Managing your data

Data management is crucial to ensure Schoolcomms works flawlessly. We recommend you review your data regularly using the information below, to avoid issues occurring.

Pre-admissions

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You are able to import your pre-admissions for this year in to Schoolcomms.

To be able to do this once they have been entered into SIMS as pre-admissions you will need to tick the box in Management (Desktop version of Schoolcomms), Edit Settings to Import pre-admission students.

Once the import has been run they will be imported and as long as there is an email address entered in SIMS for the parent you will be able to email them.

To successfully import linked people and their contact details for pre-admission pupils, message contacts within Schoolcomms and for parents to access School Gateway, you will need the following data in SIMS Application found via Focus, Admission, Application search pupil:

For email addresses:

In SIMS please check that:

  • The email address is in section 5, Family and Home of the student’s record, in the correct parent’s record
  • The location of the address needs to be Home or Work
  • The parent needs to be priority 1 for that student, or match your import strategy if you’ve changed who is imported

N.B. If you make any changes to contact or a student’s record in SIMS you will need to run the import in Schoolcomms to bring the changes across.

If that all appears to be correct please check in Schoolcomms to see if the contact has been imported. To do this:

  • Go to School members and groups
  • Find the student in the list and single click on them to highlight them
  • Click on the Linked people icon at the top of the page. This will open up a new window showing who is linked to the student
  • If there is no Prime Parent, click on the New from SIMS button and select the correct parent when the window opens up. It may ask for your SIMS log in details
  • If there is not an email address for a contact, highlight the correct parent and click on the SIMS update button. It will check the information in SIMS, hopefully bringing across the email address if it has not already imported it
  • If there is an email address on the parent’s line, you need to check the parent has not been opted out. Select the parent’s name and the button underneath needs to say Opt out. If it says Opt in that means the parent has been opted out and you will need to confirm with them they want to receive your messages; if they do click Opt in
  • If there is an email address, but the contact method does not include email, their email address may have become blocked. Please check your data issues for the parent’s name. You can find your data issues in ManagementImport management, select View Data Issues from the top toolbar
  • If the parent’s email address is blocked, please confirm with the parent that they want to receive your messages. If they do, go back into the Linked people screen – as described above – select the parent and click Re-enable. This will unblock their email address and you will be able to send messages to them again.

For mobile numbers:

In SIMS, please check that:

  • The mobile number is in section 5, Family and Home of the student’s record, in the correct parent’s record
  • The location of the mobile number is marked as Mobile
  • The parent needs to be priority 1 for that student, or match your import strategy if you’ve changed who is imported

N.B. If you make any changes to a contact or student’s record in SIMS you will need to run the import in Schoolcomms to bring the changes across.

If all of that is correct, the next place to look is in Schoolcomms:

  • Go to School members and groups
  • Find the student in the list and single click on them to highlight them
  • Click on the Linked people icon at the top of the page. This will open up a new window showing who is linked to the student
  • If there is no Prime Parent, click on the New from SIMS button and select the correct parent when the window opens up. It may ask for your SIMS log in details
  • If there is not a mobile number for a contact, highlight the correct parent and click on the SIMS update button. It will check the information in SIMS, hopefully bringing across the email address if it has not already imported it
  • If there is a mobile number for the parent, you need to check the parent has not been opted out. Select the parent’s name and the button underneath needs to say Opt out. If it says Opt in that means the parent has been opted out and you will need to confirm with them they want to receive your messages; if they do click Opt in
  • If there is a mobile number, but the contact method does not include text, their mobile number may have become blocked. Please check your data issues for the parent’s name. You can find your data issues in ManagementImport management, select View Data Issues from the top toolbar
  • If the parent’s mobile number is blocked, please confirm with the parent that they want to receive your messages. If they do, go back into the Linked people screen – as described above – select the parent and click Re-enable. This will unblock their mobile number and you will be able to send messages to them again.

Please also find the direct link to Pre-admission FAQs:

https://schoolcomms.com/support/managing-data/#section-preadminfaq

Your import settings determine the contacts and data that are imported from SIMS.

To review your Schoolcomms Import Settings go to Management > Import Management > Edit settings.

