For our formal training course dates and locations please visit SIMS Nova Timetabling – 3 day course (2+1 days)

SIMS Training

Remote timetabling training courses

Course description

SBS has created a range of remotely delivered timetabling training courses to help you build next year’s timetable or develop your own skills.

1 FREE module and 6 individual modules at £50. Choose the modules to suit your requirements. Should you complete all modules we have additional topics to enhance your knowledge!

All training would be delivered in a combination of:

  • Explanation of Theory
  • Demonstrations
  • User practice on their own machines

SIMS Accredited support

Target audience

Staff in secondary schools with responsibility for constructing and maintaining the timetable. Staff using school closures to benefit from CPD training.

The course has a number of elements

1. FREE 1-hour Introduction to Curriculum Planning
2. Preparation module
We believe the above are mandatory to gain understanding of key principles prior to the start of learning how to use Nova T
3. 5 core modules
These will provide the essential knowledge to create a 1-week timetable and are ideal for a new timetabler, or individual modules could be purchased as refreshers
4. Additional modules
These cover a range of resources in Nova T6 that can be used understand the costs of a timetable and assist in the process of building / scheduling a timetable

Upcoming 2020 remote dates

Course/Modules Details Date Cost(£)
Introduction to Curriculum Planning Introduction to Curriculum Planning – 1 Hr (Presentation using PowerPoint and Excel).

After this tutorial you will understand the terminology used in planning a timetable, know what the key decisions are to make when planning a timetable, and on overtview of the different approaches to creating a timetable.

  • What is banding and why is it used
  • What is a timetable cycle?
  • How to work out much time a teacher has available
  • How many hours of each subject should be taught per week?
  • Dealing with subject choices for GCSE’s etc
  • What is a Carousel?
  • One-week or two-week timetables
TBC Free
Module 1 – Preparation A. Introduction to Nova-T – 45 mins (Demonstration of Nova-T).

After this tutorial you will know how to open the program Nova T, understand the purpose of all the menus in Nova, understand the which steps need to be done when.

  • What is Nova T
  • Permissions required and how to start
  • Tour of all the menus in Nova-T
  • Introduction to key concepts and when they are done
  • How to install SIMS on a laptop
TBC £50
B. How does Nova – T link into SIMS 45 mins (Demonstration using Nova and SIMS)

This demonstration will explore how Nova integrates with SIMS, gain an understanding of the impact of Nova on Assessment, Exams and the Post 16 Census and the impact on 6th form funding.

  • How rooms link to SIMS
  • How subjects link into SIMS
  • Now staff link into SIMS
  • What is a course and how it impacts SIMS?
  • How Nova impacts various parts of SIMS
Module 2 – Making a start A. Preparing to start next year’s timetable. 60 mins (Demonstration and Practical Exercise)

These demonstrations and practical activities will help you start the process of creating next year’s timetable and how to start changing it to meet next year’s needs.

  • Starting the next years’ timetable based on this year’s timetable
  • Updating Subjects, Rooms and Staff
  • Dealing with staff vacancies
  • Updating Teacher loadings and departments
  • What are facilities and how to use them
TBC £50
B. The Cycle menu in Nova 30 mins (Demonstration and Practical Exercise)

This unit will enable you to understand the Cycle Tab of Nova and how it can be used to customise the timetable to meet next year’s requirements.

  • Changing the structure of days and periods in the week
  • The role of breaks in scheduling
  • Non-Teaching lessons
  • Dealing with registration periods
  • Period types to limit when lessons can happen
  • Dealing with split lunches and breaks
  • Defining period times
Module 3 – Module menu A. The Model menu in Nova 45 mins (Demonstration and Practical Exercise)

During this session you gain a good understanding of the Model tab of Nova change the number of lessons and subjects delivered in each year group. We will also discuss various methods getting the right number pupils in each class. We will explore Option Blocks, Classes taught in reg group classes and subject taught in sets

  • Changing the number of pupils per year group
  • Changing the year and band structure
  • Updating number of lessons of a subject
  • Changing the subjects in a block
  • Creating new Linear Groups, Option Blocks or Carousels
  • Exploring different lay outs of curriculum models
  • Assigning colours to blocks and subjects
TBC £50
B. The Model menu in Nova 45 mins (Demonstration and Practical Exercise)

This unit will explore various methods getting the right number pupils in each class and will explore ways of meeting the needs of a 6th Form.

