SIMS

The following guide will walk you through the process of updating your student and parent information in preparation for the new academic year. This is often referred to as the 'Summer Roll Up' process.

Important: Headings marked with ** are only be be followed if applicable to you.

Change of MIS**

If you have changed MIS recently, it is very important that you contact us before attempting to import data from a new MIS into ParentMail.

You can reach us via Live Chat or Email: school_support@parentmail.co.uk.

Cashless Catering**

To save time manually matching accounts to your cashless tills in September, it is vital that you import your pre-admission students into ParentMail before the students are added to your cashless tills. To add your pre-admissions, please read the next step.

Pre-Admissions

Why should I import my pre-admissions?

Importing your pre-admissions enables your new parents to register for ParentMail and download the ParentMail App before the start of the new academic year. This is a great advantage, allowing your parents to (depending on the packages you have):

  • Receive Emails & Texts: Notifying parents about valuable information before their student(s) start school.
  • Respond to Online Forms: Allowing you to gather important parent/student information before September.
  • Make Online Payments: Enabling parents to purchase items ahead of time. For example: School uniform, term fees, stationary or topping up their dinner money balance.
  • Be made aware of Events: Keeping parents informed about events that may involve them and/or their student(s).

The pre-admissions import must be manually imported from SIMS and is only necessary once every year (typically around June/July).

If you do not need to import your pre-admissions, please skip to the 'Removing Leavers' section of this guide.


How to import your pre-admissions

Note: For students to appear on the pre-admissions report, in SIMS their application status must be 'Offered' or 'Accepted'.

1) Select Imports > Create Import within ParentMail on the left-hand menu.

2) Click the Downloads button and select PMX2 Pre-Admissions to download the report file for SIMS and save it to a location on your computer which can easily be found.

Important: Do not open the 'PMX2 Pre-admissions RptDef' file from your browser or desktop. This can only be recognised by SIMS.

3) In SIMS, select Reports > Import and click Open. Locate the 'PMX2 Pre-Admissions' file you just saved and click Open, then click Import:

4) Next, select Reports > Run Report, then select Focus > Application. Within Application locate 'PMX2 Pre-Admissions', double-click this file, or click the report and click the Run button on the toolbar to run the report:

5) Select the date of admission range set for your students, e.g. between 1st September 2019 - 20th September 2019 and click OK.

Please note: If you fail to enter a date of admission range or tick the box ‘Accept All (bypass filter condition)’ the report will pull out all past and present pre-admissions students from your SIMS database - Please avoid doing this.

Tip: If you cannot remember your date of admission ranges, you can find this with SIMS Application by changing the filter to 'Offered', or 'Accepted'.

6) Click Browse, save the file in a location which is easy to find and add '.csv' at the end of the file name, i.e. 'Preadmissions2019.csv'.

7) Leave the format set as Comma separated and click OK:

8) Once the file has been saved, open the file and scan through the report to check that the data appearing for your pre-admissions is correct.

9) Within ParentMail's left-hand menu, select Imports > Create Import. Click the blue Select CSV import file button and locate the pre-admissions file you have just saved:

10) After you have found your report, click Open.

11) Click Queue Import:

12) The system will then queue the pre-admissions report and bring across the new students and their contacts. An email will be sent to you to notify once the import is completed.

13) After the data has been uploaded, navigate to Imports > Imports to find the Pre-Admissions import (your latest import will be at the top of the list).

14) Click the green CSV button to view any rejections. If you need help understanding the rejections, further down the page you can find rejected records steps.

Your pre-admission students and their contacts have now been imported into ParentMail. Refresh your browser for this information to update in ParentMail (click F5 on your keyboard).

We would recommend having both Email and SMS Verification enabled, allowing your parents to register with ParentMail. You can find more information on these settings by clicking here.

Please note: If a parent is already registered with another student at the school, they will automatically be linked to the new student(s). They will see their new student(s) name appear on their account once communications are sent out regarding the new student(s), i.e. Emails, SMS, Payments, Forms.

Removing Leavers

Why do I need to remove my leavers?

To avoid communication being sent out to patents/students/staff that have left the school, we recommend that you use the Remove Leavers tool situated under Settings in the left-hand menu. You will need to do this once leavers are marked as 'off roll' in SIMS and before your account has rolled up to the new academic year. Students can be removed in bulk (by class, year or registration group), as well as individually. This process will also delete parents that are linked to the child. Staff can only be removed individually.

Please note: Only remove your leavers once you have settled any outstanding balances for dinners or any payment items.


