With the goalposts continuing to move around SIMS options following Capita’s sale of its Education Software Solutions arm
(ESS), the team here at Accordio Ltd wants to make sure schools have all the information they need to make sensible decisions on their preferred MIS platform.
Capita sold ESS, which supports the best-known education MIS platform SIMS, to private equity house Montagu in 2020. Since then, ESS has merged with ParentPay with the long-term aim of becoming a leading provider of educational software in the UK.
With ESS recently also announcing its decision to cancel SIMS8, we felt this was a good time to make sure all schools – particularly those that currently use SIMS – were aware of their options and had the support they needed.
SIMS8, the proposed cloud-hosted version of the MIS software, has been ditched while ESS works on “separate cloud-based components”, with the company offering to move schools to a ‘hosted’ version of SIMS in the meantime.
Crucially, schools currently using the SIMS MIS are only being given the option of renewing for three years at a fixed annual rate, instead of being offered a one-year renewal. This is an important change that may mean schools have to obtain three quotations or even complete a competitive tender process to comply with procurement rules.
Headteachers and business managers need to be aware that they do not have to accept the proposed ESS terms and are in a strong position to negotiate or make a significant change in order to meet the long-term objectives of the school.
On the other hand, if your school is considering moving to a cloud-based MIS system, or has already decided to do so, this could be a good time to act and minimise the transfer costs.
It is important that schools that buy into a county-wide SIMS licence from their local authority, and have been told they must continue to use it, possess all the facts. If your school is in this position, consider contacting your local authority and insisting that you are allowed to make your own decision on a school MIS.