The end of the academic year feels like a sensible time to take stock of SIMS Next Gen and reflect our progress so far.
We go into more background on Next Gen here but, in short, Next Gen is a continuous programme of customer-driven innovation. Our 12 cross functional teams are working on new features which we are aiming to deliver in ‘slices.’
The first ‘slice’ of Next Gen is Take Register which went into pilot at the end of March with approximately 100 teachers using it twice per day. Martina Spencer wrote this piece which lifts the bonnet on Take Register and helps to explain why we’re so excited by it. We’re happy to report excellent feedback from those who’ve been part of the pilot.
We now shift to focusing on the Take Register onboarding process over the summer, and look forward to communicating good news on this as soon as possible and beginning to pilot secondary schools too.
Our next slice, which is currently in pilot, is Pupil Contacts functionality. The ability to use Pupil Contacts on a mobile device has proved popular, due to its accessibility for activities that happen outside the school building.
The team is now focused on moulding enhancements around the insight and feedback that they’ve received from the pilot. In fact, changes have already been made – such as improved search functionality to support more flexible inputs, or ‘fuzzy’ search and design improvements to make it easier to move around the various features. There’s more to do to, such as optimising Pupil Contacts for tablet screens, before we roll out the slice to all Primary Schools.
And we’re delighted to announce plans to take our latest slice, our MAT reporting tool, into pilot later this year. This is powerful technology, which harnesses AI and Machine Learning, to identify areas of concern surrounding attendance.
Attendance is critically important to learner outcomes and is usually reported at an overarching MAT level. The issue this presents is that while an individual school may see a dip in attendance, another school might compensate with an upturn. Our new tool quickly establishes where MAT leaders need to be looking and helps facilitate earlier support and intervention.
There are others areas within attendance that we look forward to detailing, including tech which can predict pupils at risk of persistent absenteeism, using a combination of variables.
SIMS Next Gen is an incredibly exciting, £40 million programme dedicated to ensuring schools have access to enhanced cloud-based functionality. As teachers, senior leaders and office staff take their well-deserved summer break, they can rest assured that our teams will keep working to empower them with the time, tools and insights to enhance learner outcomes.