Useful payment reports to see any outstanding fees

  • General payments and invoices: Within the left-hand menu select Payments > Outstanding Payments and click Download. This report will display all outstanding payments for all payment items.
  • For cashless catering only: Within the left-hand menu select Payments > Cashless Reconciliation. Filter the 'Report By' drop-down by; All, Students, or Staff. Click Filter, tick the box in the above left-hand corner above 'Select' and click Export. This report will display all arrears in addition to users' balances.
  • For registers only: Within the left-hand menu select Registers > Register Activity, select the register in the above left-hand corner and filter the 'Report By'; All, Students, or Staff. Click Filter, tick the box in the above left-hand corner above 'Select' and click Export. This report will display all arrears in addition to users' balances.

Important: To chase up debts/send communications to students' parents after they have left, you can move these students into a 'leavers group' by completing the following steps, otherwise skip to 'Removing Students'.


Creating a Leavers Group

1) Select Groups > Create New Group from the left-hand menu:

2) Next, you will need to create two groups; one for each group type Year and Registration:

  • The first group using the 'Year Groups' group type:
  • The second group using the 'Registration Groups' group type:

3) Navigate to Groups > Groups in the left-hand menu and search for the two new leavers groups you have created.

4) Select the 'Year Group' type for the leavers group and click Manage Group Members:

5) Within the contact book, select Group Types > Year Groups. Tick the students you would like to move into the 'Leavers' group. Once done, click Confirm:

6) The students will then appear under the ‘Leavers’ group.

7) Follow the above steps again, but this time for the Registration group ‘Leavers’.

Completing this process will keep the leavers on your system and avoid the new students being merged into the same groups as the leavers.


Removing Students

To remove students that have left your school, please complete the following instructions:

1) Within the left-hand menu, click Settings > Remove Leavers:

2) Click the Remove Leavers button:

3) The contact book will then appear on the screen. You can search for the leaving student(s) by:

  • Searching the student(s) in the search bar and ticking them.
  • Bulk deletion by navigating to Group Types > Year Groups/Registration Groups and ticking the group(s).

4) To check which students you are removing, click on the Selected section. Here you can see all the students which have been selected. If you notice a student that should not be in the list, untick the checkbox to the left of their name:

5) Once you are happy with the students you have selected, click Confirm:

6) You will then be prompted with the 'Request to Remove Users' box. This will tell you how many users will be removed and the option to Remove Parents Only or Remove Students and Parents:

Please note: To ensure that no communications are sent out to parents by accident, we recommend that you remove both students and the parents. If the parent has other children linked at your school, our system will recognise there are other connections linked to the user and keep them on the system, removing the leaver student only.

7) One last confirmation box will appear. Click Yes to continue. Once you have confirmed this, the action cannot be undone:

The selected users will now be removed from ParentMail. You can now refresh your ParentMail page (click F5 on your keyboard) to update the information.


Removing Staff

1) Within the left-hand menu, select Users > List.

2) There are 2 methods to locate a staff leaver:

  • Search for their name within the search field.
  • Filter the 'All Types' drop-down to 'Staff' and browse through the pages:

3) When you have found the relevant staff user, click onto their name and it will populate their record. Click the Actions button and select Delete:

4) The ‘Confirm Action’ box will appear. Click Delete to continue:

You have now removed your staff members from ParentMail. Follow these steps again to delete additional staff leavers or any manually created user(s), e.g. Governors, Volunteers etc.

Rolling up your ParentMail account

To make the roll up process as simple as possible, we recommend you have the SIMS AutoLink installed.

To check if the SIMS AutoLink has been setup, navigate to Settings > MIS Link.

You can also check if you have the AutoLink installed within Imports > Imports. You will see the latest import at the top of the list reading ‘(AutoLink)’ beside the file name as shown in the following graphic:

SIMS AutoLink not installed

If you do not have the SIMS Autolink installed, please request your IT technician to complete the below steps. Alternatively, you can carry out the roll up process manually by extracting the data from SIMS: Manual SIMS update process.

1) Click Settings > MIS Link. Select SIMS from the drop-down menu and click Installation Instructions PDF to download a PDF guide.

Please note: If you are unable to see Settings, your are missing the 'Manage settings' permissions. Please consult with your main ParentMail administrator.