Import settings

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Pre-admissions FAQ

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If schools have pre-admissions from previous terms/years that haven’t been admitted and their status hasn’t been updated in SIMS so is still either ‘Applied’, ‘Offered’, ‘Accepted’ or ‘Reserved’ they will be included in any post-admission date import.
Please update the status of any pre-admissions who are not admitted to the school to the status Rejected or Withdrawal to ensure they are no longer imported into Schoolcomms.

Please note: Whether a SIMS custom application status is imported is dependent on the application status that it is linked to. If a custom status is linked to Rejected or Withdrawal, pre-admissions that this custom status is assigned to will not be imported into Schoolcomms. Those linked to Applied, Offered, Accepted, Admitted and Reserved will be imported.

Can dinner bookings be made for pre-admission pupils on School Gateway?
No, dinner bookings on School Gateway cannot be made for pre-admissions. They can be added to the dinner plan and the school can make bookings on their behalf.

Can club bookings be made for pre-admission pupils on School Gateway?
Yes, club bookings can be made.

Will dinner balances be displayed on School Gateway for pre-admission pupils?
No, dinner balances are not displayed on School Gateway for pre-admissions. (the dinners tile is not visible at all)

Will club balances be displayed on School Gateway for pre-admission pupils?
Yes, club balances are displayed on School Gateway for pre-admissions.

Can payments (including payments for clubs and dinners) be made for pre-admission pupils on School Gateway?
Yes, payments on School Gateway can be made for pre-admissions.

Will SIMS Dinner money payments for pre-admissions update SIMS Dinner money balances?
Yes, but the balances will not be visible on School Gateway.

Parent can see the pre-admission record on an existing School Gateway account, but the pupil hasn’t been given a place at the school yet, why?
The pre-admission pupil will be automatically linked to an existing School Gateway account if a linked contact has the same email address and mobile number. If a parent already has a child at a school using Schoolcomms the pre-admission will be automatically linked, even if the status is only ‘applied’

Why are pre-admissions not being imported in to Schoolcomms?
Check in Management, Edit Settings that the box to import pre-admissions is ticked.
If it is, check the following in SIMS:
Have you entered your pre-admissions through Focus, Admission, Application and is the date of Admission in the future?
If it is in the past the pre-admission will not import into SC. If this is the case, you will need to change the date of admission on the intake group* (or if necessary, create a new intake group with a future admission date).
If you have not entered your pre-admissions here and have instead entered as new pupils in Student details (Focus, Student, Student details, New) with a future admission date, they will not be imported until that admission date as these are not classed as pre-admission pupils.

*To create a new intake group or amend an existing one in SIMS go to Routines, Admission, Admission groups, Set-up.

Will Pre-admissions import across to Meal Manager?

Providing the pre-admissions are being imported into Schoolcomms (checkbox in Import Settings via Desktop>Management>Import Management>Edit Settings) then these students will be made available for Cypad to pick up.

Please be aware parents of pre-admission students are not able to see the Lunch Money tab in School Gateway, so they are unable to view the lunch balance or make any pre-orders, but they are still able to make payments. However once the pre-admissions show in Cypad you are able to manually add pre-orders when necessary and the balance will be visible once the pupil is on role.

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Storing Data in SIMS

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Due to new industry regulations in the banking sector your parents may experience extra verification steps when paying via School Gateway. These extra verification steps may be triggered if the data you hold does not match up with the parent’s data. It is therefore important that address data is complete, up-to-date and stored in the correct area of SIMS.

Parental Responsibility also needs to be applied in SIMS (Section 5 of the pupil record) for parents to be able to give consent, view online reporting information, see balances and make bookings on School Gateway. To review and identify any gaps in data currently imported into your Schoolcomms account, check your registered users with the Management Report.

To successfully import contact details, message contacts within Schoolcomms and for parents to access School Gateway, you will need the following data in SIMS:

For email addresses in SIMS please ensure that:

The email address is in Section 5 – Family and Home of the student’s record, in the correct parent’s record

The location of the address needs to be Home or Work

The parent needs to be Priority 1 for that student, or match your import strategy if you’ve changed who is imported

N.B. If you make any changes to contact or a student’s record in SIMS you will need to run the import in Schoolcomms to bring the changes across.

