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SIMS 7 - Session Attendance Sub Codes

This guidance is important to some TIs and is included in the Spring 2021 Beta and a work station patch for the Autumn 2020 release of SIMS.

Attendance codes have been single character since the author started teacher training some 35 years ago.  The list of codes has varied from country to country and some changes have occurred over that time, however, they have remained as single character codes both in the UK and for overseas customers.

COVID has further highlighted the need for schools to capture absences at a more granular level (subcode) and we have implemented a generic solution which can be configured to meet regional needs. Discussions are ongoing to confirm the detail.

Example of the concepts involved (Fictional)

A school / group of schools is required to differentiate between pupils who are ill for a number of different reasons (the "I" code) then a number of subcodes might then be defined as follows:

  • I_F    Ill - Flu like symptoms
  • I_S    Ill - Stomach ailment
  • I_O    Ill - Other

For SIMS 7 ESS would add the subcodes above via a patch or via an update to SIMS depending on the number of schools impacted. 

The system will still support an absence code of I but will offer a menu option on the right mouse button to allow the choice of a subcode.  Only subcodes in this case that begin with I will be allowed.

The key distinction being that TI applications that don't know about subcodes will effectively pass <None> as the new subcode which will retain what's there if it is valid or blank it if it is not. 

Our expectation is that the underlying API calls made by partners would continue to work appropriately. If TI products require the additional data, some recoding would be needed.

TI's wanting to collect subcodes will clearly need to amend their code to use the updated APIs described below.

ESS Code Changes

SIMS Internal APIs

Should be backward compatible (no examples offered for DRAS).

SIMS Partner APIs

New

An API will be made available to enable the list of sub codes to be extracted.

Updated

TP Attendance Read will be extended to include sub codes if one exists

TP Attendance Write will be extended to optionally accept a sub code.

  • Blank Sub Code Passed = Delete the existing sub code if it exists.
  • No Sub Code Passed = Remove sub code if it is no longer valid or else leave it.
  • Sub Code included = Save sub code if valid (if it isn't valid it will ignore it) 

Guidance

SIMS 7

Please implement processing on the basis that the sub code list may be empty or apply to a diverse set of codes.  These codes may vary by region or release of the software.  Once this is available, we can provide an exemplar test patch for the above sub code test or an official one once that exists.

SIMS 8 / SIMS Primary

SIMS Primary / SIMS 8 allows multiple character attendance codes of up to 10 characters.  It is expected that (School) Attendance codes will have codes {I, I_F, I_S, I_O} added as codes for the register based on our example above.  It remains to be seen if these will map to Statutory codes of I for all of these or whether the statutory code set will extend to include I_F, I_S & I_O in our example.  

Time Lines

We expect this to be released in Feb 2021.  We have option to turn this on upon release or as required at a later point in time via a patch / SIMS update.

Update

An update to SIMS is available which includes this functionality and is available in the release note for TIs.