  • If you are locally hosted for SIMS (you have a SIMS server/a machine that runs overnight within the school) you must ensure the software is installed directly on the SIMS server, and not just any machine.
  • If you are centrally hosted for SIMS (your SIMS server is hosted elsewhere) you will need to log a request with the entity who host your SIMS to provide you with the ‘Open VPN Connector’ program. This program should be installed on your work station. You can then install the SIMS Autolink software.

Please note: When the SIMS Autolink is installed:

  • Users will still need to be removed manually. This includes leavers, parents and staff. You can find information here on the best way to remove users from the system.
  • If the user is Connected (they have a ParentMail account), they should update their own contact details (i.e. email/mobile number) through their ParentMail account. The SIMs Autolink will not pick up these changes. To check what changes have been made by parents you can run the ‘Verified User Changesreport within Reports > General Reports, located in the left-hand menu.

Once the Autolink has been installed, the SIMS Autolink will automatically bring across your new data once rolled up in September.

SIMS AutoLink already installed

Please note: If you already have the SIMs AutoLink installed, this will be temporarily disabled during the summer holidays to give you time to remove your leavers.

Once you have removed your leavers and are ready to roll up your students, you can enable the AutoLink by following these steps:

1) Within the left-hand menu, navigate to Settings > MIS Link. Click the green Enable Autolink button:

2) You will receive a warning message asking if you have removed your leavers. If you have not, follow the steps to do so before enabling the AutoLink:

3) If you have removed your leavers, click Yes and the AutoLink will be enabled again. To update ParentMail, there are two options you can chose to follow:

  • Open the SIMs AutoLink ‘Config Manager’ on the SIMS server and select File > Save from the top menu bar. Once saved, select Ping and Sync to force an import. Within ParentMail navigate to Imports > Imports to check the import came through successfully.
  • Alternatively, you can wait overnight for the automatic update to take place which will bring across the new academic data from SIMS. The following day, within ParentMail navigate to Imports > Imports to check the import came through successfully.

If you would like to follow the manual method of running a report from SIMS, please click here.

Important: Always remember to check your data rejections report. Please read the following information.

Student & Parent Rejected Records Report

What is the rejected records report?

After importing data into ParentMail, it will produce a 'rejections report' if any data was not imported successfully. This report will show you any Students, Parents or Staff records that could not be imported due to reasons explained in this guide. Correcting these rejections is vital to ensure the best possible launch and success with ParentMail.

Where do I correct the data that lead to a rejection?

You should use this report to identify missing information or errors in SIMS and then correct them directly in SIMS. You can then either repeat the manual import process or wait for the overnight sync to pull the amended information over to ParentMail with the SIMS Autolink.

When do I need to check the rejected records report?

You will be provided with a Rejected Records Report with each new import – we recommend you check these regularly to ensure everything is importing successfully. You should especially check this when re-enabling your SIMS Autolink in the new academic year, to ensure your new intake has successfully imported.

Where is the rejected records report?

1) To access the report, within ParentMail navigate to Imports > Imports in the left-hand menu.

2) Select the most recent Parents & Students import:

3) Select the green CSV button to download the report. Once downloaded open the spreadsheet:

4a) You have nothing to worry about if your report is empty as shown in the following graphic, this means no data records are rejected:

4b) If your data requires attention, your Rejected Records Report will list the information that has not been imported into your ParentMail account, please see the following :

Rejections Explained

Columns ‘A’ to ‘G’ show the student’s details with columns ‘H’ to ‘V’ showing their parent/contact’s details. The ‘Status’ column (column ‘W’), will advise of the three potential types of rejections that have occurred:

1) Complete Row Rejection : A complete row rejection will show when both the student and their contact has failed to import. The causes of a complete row rejection are usually regarding the student’s details.

2) Partially Rejection: This is when the student has been successfully imported but their contact hasn’t. This is usually due to vital details missing or set up incorrectly (columns ‘H’ to ‘V’). You will need to rectify this data as per the explanation in column X for the contact to receive communication.

3) Import Successful (warning only): This status means that both the student and the contact’s details have been successfully uploaded into ParentMail, but something may still require your attention that could stop the parents receiving the communication. The required focus of your attention is explained in column 'X'.

Column X will provide you with the reason as to why this rejection has occurred.


1) Complete Row Rejection:

Reason 1: REJECTED RECORD - Due to an internal system error that has been logged. One of the relationship users are invalid:

This means that the student that is being imported, is also listed as a parent within SIMS - this is common when the parent and student share the same name and are linked as their own parent in error.

To fix this, you simply need to delete the parent record in SIMS, create a brand-new record from scratch and then link this to the student.


