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Product Development for Data Retention

Product Development for Data Retention

Updated with a new video of the bulk student delete process for Autumn


Notification Updates

25/09/2018: After we packaged the Autumn 2018 release together for the Beta version, we continued further deep integrated testing on the last part of the student delete. This last step is to delete the central Person Record if the student role was the only role that Person had, this is explained in the video below at the point of 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Therefore, for the Autumn 2018 release of SIMS we will still include the last three data domains in the bulk student delete option, but felt it was safer to not deliver in the main customer release the last ‘Delete All Student Data’ option. We raise your awareness to this now as this option is present in the beta but will not be delivered in the release in November. If you need further clarification, please contact

28/08/2018: We have now completed the development of the bulk student delete routine in SIMS.  This builds on the initial phase which we released in the Summer version of SIMS and now allows for the complete delete of student records.

How will this work?

To help explain the process, I have recorded a video for SIMS customers to review what has been completed.  While the development is complete, we are now working on other GDPR priorities, the team would welcome feedback on the updates.  So please review the video and then provide your comments in the feedback form below.

The Video…

Additional Information

Please feel free to share this video with anyone who will benefit from knowing what new functionality will be available in the Autumn release.  The direct link is:

The developers are now working of some GDPR features to do with PLinks between SIMS and FMS and then will start to relax some of the rules prohibiting users to delete members of staff from SIMS.


Knowing what you think about this routine is important, even if it is to know we are doing it right.  Please use the form below to submit your comments.

New Form of Attack

Good morning, it has come to light that all versions of windows (post XP) are vulnerable to a new form of attack.

This means that if a user downloads a picture and opens it on their machine, it would be possible for an outside agent to run anything they want to on that machine, cryptolockers, keyloggers, trojans, etc.

Please remind your staff to follow their protocols and not download anything that is not from a trusted source, and to be especially careful with regards to images sent through e-mail.
If you have queries please speak to your managed service engineer, or contact the help desk.

Kind regards,

The Connect-Up Support Team

The SIMS Parent Lite App


With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May 2018, schools will have new requirements around the way they use pupil and parent data.

Included within your SIMS annual entitlement fee, the SIMS Parent Lite app helps schools comply with the new GDPR data requirements, by providing a simple way to collect, manage and handle information by obtaining accurate data securely from parents.

Connect up are rolling out Parent App Lite to the schools if you would like this sooner please contact us.

Sims Parent For Schools Click Here

Parent All Lite Resources Click Here

Parent App Lite FQA Click Here

For more information please email us at

SIMS 7 – CTF Issue

SIMS 7 – CTF Issue

Background information

What is CTF?

CTF stands for “Common Transfer File”. This is the mechanism used for loading new pupil applicants and transfers from other schools into SIMS.

What is the issue?

Incorrect matching of applicants and on roll students imported by CTF into your SIMS7 database may have linked new pupil records to an existing contact. Additionally, some data on the existing contact record may have been changed.

Will this issue have impacted my school(s)?

Not all schools will be impacted.

  • If your school does not use the CTF process you will not be impacted (this can be checked in SIMS CTF log, from Routines | CTF Import | View History Log). You will not need to take any further action.
  • If your school uses the CTF process you must complete steps 1 to 4 (described below). Your school may still not have been impacted, but you must follow the process outlined nonetheless, to confirm whether you have been impacted and respond accordingly.

Under what circumstance would my school(s) be impacted?

This would happen if a combination of the name, title, gender and relationship of a pupil’s contact record in the CTF matched the same elements of the contact of another applicant, on roll pupil or leaver already held in your database.

One type of example would be:

  • Already on SIMS
  • Pupil = Joanne Bradshaw, with a Contact/Parent = Wendy Bradshaw, Mother, Female (original)
  • New CTF applicant
  • Pupil = Jamie Bradshaw, with a Contact/Parent = Wendy Bradshaw, Mother, Female (new/different Wendy)

In this instance as both pupils have a parent called Wendy Bradshaw, identified also as being Female and with a relationship of Mother, the new CTF applicant would be linked to the original Wendy Bradshaw. The original Wendy Bradshaw address, telephone number and email would also be updated with the new/different Wendy Bradshaw’s details.

Which data may have been altered?

Address, phone number and email address fields on the contact record may be incorrect.