For mobile numbers in SIMS, please ensure that:

The mobile number is in Section 5 – Family and Home of the student’s record, in the correct parent’s record

The location of the mobile number is marked as Mobile

The parent needs to be Priority 1 for that student, or match your import strategy if you’ve changed who is imported

N.B. If you make any changes to a contact or student’s record in SIMS you will need to run the import in Schoolcomms to bring the changes across.

 

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Importing Data from SIMS

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Your import settings determine the contacts and data that are imported from SIMS.

To review your Schoolcomms Import Settings go to Management > Import Management > Edit settings.

Select the Pre-admissions tick box if you wish to send messages to students who are due to join your school.

Choose whether you wish to import All groups or just Active groups (faster).

Select to import contact details from SIMS and whose contact details you wish to import. By default, the import is set to include Priority 1 parents and all are flagged as prime. If you wish to include other priorities and/or parental responsibility and set another choice for prime/non-prime, click on Change.
sims import

Select whether you wish to import email address and/or mobile numbers.

Tick the Send a text/ email to each new or changed number/address if you do wish to notify each new contact. We advise that the ‘Send a Text message to each new or changed number?’ option is left un-ticked for your first import as this will send a text to each new  contact you import and will use a large amount of your text credits.

Finally, opt out any children whose parents don’t want Schoolcomms to have any access to their data using the Manage Exceptions sections.

Once you are happy with your chosen settings to import members, groups and contact details into Schoolcomms from SIMS you will need to run an import from SIMS, by clicking Run at the bottom of the Edit Settings screen.

This data needs to be refreshed regularly to ensure it is up to date, so we advise you run an import every morning when you log in to Schoolcomms.

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Scheduled Import

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Summary

Audience – This guide is primarily for network managers or desktop support experts.

What is the Schoolcomms scheduled import? – The scheduled import enables schools to set up a scheduled task to run the Schoolcomms import automatically.

Can Schoolcomms be used whilst the scheduled task is running? – Yes, providing a different Schoolcomms user is being used to access Schoolcomms.

Prerequisites

To use these instructions, you’ll need to determine which computer will run the scheduled task. We recommend that you create the scheduled task on the school server to ensure optimal operation.

Schoolcomms user
Schoolcomms version 9.6D or newer must be installed on the computer (this can be verified on the login screen). If required, you can download the latest version of Schoolcomms here: schoolcomms.com/downloads

You will need to have access to a Schoolcomms user that has permissions to run the Schoolcomms import (either a school administrator or multi-user administrator)

If your school has a Schoolcomms Premium Messaging licence you can create a new user dedicated to the scheduled import. Find the User Management guide here.

If your school has a Schoolcomms Standard or Just Text Messaging licence, you cannot use Schoolcomms at the same time as the scheduled import is running. We would therefore recommend scheduling the import at times Schoolcomms would not normally be used by office staff.

SIMS user
You must use a SIMS user that can access all the areas that Schoolcomms reads from, and writes to, SIMS.

Windows user
You must run the scheduled task as a Windows user that has adequate permissions to run Schoolcomms and SIMS, and also a user that can be logged in with interactively to confirm if the import is completing successfully. The user must be able to access all the functionality and write to the Schoolcomms log file (stored in the AppData\Roaming\Username\Schoolcomms folder by default).

Access the full Scheduled Import Guide here

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SIMS Permissions needed for a successful Import

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Permissions needed for all Schoolcomms products
The permission groups required for a successful import of data for all Schoolcomms products are as follows:

  • Admissions officer
  • Attendance operator or Attendance manager
  • Personnel officer
  • Class teacher or Pastoral manager
  • Third party reporter
  • Receipt Clerk

Permissions needed for individual products
After running a Schoolcomms import, you may see a list of data issues relating to insufficient SIMS permissions as per the below examples:

We strongly advise that any SIMS user running the import has all the above permission groups, however the below list identifies the specific groups required for any failed imports that may occur as a result of insufficient SIMS permissions:

General

School members Members could not be read from SIMS Admissions officer
Member contacts MemberContacts could not be read from SIMS Admissions officer
Staff members >Members could not be read from SIMS Personnel officer

For class and teaching groups to be imported successfully, SIMS users also require the Pastoral manager or Class teacher permission groups.

