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News and Events



Further update regarding CTF Import Issue causing possible corruption to Contact records in SIMS

This is to further update schools, following our previous communications regarding the CTF Issue in SIMS that has potentially corrupted Contact data (the most recent of which being an email sent to all HfL SIMS supported schools on 19th July 2018).

In an effort to collate all of the information provided to date and ensure schools have the latest guidance available to them, please see below a document that outlines the issue in SIMS, how to identify if it could affect your school and how to use tools provided by Capita to check your data’s integrity. Also below is a PowerPoint presentation from Capita, which is referenced in the document, that schools should use to facilitate the data checking process.

We have made 2 patches available to all schools via SOLUS3 (detailed in the documentation) and these can be deployed in the usual way.

Note: Capita have taken the proactive precautionary decision to suspend some of their Online Services/Modules, as detailed in the below documentation, and so it is advisable for schools to take the required action as soon as possible, not only to ensure the integrity of your data but also to enable you to reactivate these suspended services.


Notes on version 2.2 of the HfL document:

We have added a couple of points of clarification in the document, including the need for all schools to deploy/re-deploy Patch 24213 towards the end of the process (in step 5), regardless of whether this patch has already been applied. This is a clean-up script that needs to be run to ensure the integrity of your data and to prevent any possible CTF mismatch from taking place going forward. Also, schools only need to look into the results for Check 99 in Database Diagnostics, as per the updated PowerPoint.



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.



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



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.