What steps do I need to take?

Please see the following document for a detailed description of the steps that must be taken. How to guide

The following description is a summary of this.

Step 1 – Patch SIMS

It is important the new workstation patch released on Friday 17th August 2018 is run against your school(s) so that both the new diagnostics and corrected CTF logic is in place. Depending on your current SIMS release version the following workstation patch must be applied:

  • Spring 2018 workstation patch 1 – CTF Import & Check 99 Improvements.
  • Summer 2018 workstation patch 1 – CTF Import & Check 99 Improvements.

Capita hosted SIMS customers are already on the SIMS 2018 Summer Release (7.182) and therefore the “Summer 2018 workstation patch 1” will be applied on Friday 17th August 2018 outside of working hours.

Step 2 – Run the diagnostics

As part of the patch (applied in Step 1) an extra check “Check 99” has been added to Database Diagnostics which is run from within the SIMS. “Check 99” will output data identified as possibly incorrect.

Please see the following report for detail on this diagnostic tool. Diagnostic guide

Step 3 – Complete remedial action (if appropriate)

If the diagnostic tool (Check 99) has not identified any actions to take, you can skip this step (Step 3) and complete Step 4.

If potential output data is identified by the diagnostics tool (Check 99) manual checks will need to be made by your school and contact data potentially updated. Please see the following document for details on how to do this. How to guide

Step 4 – Run the clean-up patch

Deploy via Solus the clean-up patch 24213 or contact your usual SIMS support team. This script will clean-up back-end applicant data associated with step 3.

Capita hosted customers can request the deployment of Patch 24213 using this online form. Request Form


Any staff member attempting to run a CFT export/import will be challenged in SIMS as to whether they have completed step 1 to 4 described above. It is imperative that your school has completed these steps before any further CTF imports are run.

On login to SIMS a reminder splash screen will draw your (and other administrative and key staff’s) attention to the CTF issue. This reminder screen will be removed only once it has been confirmed on the CTF explore/import page that your school has completed Steps 1 to Step 4.

If I need help implementing patches, running diagnostics or making changes, who can I speak to?

Your usual SIMS support team will be able to help you with these processes.

Exams Days 15th and 22nd August 2018

Arrangements for exam results download days 15th and 22nd August 2018


Dear colleague


I write with an update on arrangements for the support of exams download days. Please pass this information on to your school’s examinations officer as I may not have their contact details.


Results Day Survival Kit

The key to a successful and stress-free download day is preparation. Please read and act upon the advice in the Results Day Survival Kit in advance of download day


OSMIS Web Site

We will update the Examinations area of the OSMIS Web Site with the very latest information – please refer back to this site for late breaking information


Arrangements for Support on Download Days (15th and 22nd August)

The OSMIS Service Desk will be open from 7am on download days. As the volume of calls is difficult to predict (depends on factors outside our control), we ask that you log calls for support via email wherever possible ( and provide a direct dial number on which we can call you back on. Logging calls in this way will mean that we are able to prioritise calls appropriately and are able to provide a solution at first contact in more cases. Of course 01618831290 is still there but we ask for your support in ensuring that we manage the load and deliver the best service possible at this busy time.


Do I Need to Apply the SIMS Summer Release?

If the school is not making use of PI functionality in SIMS (using SISRA, Datasec or similar), then the SIMS Summer Release is not required to download results to the SIMS system.


Are There Any Database Patches I Need to Apply?

This all depends on your intended use of SIMS but at the time of writing the following patches have been released by Capita:

  • Fileset 1002 – Required if the school has previously imported Fileset 1001
    • The earlier fileset did not include the latest Examindirection.txt file which lists the files to be used for the PI detail reports this year. Please click here to download fileset 1002 which will need to be unzipped and then imported via Tools>Setups>Import Fileset
  • 24126 – Correction to how single Science qualifications count in Attainment 8
    • This patch corrects an error when calculating the Attainment 8 figure for a student who has only taken two single sciences.
  • 24015 – Update to Assessment Manager Exams Gradeset JC A/2
    • This patch updates the Grade Points in the Assessment Manager Gradeset for JC A/2 to:
      • A Grade 25
      • B Grade 20
      • C Grade 15
      • D Grade 10
      • E Grade 5
      • U Unclassified 0
      • X No result 0
      • Q Pending 0
  • 23876 – Update to Assessment Manager Exams Gradeset JC 41
    • This patch updates the Assessment Manager Exams Gradeset JC 41 to the correct values (this gradeset is commonly used for double Science awards).
  • 23539 – Update to JC Gradesets for GCSE 9-1 Short Courses
    • Applying patch 23539 will update Exams JC Gradesets JC 40/2 Result and JC 44/2 Result and enable the import of 9-1 short course basedata.