To message teachers of a particular child via the “Today’s teachers of” or “All teachers of” options, SIMS users will require either Pastoral Manager or Class Teacher permission groups.

Attendance

Attendance summaries AttendanceSummaries could not be read from SIMS Class teacher or Attendance operator/manager
Unexplained absences UnexplainedAbsences could not be read from SIMS Attendance operator/manager

 

Payments

SIMS Dinner Money This Dinner Money payment collected through Schoolcomms failed to be written to SIMS Receipt clerk

 

Online Reporting

Timetables Timetables could not be read from SIMS Third party reporter
Student medical conditions MedicalConditions could not be read from SIMS Admissions officer
Assessments Assessments could not be read from SIMS Admissions officer
Behaviours BehaviourIncident could not be read from SIMS Admissions officer
Achievements Achievement could not be read from SIMS Admissions officer

 

Adding permissions groups to a SIMS user
To add the above permission groups to a SIMS user, navigate to Focus > System Manager > Manage Users from within SIMS.

Search for the SIMS user and double-click on their name to open their record.

Section 3 shows the current permission groups allocated to the user; should any of the above permissions need applying, click on the Add button and select the relevant group(s) to add, then click on OK.

Save the SIMS user record to apply the changes.

 

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Data Issues and Deleting Leavers

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Data issues are areas in your contact data that Schoolcomms has highlighted an issue with. Most commonly this is based around the contact details held in Schoolcomms but data issues also flag up any other errors the system may have found after an import.

When viewing your data issues the error column will give details of the data issue. This list can be both filtered and saved.

You can find your data issues in the Desktop version of Schoolcomms by going to: Management, Import Management, View Data issues or via the web version of Schoolcomms: Dashboard, Management Report, Import Data Issues.

Data Issues include:

Permanent Bounce – At least three emails to this address have failed to be delivered. This could be because; the email is no longer active, or there is something stopping emails getting through on the contact’s side. Check with the contact that this email is still valid, if so you should ask the contact to add your Schoolcomms email address to their safe senders list on their email account. In order for them to receive emails again you will need to re-enable their contact details from the linked people screen.

SPAM – your contact has marked your email address as SPAM or junk, blocking the email address. Check with the contact that they want to receive your emails – if they do you need to re-enable their email address in the linked people screen. If this happens again, ask your contact to add your Schoolcomms email address to your safe senders list.

Text delivery failure – This means that the last three or more text messages you have sent to this contact failed to be delivered. Most commonly this is because the number is incorrect or invalid. Add the correct number in SIMS, run the Schoolcomms import and then re-enable the contacts mobile number from the linked people screen.

Invalid email/mobile – The email address or mobile number stored in SIMS is in the wrong format. Most commonly too many digits.

Permissions – If you see a message that says you don’t have the correct permissions in SIMS to run the Schoolcomms import. To resolve this issue you will need to get your SIMS system manager to correct these permissions.

 

Re-enabling Data Issues

Firstly, you must check with contacts that the information you have for them is correct before enabling any emails or numbers.

If the contact information is incorrect, please amend the contact’s SIMS record and run an import in Schoolcomms to bring over any changes.

If the contact information is correct, you can re-enable their email / mobile number from within Schoolcomms.

To do this via the web version:

  • Go to Dashboard, School Members
  • Search for the Student, click on the Student
  • The Linked People window will open, click on the arrow at the end of the contact with a contact method missing
  • Under Actions click on Re-enable read the warning and confirm that you want to re-enable the contact
  • You will see that the contact method will revert back to include the previously blocked contact method
  • The email address or mobile number will be unblocked and you can send messages to them again

To do this via the desktop:

  • Go to School members and groupsManage school members
  • Search for the student, click once to highlight them and select the Linked people button from the top toolbar
  • The Linked People window will open, click on the contact with the blocked details and click the Re-enable button
  • Read the warning and confirm that you want to re-enable the contact
  • You will see that the contact method will revert back to include the previously blocked contact method and the Re-enable button will become greyed out
  • The email address or mobile number will be unblocked and you can send messages to them again

 

Deleting Leavers

When should I delete leavers from Schoolcomms? – If a school member has left the school, they will be marked as a leaver the next time the import is run. Once you have saved any information/messages relating to these members, and you are certain that no payments or club bookings will need to be made by the parent(s), you can remove them from Schoolcomms using the delete leavers process.

