SIMS Options 5 FAQ’S

What is the password to access Options 5?

A password is required only if the Password.dat file is located in the SIMS. net folder. This is the same folder that contains OptionsW.exe.

Options is accessible via the Focus menu in SIMS for all users who have been granted applicable permissions in System Manager. Users assigned to the Timetabler group have these permissions by default.

In the Options Security dialog, select Manager as the user. The Enter password field can be left blank for users assigned to the Manager group. You can set up other users and assign passwords via System | Passwords in Options 5.

How can I use Options 5 with a derived year?

If Options 5 is being used with a derived year and some students from a specific year cannot be allocated, this may be because some of the blocks are not linked to the relevant bands.

In Options 5, click the Block Details button.

Select each individual block and add any missing bands for the source years as well as for the derived year. You can then allocate all students to classes.

If you export the blocks back to Nova-T6, the links to the derived year band(s) must remain in place.

When creating a derived year, you are advised to assign it a two character year name in Nova-T6 so that Options 5 can correctly recognise it.

How do I make Newly Admitted Students available in Options 5?

In SIMS, select Focus | School | Pastoral Structure | Next Academic Year Structure, right-click the Pastoral Structure node, and select Members from the pop-up menu.

In the Allocate Students/Applicants dialog, select the Accepted Applicants check box to filter the students displayed for allocation.

Locate the students who are not available in Options 5 and specify a year group for each of them by placing a tick in the relevant column.

In Options 5, select Tools | Transfers | Import Students to import the students from SQL. The pre-admission students who have been assigned to a year group are now available in Options 5.

How do I link a new subject to a course in Options 5?

In Nova-T6, select the .SPL file that contains the data required for the Options implementation. This will probably be for next year.

Create the new subject via Plan | Subjects.

In Options 5, re-import the curriculum so that the course list is updated with the new subject.

NOTE: Please be aware that any courses that have been deleted from Options 5 will be re-imported with the curriculum.

You can change the subject links in the Courses focus of Options 5. The classes for these courses can then be exported into Nova-T6 using the Subject link. These classes are named according to the Subject code and not the Course code when viewed in Nova-T6. If the classes in Options and Nova-T6 have different names because the course/subject codes are different, when the student allocations are exported to SQL, you will need to link the classes manually.

Can the Options 5 choices from last year be carried forward into this year?

It is possible to re-use the options choices that were selected for the previous year and promote them into the next year.

In Options 5, select Tools | Implementation Manager, highlight the implementation for last year and click the Duplicate button.

In the duplicated implementation, change the dates and any other parameters to reflect the details for the new year. Continue with the normal Options processes for setting up an implementation and ensure that the band information is refreshed by re-importing the student data.

The External Directory for this implementation does not point to the SIMS .net directory. How can I rectify this?

In Options 5, select File | Implementations or Tools | Implementation Manager.

Highlight the implementation and click the Edit Details button. The SIMS .net directory should display the folder on the local workstation that contains Pulsar.exe.

The student allocations to classes in Options are not exporting to SQL but we cannot understand why this is happening.

In SIMS, select Focus | School | School Details and ensure that all the fields on the School Details page have been completed. If information is missing, this can prevent student allocations from importing into SQL.

Is there an Options 5 handbook available that I can use to familiarise myself with the processes?

Please refer to the Using Options 5 handbook

What are the implications of starting next year’s timetable early?

Please refer to the  Starting Next Year’s Curriculum Early mini guide for detailed information on how to proceed.

How do I set up a course to cover two blocks in Options 5?

If SIMS Options Offer is also in use, courses that have been designated with a width of 2, 3 or 4 are shown in Options 5 as multiple block unit courses.

Where a course occupies more than one block, you must manually allocate two block units to the course before the student choices are added.

You need to delete the single block course and recreate the course with a double block allocation using the – and + buttons through the Courses focus.

If you want Science to be both a single and a double unit course, leave the single course in place and create an additional new course with a unique code and attach this to the Science subject in the Courses focus.

When the student choices are entered through the Student focus, the Science course is automatically granted 2 rows and on allocation, the students are added to 2 classes.

The classes are not being placed into blocks and the students are not being placed into classes when using the automatic allocation process. What should I do to rectify this?

In Options 5, select the Student focus and double-click an individual student to view their year and band information. This also indicates the blocks for which the student is eligible. If this information is incorrect, please follow these steps:

  • On the Implementation screen, check that the start and end dates for the implementation correspond to the band membership dates for the students in SIMS for next year.
  • Re-import the student data into Options 5. However, if you used SIMS Options Offer initially, this step should not be carried out.
  • On the Block screen, ensure that the blocks are available to the bands to which the students belong.

If the band information for the affected student is displayed correctly, you need to check the details of each block and ensure that the correct year is displayed. You should also ensure that the bands that the block serves have been selected.

The details of the implementation can be changed in Edit Details and the student band memberships can be adjusted via the Curriculum Assignment by Student menu route in SIMS.

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