Frequently Asked Questions
SIMs Parent App/website FAQs
1. What is SIMs Parent?
SIMs Parent provides access to your child’s (or children’s) information e.g. assessment, attendance, conduct, homework etc.
2. How do I register to access SIMs Parent?
You should have received an activation email from firstname.lastname@example.org . Please ensure you check your JUNK email folder as well. If you have not received an activation email, it is likely school does not have your current email address. Please call school to provide your current email address and request SIMs Parent activation email to be sent out.
If you have received the activation email, please click on the link to register.
You can then login using your normal Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft username and password.
See video Tutorial:
3. How can I access SIMs Parent?
You can access SIMs Parent via two methods:
- SIMs Parent website shown below (on your computer)
- SIMs Parent App (on your smart phone or tablet)
Go to App Store (if you use iPhone) or Play Store (if you use Android Phone) and search for “SIMS Parent”.
The App icon should look like image below and the Developer of the App should show as Capita SIMs and One.
4. I can’t remember my login details to SIMs Parent or can’t log on?
When you registered on SIMs Parent, you would’ve used your own personal account e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google or Microsoft username and password. Try using one of those accounts. If you are still unsuccessful, please email us at email@example.com . Please ensure you provide your full name and your child’s details. We will then send a new activation email so that you can re-register with your account to access SIMs Parent.
Can I park on school site?
To drop off or collect students - no. This is because we have several buses arriving and departing at key times with our students and we need to keep the drive clear for them. As a significant number of students walk to school we also need to ensure they can walk safely to and from school. Students may be collected from the OAKS housing estate or from Parkside which is just a short walk for the students from the site.
If you have an appointment in school or are visiting for a parents’ meeting etc., then please park anywhere on the visitors’ car park at the end of the drive. Please do not park in the bus bays.
Is my son / daughter allowed to drink water?
Yes, we would encourage them to in order to keep them healthy and hydrated. There are fountains around school with which to fill up their plastic bottles, and they may take water in to lessons with them. They are not allowed to drink water in lessons that involve the use of equipment (Science, ICT or Technology) for their safety.
Are energy drinks allowed in school?
We have banned bringing in and the consumption of energy drinks in school or during the school day around the site. This is due to the detrimental health implications associated with such drinks, which we believe are unsuitable for our young people.
What do I do if I am concerned about the progress my child is making?
Contact your child’s teacher directly to arrange a telephone call or send an e-mail. If this does not answer your query, please contact the Head of the Faculty in question. If you are still concerned, please arrange an appointment to see a member of Leadership Group.
What provision is there before or after school if I need to drop them off early or collect them late?
Yes there is a breakfast club from 8.20am based in the canteen or your child can go to the DAC centre up until 4.20 to complete homework. There is also a great range of after school PE clubs.
What can my child do at break and dinner?
There are few activities which take place at break as it is only 15 minutes. However, the DAC is open if students have a quick piece of work to catch up on. The Dining Room offers a wide range of healthy snacks. Students are also welcome to eat their own food in the Dining Room.
At lunch there are a wide range of clubs taking place, for example Music groups, Art Club, Chess Club, Eco Club to name a few. There are also a wide range of Physical Education clubs which take place in the Sports Hall. Again the Dining Room offers a wide range of healthy meals and students can eat their packed lunch there. On wet lunch times there is a list of rooms where specific year groups can go to stay away from the rain.
What if my child needs medical attention throughout the school day?
If your child feels unwell or is concerned about a pre-existing medical condition during the school day they must report to the Pastoral Office or the Main Reception. At this time the member of staff on duty will address the concern and, where appropriate, send the student back to class. If the member of staff believes it necessary, they will telephone the parent/carer to agree a plan of action. A student will only be sent home once permission is sought from the parent.
What if my child has a pre-existing medical condition that the school needs to know about?
If your child has a pre-existing medical condition it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to inform the school. They must speak with their child’s Head of House and request a Care Plan form. This form must be returned to the Main office/Reception and they will in turn ensure relevant staff (including named First Aiders) are aware of any necessary procedures to ensure the welfare of your son/daughter.
What if my child needs to take medication in the school day?
