Items related to the CTF import contact issue are excluded from the newsfeed, as specific information for that area is available from our CTF 17/18 Contact Issue newsfeed.


IMPORTANT: 2019 Spring Release awareness regarding CTF imports


Date 02/07/2019 13:00

Following our previous note regarding CTF imports for SIMS Spring 2019, we can confirm that a patch to address this will be available by Friday 5th July.

The patch will be included in the SIMS Summer 2019 release and will not affect those that have already applied the patch to the SIMS Spring 2019 release. The SIMS Summer 2019 release will be delayed until next week (w/c 8th June) as a result.



We have identified a specific scenario which has affected CTF imports for a handful of schools who have taken the SIMS Spring 2019 release.

The specific scenario arises when a contact exists in SIMS and an imported CTF contains this existing SIMS contact (e.g. sibling) and a new contact with the same surname, forename and gender.  Following the CTF import the new contacts telephone number and email address are appended to the existing contact held in SIMS. The pupil associated with the new contact (in the CTF file) is also incorrectly linked to the existing contact held in SIMS.

A database patch which addresses this scenario has been developed and is currently being tested.  Testing will continue over the weekend and we will provide a further update on Monday 1 July.  Our advice is not to use the CTF mechanism to import pupil and contact details from other schools until this database patch is available and applied to SIMS.

Capita ESS apologises for any impact to our customers that may be affected.  We will keep you informed as information becomes available. 


Update 04/04/2019

IMPORTANT: SIMS 2019 Spring Release – CTF Incident (Update on 08 April 2019)


IMPORTANT: SIMS 2019 Spring Release – CTF Incident (Update on 08 April 2019)

SIMS Spring 2019 Database Patch 24836 is available via Solus and addresses a CTF issue identified with the SIMS 7 Spring 2019 Release 7.186 which has been raised by one school. Once the SIMS Spring 2019 Release is applied please also apply Patch 24836 to prevent this potential CTF issue.  For Capita Hosted SIMS 7 customers, the Spring 2019 Release was applied on 29th March and Patch 24836 is scheduled to be deployed overnight on 8th April.

If you are on the SIMS Spring 2019 Release and have since imported a CTF which included contact addresses, then please contact your usual support provider for more information.


IMPORTANT: 2019 Spring Release – CTF Incident (Update on 04 April 2019)

Our investigation is now complete following our communication yesterday (03 April 2019) about the CTF incident.  A patch will be available early next week for schools who have taken the Spring 2019 Release.

Once the SIMS Spring update is taken please apply this patch to ensure the potential CTF issue is addressed.  For Capita Hosted SIMS customers, the Spring release was applied on 29th March and the patch will be applied as soon as it is available.

Once again Capita ESS apologises for any concern or impact to our schools and their support partners that may have arisen from this incident.

Please see My Account if you would like specific further details on the incident or contact your local support unit.

IMPORTANT: 2019 Spring Release – When this unique CTF Incident occurs (Update on 04 April 2019)


If a school imports a CTF into the SIMS Spring 2019 release that contains a person with an incomplete address that is missing all of the following:

  • house name or number
  • apartment number
  • Postcode

The incomplete address details will be inserted into any learner contacts being added by the CTF file who have no address record.  In other words, incorrect partial data would be inserted into all blank addresses against new contact records.

Also incomplete address details will be inserted into SIMS where a learner contact already exists in SIMS and the same learner contact is present in the CTF, and neither have an address record.  In other words, incorrect partial data would be inserted into a blank address against an existing contact record.

“Street Name”, “Locality”, “Town” and “Region” information (i.e. partial address) would be transferred in both instances.



29/03/2019 at 13:00 – LA boundary changes

As you probably know, our SIMS 7 Spring Release 2019 put in place the revised list of LAs, which includes 838 (Dorset) and 839 (Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole). From the 01/04/2019 the DfE expects these new LA numbers to be used for CTF imports and exports. In a few cases a new establishment number has also been allocated.

14/02/2019 at 12:25 – CTF versions supported

01/08/2018 to 31/07/2019 (inclusive)
File version 17

Import only

File version 18

Import and export

Updated 20/09/2018 at 10:45 – Service child concerns (England only) – Patches Available

The Summer release added a grid for Service Children Concerns to the Addition Information panel of Pupil Details to allow schools to record concerns that the current school or previous school had regarding a child with a parent serving in the Armed Forces. The Concerns are held completely separately to the Service Children in Education flag, as it is quite possible for a pupil to have been a service child in the past but for them to no longer be a service child. If a record exists indicating a concern for an earlier date, it might be sensible for a school to add a record for a later date to indicate ‘no concerns’ on that date. It might also be sensible to enter a ‘no concern record’ when a pupil is currently a service child. However, it is not advisable to add ‘no concerns’ records for pupils who are not currently and have not previously been a service child, as this might be taken to indicate that they were previous a service child with a concern.