And Finally

If you have any concerns regarding the download of Exam Results, then please don’t wait – log a call and we’ll be in touch to assist.


With best wishes for a smooth and successful download day

Summer Holidays

Dear All,

With the start of the summer holidays the Connect-Up help desk will now be operating at a reduced level, this is due to staff members taking holiday and also major work projects.

We hope you understand and wish you a peaceful and happy summer.


Connect-Up Support Team.

Third Party Software

Dear Customers,

We are receiving a an ever increasing number of calls, on the help desk regarding third party software products (i.e. Classroom Monitor, Medical Tracker, Call Parents, Parent Pay, Inventry etc.) and we are rapidly approaching the point where it will affect our ability to fulfil our core responsibility to school of supporting SIMS and their statutory responsibilities.

In light of this we thought it would be best to clarify the position of Connect-Up, regarding the support of third party products.

Connect-Up has the responsibility, under the SIMS SLA, to assist 3rd party suppliers apply patches, facilitate remote access for investigation and/or assisting with network or SIMS configurations required prior to installation.

We would advise any customers purchasing 3rd products to ensure they have also purchased installation from the supplier. Our recommendation for the next step with this is to contact the supplier of the software and ask them when they can install this for you.

They may need a remote connection to the server/computer that this needs setting up on, if that is the case can you please put them in touch with us as we are more than happy to facilitate a remote connection for them to fulfil the installation.

Please bear in mind that we will need an Email confirmation from a senior member of staff at the school pre-authorising us to give them access to your server/computer to make the relevant changes, this is to cover both yourselves and us under GDPR.

If the school has not got installation included in the purchase of any 3rd party software, an option for you as a school would be that if you do have a managed service contract with us, you are more than welcome to use their time as you please whilst they are in your school (that would need to be agreed with senior staff within the school and the engineer made aware before their site visit).

As a last option if installation has not been purchased and the customer is unable to setup the 3rd party product purchased then Connect-Up would have to charge for a dedicated engineer to install the product.

School Summer Census 2018

Census date 17/05/2018

It will soon be another National Census Return for all school types. The Summer Census date is the 17th of May 2018


 Key Dates

  • Census date 17/05/2018
  • Attendance collected from 01/01/2018 to 01/04/2018
  • Exclusions collected from 01/09/2017 to 31/12/2017
  • Free School Meal Eligibility collected from 19/01/2018 to 17/05/2018
  • Learner Support collected from 01/08/2017 to 17/05/2018


Essential docs:

Preparing for the School Census (Primary, All Through, PRUS Primary Phase)

Preparing for the School Census (Secondary, All-Through, PRU’S Secondary phase)


Producing the Autumn Census:

Producing the School Census Summer 2018 – (Nursery)

Producing the School Census Summer 2018 – (Primary)

Producing the School Census Summer 2018 – (Secondary)

Producing the School Census Summer 2018 – (Special)

Producing the School Census Summer 2018 – (All-Through)


Errors and Validation:

Census Validation Errors and Resolutions 2017-18


Quick Reference Sheets:

Quick Reference Sheet – School Census Producing Reports


Please ensure you check the Essential Reading section of our website for any last minute information on census day before you publish your census to the local authority or DfE.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0113 2105008.


Updated 11/06/2018 at 15:30 – COLLECT Query 1767Q (End Dates for Eligibility for FSM)

Please note the following excerpt from the DfE ‘Summer School Census 2018 – Update No 2’

COLLECT query 1767q

There appears to be some confusion around the new validation query recently introduced to COLLECT which will trigger for any pupil who has an fsm end date between 1 April 2018 and 17 May 2018 recorded on the summer census.