If your child takes regular medication (e.g. inhaler for Asthma, epi-pen) it is the responsibility of the child to keep that with them at all times. A Care Plan Form would also need to be completed, so that the school are aware that your child is carrying such medication. Reception staff will be able to receive ‘spare medication’ which is clearly labelled. This will be kept in the main office until the end of the academic year. Parents are expected to collect any out of date medication as and when appropriate and replace with new.
If your child is receiving medication for a short period of time (e.g. antibiotics): the Main Reception will be able to look after this during the school day. Again, it must be clearly labelled and instructions for its usage visible. Please ensure your child understands fully when they must take it and report to the main reception at the appropriate times.
Parents must complete The Parental Agreement for Schools to Administer Medicines (Form 3B) before any medication can be received into school and stored centrally in our main office.
What do I do if my child needs a medical appointment in the school day?
Where possible we ask parents to make routine appointments out of school hours and during school holidays. However, where an appointment is needed during the school day please contact the main reception to let them know the date/time/reason for the appointment so that this can be recorded in accordance with our attendance records. An ‘M’ code will appear in your child’s attendance record to record a medical appointment. Your child will need to sign out at the main reception before leaving for the appointment and sign in at the main reception on their return to school.
Can I request a leave of absence for my child in school time?
Regular and punctual attendance at school is both a legal requirement and essential for pupils to maximise their educational opportunities. In recognition of this, the law makes it an offence for a parent or carer to fail to secure the regular attendance of their child at a school at which the child is a registered pupil, without good reason or the agreement of the school.
On 1st September 2013 a significant alteration in the law came into effect which changed the grounds on which a Headteacher could allow a pupil to go on holiday during term time.
Prior to the change the law stated that “a pupil may be granted leave of absence from the school to go away on holiday” where the Headteacher considered that there were “special circumstances relating to that application”. This section has now been deleted and there is now no rule which allows for authorisation to be given specifically for holidays.
The replacement section states that “leave of absence shall not be granted” unless the Headteacher considers that there are “exceptional circumstances relating to that application”.
What are “exceptional circumstances”?
Leave of absence due to urgent and unavoidable circumstances (such as a family bereavement) would clearly be considered exceptional. Other than this, however, it will be appropriate for the school to deal with applications on a case-by-case basis.
At Sir Graham Balfour exceptional circumstances means “being of unique and significant emotional, educational or spiritual value to the child which outweighs the loss of teaching time”.
Factors that will be taken into account include:
- the nature of the event for which leave is sought;
- the frequency with which requests are made for that child;
- the length of absence; and
- the pupil’s attainment, attendance and ability to catch up on missed schooling.
This is not an exhaustive list, however, and there may be other factors which are relevant to a particular application.
Can leave still be granted for family holidays?
Authorising holidays in ordinary circumstances during term time was not allowed prior to the law changes.
Taking holidays in term time for financial reasons or ‘once in a lifetime’ experiences will not be considered exceptional, but giving permission might be justifiable where, for example, it has not been possible for the family to going on holiday during school holidays because either parent is in military service and is not able to take leave during school holidays, but the number of those to whom this will apply will be limited.
How can I get a replacement Bus Pass?
Application for Replacement Bus Pass
To apply for a replacement bus pass you can either;-
Contact Anne Holt on telephone number 01785 278718, payment can be taken over the telephone with a debit or credit card. The charge for a replacement is £5.
Order online the website is https://apps2.staffordshire.gov.uk/web/onlineorder/ and this will direct you to the online payment system for school bus pass replacements.
Where can I find out more information if I am concerned about my child’s social media use?
Most online services offer some safety features that can help you manage access to age-inappropriate content, report concerns or protect privacy. It is a good idea to think about the sites and services your family uses, and check out which features these sites have that might be helpful for you. Talk to your children and make sure they know how to use the tools on the sites and services they use.
Within our PARENT section of our school website we post updates from key organisations such as CEOP outlining the current advice and guidance for students and parents as and when appropriate. If you have any concerns about E-safety please contact the Designated School lead for Safeguarding, Mrs Hartley, who will be more than happy to offer advice on any concerns you may have.
Where can I buy SGB school uniform?
Please use this link to open the section on School Uniform.
What happens if I miss the bus home?