How do I delete a leaver from Schoolcomms? – To delete leavers in Schoolcomms, click Management > Import Management. You will see Delete Leavers, select this option and highlight the members you want to delete in the left-hand box and select Add. Now click OK to confirm the members for deletion.

N.B. Deleting your leavers will permanently remove them from Schoolcomms. You will no longer be able to send messages to them and any association to your school will be removed from their School Gateway account. Before deleting your leavers, ensure you have saved any information/messages relating to them and performed any manual transactions/refunds as there will no way of recovering them once deleted from Schoolcomms. Any personal information which cannot be removed will be anonymised in 14 days, which will show as XXXX in your Schoolcomms report.

Note: When the delete leavers process is followed and you receive the success message, the leavers will be queued for deletion from our database, so you may continue to see members who are in the process of being deleted for a short period of time until they are removed (this timescale will depend on the number of leavers being deleted).

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Management Dashboard

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The Management Dashboard allows you to view useful statistics about the data held in your Schoolcomms system, as well as information about your Schoolcomms usage.

Students with a contactable prime parent
This section displays the number of email addresses and mobile numbers you have for your parents.
To view the individual figures, click on the relevant ring.
From here you will see further information and will be able send a message to your parents to obtain any missing data.

Parents Registered for School Gateway
This will show you the number of Parents/Staff/Students who have registered with School Gateway.
To view the individual figures, click on the relevant ring.
From here you will see further information and will be able send a message to encourage people to register.

Parents Registered for School Gateway app
This will show you the number of Parents/Staff/Students that are using the School Gateway app.
To view the individual figures, click on the relevant ring.
From here you will see further information and will be able send a message to encourage people to register.

Monitor how many messages you are sending
You can view at a glance how many messages you have sent in the last 7 days, to monitor the usage.
If you click on any of the figures in the graph you can view a more detailed report.

Payment method breakdown
For customers with a Payments licence you can view a breakdown of the payment methods for the past month.
You can click on any of the coloured rings to view more information or compose a message to encourage more people to make online payments.
If you want to explore any of these facts and figures in more depth you can click on the Report icon in the top right-and corner of each box and this will open the relevant report for you.

 

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School Members and Groups

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Adding a new school member that is not in SIMS
Sometimes you may need to contact people who don’t appear within your SIMS database. To add them to Schoolcomms, follow the instructions below;

Click Management > Manage school members > Add member

Enter the details for your new school member and click Save.

This member will be added to your list of members, but they will not have any contact details against them.

Click on Add Linked Person to add the contact details for this new member.

Add the relationship to the school member e.g. Prime Parent/Non-Prime Parent and choose if the parent has Parental Responsibility. Please note without Parental Responsibility they will be unable to give consent or book clubs. 

Add the email address and mobile number and chose if you want to send a confirmation email or text to let them know. Click Save.

Editing an Existing Member
You can edit any members created in Schoolcomms by selecting the member then clicking Edit.

Deleting a Member
You can delete any member created in Schoolcomms by selecting the member then clicking Delete.
Note: The member will be permanently deleted and removed from the member list.

Adding a New Group into Schoolcomms
When you have added additional members to Schoolcomms, you may want to add them in to a group so they are easily contactable. To do this, follow the instructions below;

Click Management > Add group

Enter a group name and the members to your group. Click Save
Your group will appear in your School groups list.

Edit/Delete an Existing Group
Any group that has been created in Schoolcomms can be edited or deleted under school groups.

Select the group you wish to edit/delete and click Edit to change the group or Delete to remove the group permanently from Schoolcomms.

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