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Timetable Misconcepts

Session Attendance

Session Marks will be recorded as of 09:00 AM and 13:00 PM.  This is hard coded in SIMS 7 and does not depend on how, what or when marks are recorded.

Session Marks might be recorded at any point in the session, hence the absence of a session mark for PM in particular may simply mean that registers have yet to be taken.

Marks may be recorded at different times on different days.  Whilst this may be unusual, the only thing that can be said for certain is that there will be 2 session attendance marks taken daily for England, Wales and NI.  Some schools only store one session mark per day, the example that we saw was in India.

When set up in lesson monitor, the point of registration is defined as one of the following:

  • Before school sessions start
  • Before afternoon lessons start
  • In a timetabled lesson
  • After morning lessons end
  • After afternoon lessons end

Periods / Lesson Attendance

  • A timetable day will be split in to a number of periods usually between 4 and 20.
  • Periods are sequential, period n+1 always follows period n.
  • Morning and afternoon registration periods where they exist may or may not be timetabled.
  • Periods may or may not be of equal length,
  • Periods may coalesce into multiple period lessons.
  • Periods may or may not be contiguous
  • We know when a period starts.
  • We do not know when a period actually ends, it may be adjacent to the pervious lesson or their may be a break between lessons which is solely factored in to the start time of the next lesson.
  • Lunch may or may not be timetabled. If it is timetabled, then some pupils may have period n as lunch whilst others may have lunch in periods n+1 or n+2.

Timetable Days

  • A timetable model will be grid containing x days and y periods per day.
  • Most schools have a 5 day timetable cycle
  • Many schools have a 10 day timetable cycle
  • Schools could have 4,6,7,8,... days in their cycle.
  • Timetable days are 'applied' to physical days on the calendar.
  • For example:
    • On Tuesday 6/6/23 Timetable day Tuesday:2 will be taught from a 10 day timetable.
  • There is however nothing to prevent a timetable day Mon:1 being taught on Tuesday 6/6/23.
    • The school has complete flexibility over when any given timetable day is taught.
    • Timetable managers need to consider the ability of their pupils to cope with 'creative' timetabling - If the pupils are confused by days being taught out of order then this may not achieve the aim say of balancing 3 Mondays lost due to bank holidays in May 2023.   

Timetable models

  • Apply for a period of time.
  • May be similar to or completely different from the pervious or successor model.

The timetable application's job is to compute the 'best' (in some sense) way to manage curriculum resources to enable the best fit for pupil course choices.  NOVA-T for example will not care when lessons start and end, it will simply put Tom in Room 4 doing Maths with Mrs Jones.


It is easy to read too much in to the timetable data and to think that it tells you more than it actually does.  For example: 

  • Period 1 starts at 09:00, 2 @ 10:00, 3 @ 11, 4 @ 13, 5 @ 14.
  • Johnny is timetabled to be in:
    • Period 1 - Room 66 - Sewing with Mrs B
    • Period 3 - Room 4 - Maths with Mrs Miggins
    • Period 4 - Room 88 - History with Mr Old.
  • Where is Johnny @
    • 09:10 (Should be in his period 1 lesson)
    • 11:55 (If lessons are 1h long he should in in Room 4; if they are 50 mins long then we have no idea.)
    • 12:45 (Assuming period 3 is not 1h50mins then we have no idea)
    • 14:55 (Same as 11:55)

Third parties needing to rely upon this information would need to augment the SIMS timetable data in order to offer definitive responses.