As I mentioned in an earlier article, Phil Neal (Capita SIMS Managing Director) very kindly agreed to meet with me to discuss his views on Education, and his products in general. My continued thanks to Olga and Cath at CLPR (www.catherinelane.com) for arranging the meetings.
So – on to the actual discussions! We started off looking at the development of the Azure Hosted platform. You can read more about this solution launch here. This has led to a shift in support from Capita SIMS explained Phil – as this meant they were now supporting 24/7 working. This is a pattern that has grown of late – starting with the Agora payment system launched at BETT in 2013 – and one which will only continue as new products and services are launched.
The Capita SIMS annual conference opened with a change this year – gone was the “external host”; and instead we had a welcome return for Graham Cooper – Head of Product Strategy. Grahams opening had one key message – “where SIMS is used well in schools, it has the power to make a difference to children’s’ future”. Fitting, in a time where there is so much focus on the complete journey of a child.
As is traditional at the SIMS Annual Conference, which took place in June at Alton Towers, Phil Neal (Managing Director of Capita SIMS) took to the stage to review the previous year – and give some insight into the company targets and highlights in the forthcoming year. This, I was able to follow-up with Phil later – as he kindly agreed to speak to me further to elaborate on some of the ideas for the future; and his own personal highlights and opinions on the sector and Education. That article will follow soon – but for now, on with an overview of what has happened and the road ahead…
By now, it can’t have escaped your notice that big changes are afoot in the ways schools measure and report progress. The “old” levels system is “out”. For many years, it underpinned the way in which teachers recorded and measured the capabilities of their cohort; as well as provided a way to compare individual and group performance. This system and the national curriculum are changing… radically.
“…evolving with you to help you manage the changes to assessment and the national curriculum…”
Guest Post by the education charity Shine (Support and Help in Education)
Teachers across England have great ideas every day to excite and engage their pupils. The Let Teachers SHINE competition, run by education charity SHINE (Support and Help in Education), gives ten teachers a chance to develop these ideas, offering grants of up to £15,000 for any successful submission aimed at raising the achievement of disadvantaged children. Sometimes a picture/video tells the story better – take a look at the following (2mins long)… http://www.shinetrust.org.uk/support-us/get-involved/shine-in-2-minutes/
BETT is now over for another year, the hustle and bustle of a busy ExCel Arena are already just a memory as everyone settles back to their normal work routines.
Now many will have been expecting my first article “post-show” to have been about the launch of the Teacher App. Well…that is coming soon – but first, the new “multi-platform” access to SIMS. There are lots of links between the story of the App and the story of the platform that I’m going to explore here.
Quite a delayed post here, following up on a very enlightening presentation from Rachael Marshman (@ RachMarshman – https://twitter.com/RachMarshman) – new Product Manager for Assessment. Some of you may remember Rachael from her Local Authority days.
I have been following the Teacher App (just one part of the whole SIMS App) development programme since June 2013 – as this is, in my opinion, a game changer. The aim of the first stage in the project is quite simple really, as put by Duncan Hield, Product Manager.
At the end of the first day, and over lunch – I got the chance to speak at length to Ben Jones – Product Manager for Agora, Sims Learning Gateway (SLG) and InTouch. You read that right – Ben has a challenge on his hands! Originally working on the SLG programme, Ben took over InTouch earlier in the year/end of last year – and most recently Agora. Duncan Hield now heads up the App development project – which at present, is just the Teacher App. Some of you may have seen this at the BETT Show at Excel London in January. I will come on to the App situation in the next article – to give it full justice!