There are two possible courses of action to resolve this:

  • If a pupil was eligible for fsm at 1 April 2018 and therefore has their fsm eligibility protected as part of the universal credit roll out until 31 March 2022 then either remove the fsm end date from the fsm record in COLLECT or update the school MIS and resubmit the census return.
  • If a pupil’s fsm eligibility has ended because the parent has withdrawn their claim for fsm then an fsm end date will be accepted as long as a notepad entry explaining this has been provided.

Updated 08/06/2018 at 15:10 – Finding out if your return will trigger the new DfE validation query on FSM

The SIMS Free School Meals Eligibility Detail Report can be used to find out if your return is likely to trigger the new DfE validation query on FSM.

If the End Date column includes an end date between 01/04/2018 and the 17/05/2018 (inclusive) and the UK Country column has a UK country of ‘England’ or is blank (the DfE takes a blank UK country to mean ‘England’), we understand that the new DfE validation query will be triggered.  Consequently, the validation query will no longer appear if the end date is removed and/or the UK country is set to a UK Country other than ‘England’, e.g. ‘Wales’, ‘Scotland’ or ‘Northern Ireland’.

We understand that the only circumstances where the DfE will accept this validation being triggered is where the parent has withdrawn their child’s FSM claim, in which case a suitable notepad entry will be accepted.

Added 07/06/2018 at 14:55 – Important information from the DfE regarding FSM

Please note that the DfE has provided the following information.


Following the introduction of universal credit a pupils FSM status will be protected until either the end of the universal credit roll out period i.e. 31 March 2022 or until the end of their current phase of education. This means that:

  • any claimant who is in receipt of free school meals at 1 April 2018 should continue to receive free school meals whilst Universal Credit is rolled out. This applies even if their circumstances change and they would no longer meet the eligibility criteria
  • any claimant who gains eligibility for free school meals after 1 April 2018 and until the end of universal credit rollout (31 March 2022) should continue to receive free school meals during the Universal Credit rollout period. This applies even if their circumstances change and they would no longer meet the eligibility criteria

Consequently, it is not expected that FSM end dates will be entered by schools during the transitional period – with the exceptions being:

  • where a parent has withdrawn the pupils FSM claim
  • where a pupil transfers from another UK country – their non-English FSM must have an FSM end date

Initial analysis of the current summer school census collection has shown that a number of schools and local authorities have recorded fsm end dates for pupils of 1 April 2018 or later. Although this does not currently produce a validation error it may impact pupil premium funding.

As a result, we are introducing a new validation query to COLLECT which will trigger for any pupil with an fsm end date of 1 April 2018 or later. This will be applied to all schools regardless of return status. Therefore schools which were previously authorised may now revert back and schools who have not yet loaded returns may trigger the query on loading to COLLECT.

This will be in place by Monday 11 June 2018.

Thank you in advance


Updated 24/05/2018 at 14:10 – Validation Errors 1852 and 1855

Unfortunately, there is bug in our Census applications that results in the data that schools have provided in the Early Years panel not being reflected in the XML return file for pupils with a DOB of 31/03/2016. Where this problem has occurred it will definitely trigger DfE validation errors 1852 and is also likely to trigger DfE validation error 1855. If your school is receiving validation error 1855, this is almost certainly the explanation, but this can be confirmed by checking the basic details report for the presence of a pupil with a DOB of 31/03/2016. I apologise for this mistake.

Patch 24032 has been provided via SOLUS 3 to deal with this issue.


Updated 17/05/2018 at 15:25 – Persistent Absentees in Table 15 of the DfE Summary Report

Although the DfE specification for this aspect of their DfE Summary Report does not look as though it is correct, the actual way the DfE has coded the count for persistent absentees seems to be correct and can be described as follows.

The total number pupils with attendance in the return file that are aged between 5 and 15 (inclusive) on the 31/08/2017, who are not boarders on Census Day, where the sum of authorised and unauthorised absences (excluding absences for unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances), is greater than or equal to 10% of possible attendances.

In the past we have found that schools have questioned this calculation because they have compared the total with what is found in one of their SIMS attendance reports.  However, such reports are unlikely to be comparable to the DfE calculation, as they are unlikely to have the same filtering in place.


