SIMS & FMS Spring Release 2022 - Annual Entitlement Keys

Posted  25th March 2022
Posted by  SBS

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Upcoming changes to SIMS & FMS - Annual Entitlement Eligibility Checking

The upcoming SIMS & FMS Spring 2022 Release (SIMS Version 7.204) will include an Annual Entitlement check built into the SIMS & FMS Applications.

Please note that without an Annual Entitlement Eligibility Key from ESS, this will have an impact on the upcoming school returns, including the Summer Census in SIMS and CFR Reports within FMS.

This annual entitlement eligibility check ensures that SIMS and FMS software updates can be used only by schools that have or had an annual entitlement agreement that was current at the time the software update was released.

To facilitate this, ESS will be sending out an 'Annual Entitlement Eligibility Key' to the school's Nominated contact who is listed on the school's Annual Entitlement Agreement with ESS.

Once schools have had the SIMS and FMS Spring 2022 (7.204) upgrades applied, then both applications will prompt for the Eligibility Keys to be entered. This Key will only need to be entered once into the SIMS & FMS applications for it to then be saved into the database and checks to be validated successfully.

Eligibility Check:

After SIMS & FMS have been upgraded to the Spring 2022 release (SIMS Version = 7.204, FMS Version = 6.204), then all users will receive the below message during login regarding the Eligibility Check until a valid key has been entered. Once the valid key has been entered, the messages will disappear and no-longer prompt.

If the user logging in doesn't have the Eligibility Key, then they can select the "Remind me Later" option to dismiss the message for the rest of that logged in session. This message will however continue to prompt for each user and each login session for SIMS or FMS until a valid Eligibility Key has been entered.

To Enter the Eligibility Key: Select the 'Enter Eligibility Key' button, and then type or copy & paste the Eligibility Key from the ESS Email into the text field below.

When you select "OK" SIMS will check with the ESS Licence server to confirm that it is valid.

Once Validated, you will receive a message to confirm that it has been saved successfully and ask to restart SIMS for the change to take effect.

Key Information:
Without a valid Eligibility Key in SIMS: The Census menus will be unavailable.
(Both of the menus [Routines | Statutory Returns] & [Tools | Statutory Return Tools] will not show for any users.)
All other areas of SIMS will continue to function.

Without a valid Eligibility Key in FMS: The CFR menus will be unavailable.
(The [Reports | CFR] menu will show but will be greyed and unable to open for any user.)
All other areas of FMS will continue to work as usual.

Who is this will affect?
This will affect All Schools using SIMS and/or FMS from the Spring 2022 Release.

When will this be happening?
The Eligibility Keys will be sent out from ESS to schools via email before the release, these emails will be sent from the Week Beginning 28th March 2022.

The SIMS & FMS Spring release will be available from the 4th April 2022.
Once this upgrade has been applied the Eligibility Keys will be required for the Census routines in SIMS, and the CFR Reports in FMS.

How to locate the Eligibility Keys:
The Eligibility Keys will be sent out via email to schools from the Week beginning 28th March.
This will be sent to the nominated contact who completed/signed the Annual Entitlement Agreement with ESS.
The Email Subject will have the Title: "SIMS FMS Eligibility Key".

If a school cannot locate the eligibility keys, then they can be resent to the school using the form on the following link:

This form can also be accessed by clicking on the link displayed on the message within SIMS/FMS. It may take 1-2 days for the keys to be re-sent once the form has been filled in.

(Ensure that the email address entered is school email address to avoid delays.)

How can SBS Help:

For schools that have their SIMS & FMS upgrades carried out by SBS as part of their SIMS Support, schools can forward the Eligibility Keys to our service desk/upgrade teams, where we will enter the Keys into SIMS & FMS on behalf of the school following the upgrades.

This will ensure that access to the Census and CFR areas is uninterrupted for staff members accessing SIMS or FMS and reduce questions about the messages that would prompt during login.

SBS will be contacting our supported schools where we carry out the SIMS/FMS Upgrades within the next few weeks, to book in the upgrades for the school. During these calls/emails we will also remind you about the Eligibility Keys.

For Multi-Academy Trust schools (supported by SBS), we will likely already be in contact with the relevant staff members at the Trust for scheduling the upgrades and will be discussing the Eligibility Keys as well. MAT schools shouldn't need to individually ask about upgrades but can still forward the Eligibility Keys to SBS for when the upgrades are applied.

Process for SBS Schools:

  1. Forward the ESS Eligibility Key email from ESS to our SBS MIS Service Desk email address.
  2. Advise a Date & Time when the school would like their SIMS Upgrade.
    (We usually schedule upgrades out of hours in an evening [e.g., from 7PM], to avoid down-time to SIMS during the school day. With the Easter Holidays coming up, let us know if you'd prefer this during the day instead.)
  3. SBS will schedule in the upgrade to be applied, and once upgraded we will enter the keys into SIMS & FMS.
  4. Following the updates, staff will be able to log into SIMS/FMS without any prompts for the keys and will have full access to the Census and CFR reports as before the updates.

More information:
This guide from ESS provides some more information on this if required.

If you require any assistance please call us on 0345 222 1551 | Opt 3 or email

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