CTF 18 was updated to include the export and import of the Service Children Concerns but unfortunately there is an issue with our CTF 18 Export routine that results in ‘no concern’ records being added to the file when the Service Children Concerns table is blank. On import these become ‘no concern’ records for pupils who may never have been service children.  Two patches are available to support units on SOLUS 3 to deal with this issue.

  1. Patch 24298 corrects the coding mistake in CTF 18 Export so that ‘no concern’ is only included in the CTF file when ‘no concern’ has been entered by the exporting school.  This patch does not change CTF 18 Import, as there is no way for the software to distinguish between ‘no concerns’ included because of our mistake and the inclusion of legitimate ‘no concerns’.
  2. Patch 24313 removes any ‘no concerns’ records that are found in SIMS where a record does not also exist indicating an actual ‘concern’.

The Service Children Concerns are not included in information sent to the DfE in the School & Pupil Census returns.

Added 04/09/2018 at 12:40 – CME files for leavers (England only)

Some schools are concerned that they forgot to use CTF functionality to provide CME (Children Missing Education) files to their LA for pupils who left the school at the end of the academic year.  Although this may well be an issue for some of the schools in this position, it is also possible that this is not an issue.  There are two possible reasons why this may not be an issue.

  1. The government legislation for CME only insists on information being provided outside of normal phase transfers and many of the pupils who left the school at the end of the year may will have been for a normal phase transfer, e.g. leaving a primary school at the end of year 6 to join a secondary school for the start of year 7.  However, some LAs will always ask for the CME leavers information as end of phase transfer can be difficult to define, e.g. LAs with tradition independent schools may have pupils transferring from prep school to pupil schools at age 14.
  2. The government legislation for CME only insist on the information being provided and CTF is just one of several ways in which such information can be provided, e.g. some LAs provide a website for entering the necessary information.

Added 03/09/2018 at 17:15 – ULN and URN

On the 1st August the CTF version moved on by one year as normal. This means that CTF Export will provide CTF 18 format files, rather than CTF 17 format files, and CTF Import will accept CTF 17 and 18 format files, rather than CTF 16 and 17 format files. The main impact of introducing the CTF 18 format files is that the school’s URN (Unique Reference Number) is mandatory, in addition to the school’s Establishment Number (LA number + school number).

We understand that the CTF files provided via S2S for adding ULN (Unique Learner Number) for learners is still in CTF 16 format, that is no longer supported for CTF Import. The DfE will be dealing with this matter shortly, but for the moment we must caution against making manual changes to the file names and content of CTF files to ‘trick’ CTF Import into accepting them, as the formats for CTF 16 and CTF 18 are not compatible.

Added 02/08/2018 at 18:00 – The CTF 17 newsfeed will be maintained beyond it normal closure date of 1st  August

As you know, for all schools that have upgraded to the SIMS 7 Summer Release 2018, CTF Export will use the format for CTF 18 instead of CTF 17 from the 1st August.  My normal procedure would be to reflect this in the My Account notification area by making the newsfeed for CTF 17 unavailable.  However, this year I will leave the newsfeed for CTF 17 available so that all items related to our problem with CTF import of contact data is kept available from a single newsfeed.

I have added a link from this newsfeed to the CTF 17 newsfeed and I have also added a link from the CTF 17 newsfeed to this newsfeed.

Added 23/03/2018 at 12:10 – Change Requests 

After the Easter break my colleagues and I will be going through the change requests logged by customers to help decide what improvements would should be making in the future.  With that in mind I recommend you view existing change requests for CTF and add votes and new items to ensure that your wishes are taking into account.  I have outlined below some the methods I have found helpful for viewing and updating the change request for CTF.

Viewing CTF Change Requests

  1. Go to the My Account home page and click on Customer Services | View Change Requests.
  2. Select ‘CTF (Excluding NI)’ as the Product and add further filters as necessary before clicking on Search.
  3. Browse the existing change request and click on any where you want to Agree or Disagree.

Adding CTF Change Requests

  1. Either click the Change Request button in View Change Requests or go the My Account home page and click on Customer Services | Log a Change Request
  2. Make sure that you select ‘CTF (Excluding NI)’ as the Product and fill in the remaining fields as necessary.
  3. If you have any particular opinion as to whether your request should be looked at for SIMS 7 only or SIMS Primary only, you should ensure that you mention this in the description of the request.  If you don’t specify SIMS 7 or SIMS Primary we will take it that you are requesting for both.

Added 22/03/2018 at 09:00 – Overview Presentation

Please note that version 1.0 of the CTF 18 Overview presentation is available as a ZIP from My Account.  Most of the content of this presentation will be relevant to England only, as the WG has decided that the new items will not apply to school in Wales.