I’m Holly Westall and I’m privileged to lead a team with a real mission to improve the working lives of teachers and school leaders via a multi-million pound programme of technological innovation.
This is a big task. Overall, we’re investing £40 million to ensure that schools have access to the very latest cloud-based software that sits alongside existing SIMS features. We’re calling this continuous programme of customer-driven innovation SIMS Next Gen.
But to be clear, innovation does not mean disruption. That’s why the building blocks of SIMS Next Gen will be laid out over time – a rapid, feature-rich deployment. As a result, schools get access to the latest and the best cloud innovation, while retaining flexibility. In short, this means SIMS 7 and SIMS Connected will run as normal while we ramp up SIMS Next Gen alongside.
Over the next few months, I’m looking forward to sharing the latest from our development teams as we create, refine and roll-out features that will make a tangible difference.
Our first slice of technology is Take Register for primary school teachers, which we’ve been piloting in dozens of schools over the past few months. Through this process of validation, we’ve already made positive changes based on the feedback we’ve received. Cover teachers can now take registers when the regular teacher is absent; users can view notes against attendance marks; and we’re working to ensure users can add and edit new notes, too. Our development teams are also making progress in adapting Take Register to make it suitable for secondary schools. You can find out more about Take Register by clicking here.
I’m also very pleased to report that another slice of SIMS Next Gen has recently gone into pilot mode. Teachers need quick and easy access to the contact details for parents and/or guardians of their learners. We’ve been developing our Learner Contacts functionality to do exactly that. Look out for an update on where we are with this in our next piece!
Research and insight are fundamental to what we’re doing with SIMS Next Gen and if you’d like to help us shape the future of MIS, please get in touch via the form on this page.
I write this piece from the North Macedonian capital, Skopje, where I’ve been visiting some of our extended Product & Technology team. I’m back in the UK shortly and when I land, it’s all systems go for the last few weeks of term as we look forward to the next school year and more exciting SIMS Next Gen updates.
Bye for now.