2) Partially Rejected:

Reason 1: Parent requires either an email address or mobile number or both:

To add a contact to ParentMail they must be contactable, if they do not have an email address (column 'M') or mobile number (column 'N') they will not be imported.

Please note: A mobile number's 'Location' in SIMS needs to be set to 'Mobile' as 'Work' and 'Home' will be ignored and result in blank data. You also need to ensure that these contact details are set to 'Primary'. The email address should be set as 'Home' and 'Primary'.

Reason 2: A user with a mobile number/email already exists at this organisation:

This message appears when the email address or mobile number has already been imported into ParentMail for another contact.

Usually, this is because both parents have given you the same contact details – the best way to check this is by navigating to Users > List in the left-hand menu of ParentMail and search for the mobile number or email address (whichever 'already exists') to find out who has been added with those details as shown in the following graphic:

If the parents have only given one mobile number or email address between the two of them, you will need to collect the data from the parent whose contact details you do not have.

When you search for the email address or mobile number that 'already exists', you may find that the same user appears from the Rejected Records Report. If this happens, it means that the contact exists in your SIMS more than once and was likely duplicated due to having two students at your school. You will need to remove the duplicate and link the two students to the one record. You can contact SIMS if you need help with completing this.

Reason 3: Parent requires a forename/surname:

Please ensure the parents have a forename (column 'J') and a surname (column 'K') within SIMS – if you are not sure of their first or surname, an initial or even a dot will work!

Reason 4: Parent requires a forename. Parent requires a surname. Parent requires a contact ID. Parent requires either an email address or mobile number or both:

We will only bring across contacts that have 'Parental Responsibility' ticked in SIMS. Ensure 'Parental Responsibility' is ticked within the contact profile in SIMS. If court order is ticked, you will need to untick this to allow the contact to be added to ParentMail. When they have been added to ParentMail, you can go back into SIMS and tick court order again. This will not affect ParentMail.


3) Import Successful (warning only):

Reason 1: Email address/mobile number is not valid:

This result will show when either an email address (column 'M') or mobile number (column 'N') is incorrect, therefore, messages will not reach the intended recipient. You will need to update this in SIMS and attempt another import or allow an overnight sync to bring across the details.

Reason 2: Unknown personal relationship type: Other. Using Parent instead:

This contact has been added to ParentMail with a 'Parent' user type. The reason this contact was added is due to them having parental responsibility ticked. If this is correct, please ignore the rejection. If it's incorrect, untick 'Parental Responsibility' in SIMS for the contact and remove the contact from ParentMail by locating them within Users > List and select Actions > Delete.

Reason 3: Parent title not valid (optional):

This is when the parent title (column 'I') is invalid – the parent will be added without a title. You can update the title in SIMS or leave it for the parent to update when they register an account.

Please note: When parents receive the registration email/text, they will be given the opportunity to amend any details that are incorrect or insert data that is missing, therefore, as long as you have sufficient contact information to send them the registration link via email or text, you may choose to let them update their own information accordingly.

Registers**

Important: Any new students and staff that are added to ParentMail will not automatically be added to your dinner/clubs register. These steps are to be followed after your Summer Roll Up process has been completed and only if you are using Registers.

Please Note: When you have removed your leaver students, they will be automatically removed off the Register. If you need to view any historical data, navigate to Registers > Register Activity, tick the 'show deleted' checkbox, then search for the student and all activity can be viewed by clicking the blue balance.


Adding new students to the Register

To add new students to the register, navigate to Registers > Registers in the left-hand menu, select the relevant register and click Actions > Edit Register. A new window will appear, click the green Add Members button and select the new students to be added in using the contact book:

Once you have selected the new students to be added, ensure you confirm and save the changes.

The students will be added to the default price band. To change this, open the Edit Register window and click the Pencil icon to the right of the price band name and select the relevant students to be added to the selected price band:

After the price band changes have been made, refresh your browser to update the account (click F5 on your keyboard).

Congratulations! Your summer roll-up process is now complete. Your new students, parents and staff will be added to the system.

All new contacts with an email address will automatically be sent an email registration link. If a parent is already registered with another child at the school, they will automatically be linked to the new child. They do not need to register to be connected to the new child. They will see the new child appear once you send communication regarding the new child (an email, SMS, payment item, etc).

If your parents do not have email addresses, we advise that you turn on 'SMS verification' in your Settings (Settings > General, select enable SMS verification) to make sure that all your new parents get a registration text.

Please Note: Enabling SMS verification will cost you text credits.