After school, buses do not leave before 3.30, which should be ample time to e.g. get changed from PE or collect materials from Food Tech lessons etc. Teachers are very aware of the need for children to leave on time to catch their bus home and do not routinely keep children behind unless a detention has been given for that evening. So, if a child misses their bus, they should contact Reception who will help them contact a parent or carer who can make arrangements to collect them.
How do I change my contact details?
The best way to do this is to log on to the Gateway and in your child’s area you will see a link to ‘Data Collection Sheet’ where you will be able to inform us of any changes to your child’s details. Save your details, and then the changes will automatically be updated by our School Office. If for any reason you cannot log on, then please either phone the school or email us with the full details of the changes necessary. Clearly we will check carefully the source of such email or telephone call to ensure that only people with parental responsibility are able to make these changes.
What happens in adverse weather?
School closure in the event of extreme adverse weather
Should we decide to close Sir Graham Balfour School in the event of overnight extreme adverse weather, we will –
- Place a message on the homepage of our website (www.sirgrahambalfour.co.uk) by 7.45 am on the day of closure.
- Place a message on our Facebook page.
- Inform the Local Authority who will display a list of school closures on the following website – https://apps2.staffordshire.gov.uk/sln/schoolclosures/
Even if other schools are affected, if there is no closure notice on the above-mentioned media by the time stated above, please assume we are open as usual.
Should we decide to close Sir Graham Balfour School in the event of extreme adverse weather during the school day, we will –
- Place a message on the homepage of our website (www.sirgrahambalfour.co.uk)
- Place a message on our Facebook page
- Send a text message to parents via the mobile phone number we have on record for each student.
- Email parents via the email address we have on record for each student.
- Ask students to use their mobile phones to contact parents to confirm that they can get home safely if released.
- Arrange for school buses to collect children and drive them to their usual drop-off points.
Should it be the case that a child needs to stay in school until a parent or carer is able to collect them, they will be supervised in the DAC Centre.
How can I be more actively involved at SGB?
Parents and carers are always welcome to our Friends of Balfour group – please contact Mrs Gannon (LGannon@sirgrahambalfour.staffs.sch.uk) the School Liason Officer at the school for further details. Occasionally there are vacancies for Parent Governors on our Local Governing Body – these are displayed on our website.
Can I apply for financial assistance?
If your family is suffering financial hardship and needs help for example with the cost of uniform, or contributions to school activities/trips your child can obtain an Application for Financial Assistance form from the Pastoral Office. This should be completed in full and signed by the parent/guardian and returned to the Finance Office. The application will then be considered by the Endowment Fund Committee and you will be notified of the decision by the Finance Office.
Can 6th Formers apply for financial assistance?
The school receives a grant from the Government which is specifically for 6th formers. The 16-19 Bursary fund is used to provide financial support to help students overcome specific financial barriers to participation so they can remain in education. Contact the Finance Office of the Head of 6th form for details and an application form.
Is there any financial assistance for school leavers?
If you were a student at Sir Graham Balfour and are under 26, please contact the Finance Office for information about the Stafford Educational Endowment Charity which seeks to support young adults.
How do I pay for school meals, trips and music fees?
All meals, trips and fees are paid for through the online payment system ParentPay. Parents/Carers will be issued with an activation letter when students start school.
How does my child pay for their meals in the canteen?
The school uses biometric finger ID for students to pay for their meals once parents have given their consent. Alternatively, a PIN number can be allocated.
What happens if I have forgotten to top up my child's meal account on ParentPay?
If a child does not have enough funds on their account to purchase a meal, Finance will contact you and ask for the account to be topped up (it only takes approx. 10 mins for the payment to show on the account). If you cannot be contacted, we will provide the child with something to eat and Finance will contact you later in the day to arrange payment.
How do I find out when my child’s music lesson is?
Timetables for Music lessons change on a weekly basis so that your child does not miss the same lesson every week during the academic year. Updated timetables are put up a week in advance on the Music Lessons display board outside our Music classroom (Room 64). Your child will be able to check the timetable and let you know when their lessons are.
When and where can my child use their mobile phone?
Mobile phones can only be used outside the school building during our morning break or at lunchtime. Mobile phones are not allowed to be used anywhere inside the school building. If your child uses their mobile phone in the school building, we do reserve the right to confiscate it and store it securely in the school safe for upto a week.