Added 17/05/2018 at 09:45 – Validation Errors 1852 and 1855

Unfortunately, there is bug in our Census applications that results in the data that schools have provided in the Early Years panel not being reflected in the XML return file for pupils with a DOB of 31/03/2016.  Where this problem has occurred it will definitely trigger DfE validation errors 1852 and is also likely to trigger DfE validation error 1855.  If your school is receiving validation error 1855, this is almost certainly the explanation, but this can be confirmed by checking the basic details report for the presence of a pupil with a DOB of 31/03/2016.  I apologise for this mistake on our part and I can assure you that we will provide a patch to resolve the issue ASAP.  I will keep you informed or our progress via this newsfeed.



The DfE has provided suppliers with an update (version 1.1) of their validation and summary report files to deal what are likely to be minor issues for most schools.

We will be including these revised DfE files in Fileset 902, which we have provide via SOLUS 3.

The DfE has indicated the following changes to their validation compared to their baseline version (version 1.0).

  • 1601Q – Please check: Pupil’s age is out of range for school type.
  • 3140 – Child's extended hours not provided or out of the range of 0 to 15 hours.
  • 5220 – The disability access fund indicator is only available for pupils with funded or extended hours.
  • School validation for a Special School is now determined by the Phase rather then the Intake.

The DfE has indicated that the heading in the summary report has been updated to decribe the version accurately, i.e. from ‘Beta’ to ‘Revised’.

Added 20/04/2018 at 18:45 – Fileset 901  : This Fileset has been released to all Connect-up Schools


Updated 24/04/2018 at 10:40 – Nationality and Country of Birth

Please note that Nationality and Country of Birth will be included in School Census for the last time in School Census Summer 2018.

The DfE has not yet made its final decision regarding inclusion of Proficiency in English for the Spring Census.


Updated 11/04/2018 at 09:30 – 3 Migration Related Items 

As you know the DfE have informed us that they are planning to remove the following items from the School Census Autumn 2018 specification onwards.  However, it has come to our attention that some areas of the media are reporting that these items will also be dropped from School Census Summer 2018.  We have checked with the DfE and they have confirmed that they are still planning to collect the first two of these items as normal for School Census Summer 2018.

  1. Pupil Nationality
  2. Pupil Country of Birth
  3. Pupil Proficiency in English

Updated 10/04/2018 at 12:30 – Version 901 of Series 900 Filesets

Fileset 901 

The DfE has now provided suppliers with the baseline version (version 1.0) of their validation and summary report files.

We will include these files in Fileset 901, which we will make available ASAP from SOLUS 3 and as a download from My Account.

The DfE has indicated the following changes to their validation compared to their Beta release

  • Rule 1867: Year corrected from 2016 to 2017
  • Rule 1868: Year corrected from 2016 to 2017
  • Rule 3080: Error message updated
  • Rule 3085: Error message updated
  • Rule 3090: Error message updated
  • Rule 1852: Now copes with the Funded Hours element being completely missing
  • Rule 1601: Updated

The DfE has indicated the following changes to their summary report compared to the Beta release

  • Table 14: Minor amendments
  • Table 15: Minor amendments

Key Stage Assessment Returns

Important information for Key Stage Returns

Instructions for 2018 Key Stage Assessment Returns via Capita SIMS .

Connect-Up Support Services GDPR Preperations.

The upcoming changes to the data privacy law are very extensive and daunting to schools.  Connect-Up has continued its approach of producing informed briefings, toolkit focused training courses and hands-on practical workshops, in order to provide the skills your school will need to meet these new complicated and legal requirements from May 2018.

Part of the process that all schools should be doing is to check that companies who process data on your behalf are making the same preparation efforts for the new law that you in school are making.  The majority of companies are simply adding details to their websites (Connect-up are doing this as well) but this requires you to actively search for these.  Connect-Up is trying to make to process simpler by contacting you directly with our standard processor letter which explains the steps we take when processing any from you in a legal and secure manner.  Please click the link below for a copy of our letter.

Connect-Up Processor Letter

Don’t forget that the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force on the 25th of May and that we offer a wide range of training and consultancy on data protection to our schools including

All Staff Briefings

SLT Briefings

Data Lead / Chief Privacy Officer Training

Gatekeepers Training

Progress Check / GAP Analysis Consultancy

If you would like to request further information or discuss your school’s data compliance, please feel free to contact me.

Kindest regards
Peter Brookes
School Compliance Advisor/Statutory Consultant
Connect-Up Support Services