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Local API - Non-technical Introduction


Almost all applications require access to school data held in the school's Management Information System (MIS) and the majority of UK schools use SIMS as the core of their MIS solution.  

Do you need to engage with ESS?

Often, the answer is "not initially".  If you are working with a school to develop a product or business case, you can probably start off with a CSV export from SIMS provided by the school, saved to a file (perhaps with a weekly update), and imported into your system.  This can offer a free way to find out whether your proposed solution has potential or not. As the success of your the product / idea grows, however, the need to automate the data exchange with the MIS will become more important and engaging with us becomes necessary.

Conversely, if your business case has already been established, you may want to get in touch with us right away.  You have a choice between Web APIs or Local APIs. Web APIs offer a potentially free way to develop a proof of concept and implement large sections of the application, but they may not meet all of your data needs (full coverage of SIMS data is not yet available via our Web APIs). In that case, you will need to use Local APIs. Your developer(s) will find lots of guidance and supporting documentation on this site. You can also get in touch with our Partner Manager Management Team. We will be happy to explain options, next steps, and costs.  You can also download a cost spreadsheet from here

Typical TI requirements are:

  • A copy of SIMS
  • Training Data
  • Development Support
  • A "Getting Started" consultancy day (Optional)

A Development Support Package is optional if fewer than 50 sites/schools are receiving your application(s).  Note that sometimes schools confuse their existing SIMS Support Package with 'development' support.  Their contractual support will help with 'using SIMS' but won't include access to a developer to explain the benefits of different APIs.  Development Support is 'by developers for developers.'