Upcoming changes to data collection support arrangements

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23 Apr 2019

As part of its budget strategy to achieve savings, the council is making changes to its performance and business intelligence functions and has brought them into a central team. As part of this reorganisation, the data collections will be managed across the schools research and data team rather than by a dedicated post. The team will be supported by the new performance data apprentice, Krystian Michalowski. Fiona Bradley, school census officer, will therefore sadly be leaving the team at the end of the current academic year. The implementation of this change has been delayed from 1 April 2019 to enable a lead in time for new ways of working to be put in place during the summer term. Fiona is currently providing a detailed handover to enable a smooth transition.

The council have not retained a central budget to support SIMS for many years. Fiona has endeavoured to help schools with any SIMS related queries they have had during the data collections and provide detailed guidance. This is not a position we can continue to hold going forward with reduced resources. As part of their licence agreement all schools who buy SIMS through the local authority are required to have in place a SIMS support contract with an accredited provider. Academies and the small number of maintained schools who buy SIMS directly from Capita are also required to have at least basic support from Capita as part of their agreement. From September 2019 schools will be directed back to their SIMS support provider for any SIMS related queries so will need to ensure the package they have in place provides a sufficient level of cover to enable them to meet their statutory duties with regards to the school census, school workforce and primary attainment data collections. If required, schools will need to ensure that their SIMS provider is able to provide guidance notes or training sessions.

We will signpost schools to available guidance, training and support available from the DfE, Capita and / or SIMS support providers. Fiona will work closely with schools in the coming months to ensure they understand the other sources that are available to them.

During the data collections, the team will continue to provide support with resolving duplicates and DfE statutory errors and queries. We will also continue to complete additional checks on the data and work with schools to resolve data quality issues, however will prioritise checks on data that impact on either funding or high stakes accountability. We will continue to manage the central SIMS licence to enable us to pass on the significant discount this offers to schools.

In addition to this, schools will continue to receive a full range of data support services as part of their ongoing investment into ELP, including high quality comprehensive data analysis and reports, transition support for high schools, data and guidance for clusters, support in understanding changing national requirements and signposting to national data releases, deadlines and changes.

We look forward to continuing our close relationship with schools and working with you to maintain the existing excellent level of data quality and compliance to statutory deadlines.

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Last updated: 24 Apr 2019

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