the report, navigate to Reports > Run Report in the menu and expand the Focus folder on the left, then click on the Student folder.
  • In the right hand panel, double click on the report named ‘Potential Contact Issues from CTF Import’.
  • At the prompt, enter the date of the first CTF you imported into a Pre-Admission Group (after the SIMS Spring 2018 upgrade was installed but before Patch 23971 was applied).
  • Place a tick against On Roll in the second panel. It is not clear from the information provided by Capita whether this issue only affects On Roll students, but we advise schools to run the report for On Roll first and then, after checking the listed Contacts (if any) to re-run the report for the other Status types (covered by step 8).
  • If the report output includes any contacts, follow the ‘How to resolve’ steps below.
  • Repeat steps 2 to 6 for each date you imported a CTF into a Pre-Admission Group.
  • Repeat steps 2 to 7, selecting the Status types other than On Roll at step 5. You may wish to tick all of the Status Types except On Roll, so you only have one report to work through, but you have the option to run multiple reports if that works better for you.

How to resolve

For each Contact in the report outputs:

  • Navigate to Focus > Person > Contacts and search for their record.
  • Navigate to panel 4 Associated Students and check that these details are correct.
  • If there is an Applicant listed in this list, for which the Contact should not be associated, click to highlight the Applicant entry and the click on Delete.
  • Correct the other details in the Contact Record (address, telephone numbers, email address, etc.). From the testing performed by the school we consulted with on the attached report, you should see on the report output not only the new address but also the previous address, making it much easier to rectify this element of the record.

You will then be left with missing Contacts on the Applicant records affected. You can either add the Contacts manually via the Focus > Admission > Application menu route, or you can re-import the original CTF(s). YOU MUST ensure that Patch 23971 has been installed successfully before importing the CTF again.

For those of you that have been affected, please be advised that we have provided feedback to Capita on your behalf regarding the level of disruption this issue has caused.

Should you have any queries on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the HfL ICT Service Desk





Improvements to File Downloads from this website

A recent change to the HGfL means that the following file types now download in the correct format when using Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge, without them showing as zip files:

  • .RptDef (SIMS report definition files)
  • .mfs (Census Manifest Fileset)
  • .signature (accompanies .xml files, such as Pay Related Definition files)

When downloading these file types you will now see the correct information in the File Type box, so no longer need to change this to ‘All Files’ and add the relevant extension, if incorrect. You may not see the extension, e.g. .RptDef, at the end of the filename, which will be due to your computer settings and will not prevent the download.



CTF Import Issue

An issue has been identified whereby importing CTF removes address for the student's contact(s). If the new student has a sibling(s) in the school, the import also removes the contact address from

the sibling record(s).

Capita have provided patch no. 23690 so that addresses are not removed upon importing CTFs.

We have authorised this patch to all schools. We recommend that this patch is deployed before importing CTFs. If however, you wish to import CTF before the patch has been deployed, please untick the Student Address and Student Contacts via Routines | Data In | CTF | Import CTF. Importing or re-importing CTFs after deployment of the patch will restore the siblings’ contact addresses. Please liaise with your Network Manager to arrange deployment of this patch.



EYFS Year Groups Reference Sheet 2018/2019

An updated version of the annual EYFS Year Groups Reference Sheet has been produced, providing an explanation as to the different year groups within EYFS cohorts, and now includes details for summer born children who have Delayed Entry to Reception. This is essential to ensuring that you allocate children to the correct Year Groups in SIMS and can be found here



CTF 17 Issue

Unfortunately, there is a problem with the coding of CTF Export that can result in the Service Child indicator being assigned to pupils in the CTF file that are not actually Service Children. Therefore any CTF files you have imported since 01/08/2017 could be affected.

Update: Capita have now produced a Patch, number 23553, which we released along with the SIMS Autumn 2017 Upgrade.



New CTF Types in SIMS – DO NOT USE

In response to the DfE Statutory Guidance on Children Missing Education (CME), Capita have added two new Export CTF types into SIMS: CME – Joiners and CME – Leavers. Please note that these new file types are NOT to be used by Hertfordshire schools. We have checked with Hertfordshire County Council and they have advised that schools in Hertfordshire are to continue using the processes already in place, i.e. the online form on Solero to report on children that join your school mid-year and the manual notification of ‘Removal from Roll’ form for children that leave your school mid-year. Please note that for the latter we have produced a SIMS report that you can run from the student record, which will pre-populate several of the fields on the form – this report can be downloaded from here



Reporting issue in the SIMS Summer 2017 Release affecting CLA data

Until the latest SIMS Release, users were able to see information on CLA (Children Looked After) in reports, even when they weren’t entitled to view the Welfare panel on a student record (in particular Class Teachers). In the latest release this is no longer the case and only users in SIMS that have the higher permissions needed to view the Welfare panel are able to see this information in reports.

This will mainly affect any report with a custom Excel template, including those produced by HfL ICT Services, as the CLA data being restricted will break the report. Word reports should run as usual, although RTF templates may show a tag, in angled brackets, rather than the CLA information the user expects to see.

We have updated some of our reports to account for this change and these can be downloaded from the following links:

The ‘HCC Electronic Exclusions’ report should now no longer run at all if the user does not have Third Party Reporting or access to the Welfare Panel, as CLA information is vital for the report. The other reports will flag up if CLA data is missing due to insufficient access rights.

For schools using the PA Plus assessment reports, these will appear to run from SIMS as normal, but then the Report Dashboard will show all the Year Group tick boxes as ‘greyed out’, with apparently no assessment data present. These reports have also been updated to overcome this issue, and are available to download from the PA Plus subscription website, in the ‘My resources’ area. An email detailing all the recent changes to these reports will be sent to subscribing schools shortly.

If a user needs to be able to view/analyse CLA data but does not have the relevant permissions in SIMS, then we have provided a workaround on the System Manager page on the Grid (see here) for importing a Custom Permissions Group. This is preferable to making them a member of those groups that can view CLA data as those groups also provide access to other high level/sensitive information.

We will update other reports we have created in due course, e.g. the Primary AM7 Toolkits, and will communicate the changes to schools. In the meantime, if a user cannot run reports containing CLA information, they should either ask someone else in the school with the required elevated permissions to run the reports for them, or apply the System Manager Group fix, as above.