Module 4 – Classes A. The Classes and Sessions menus in Nova 45 mins

During this session we will explore how to link teachers to classes and deal with rooming constraints such as 8 science teachers and only 5 labs or only 1 Food Tech Room.
During this session we will explore the role of Block shapes and session lengths how they are used to manage double lessons.

  • Description of Block Shapes and Session Lengths
  • Defining Session lengths Manually
  • Defining Session lengths using Global rules
TBC £50
B. NCC Tab in Nova (Non-Class Codes) 45 mins

During this session we will explore how we can set up rules to ensure classes do not happen when part time teachers are not working, we will explore how Nova can be used manage staff rotas and PPA lessons.

  • Introduction
  • Dealing with Part-time Staff
  • • Including soft and hard locks

  • Dealing with Other Unavailability
  • Break Rules
  • Break Duties / Lunch duties etc:
  • PPA
  • Dealing with Registration Sessions
Module 5 A. The Block, Band and Auto Tabs in Nova 90 mins

During this session we explore the menus related to building blocks and scheduling the timetable, practicing using the auto-scheduler and manually scheduling.

  • Introduction to the Block and Auto Tabs
  • Building Blocks Using
  • • Building All blocks Automatically
    • Building Blocks Manually
    • Building Blocks that have more than 1 teacher
    • Building Linear Groups
    • Dealing with blocks that will not build

  • Basic intro to the tools of combing charts and partial trails
TBC £50
B. Dealing with problems encountered during the scheduling process 90 mins

We will find solutions to the various situations that cause scheduling to fail. From finding alternative teachers, reschedule sections of the timetable to exploring how we can break some of the defined rules to find a solution.

  • Finding Alternative Staff
  • Breaking the rules
  • • 1pd Rule
    • Double Booking Teachers
    • Minimum Periods and clashing classes
    • Splitting a Double between two teachers

  • Using the Timetables to see when people are free
  • Checking Alternative Curriculum allocations
  • Allocating PPA
Module 6 – Distribution A. Preparing to distribute the timetable: 90 mins

This unit will cover the process of allocating rooms to classes and dealing with classes with no rooms.

  • Review of subject rooms and teacher rooms
  • Automatic Rooming
  • Manual Rooming
  • Dealing with classes with inconsistent rooms or no rooms
  • We will demonstrate all the types of reports that can be run in Nova along with how to bulk print staff and rooms and how to download the timetable to SIMS.

  • Demonstrating the various Timetable displays
TBC £50

Modules can be purchased individually @ £50 as required for refreshing your knowledge, or as a full course with all modules (recommended for new timetablers) for a discounted price of £250

Additional Modules Details Date & Time Cost(£)
Timetable Enhancements 90 minutes This module will show how the routines Analysis, Combing Charts, Partial Schedule Trials, Clash Tables and how they can be used to understand the costs of the timetable, average class sizes and reduce the time taken to schedule the timetable. TBC £50
Preparing for the new Academic Year (Secondary) 90 Mins This module provides an overview of the activities required in SIMS to prepare for the new academic year, from pastoral promotion, to populating the curriculum schemes, making pupils and staff leave. Dealing with option allocations, and the alternative curriculum. TBC £50
Creating a two-week timetable – 90 Minutes (Demonstration) During this unit we will explore the different approaches to creating and scheduling a two-week timetable.

  • Scheduling the two weeks directly
  • Creating a second week based on the first week
  • Using the interleave process
  • Converting a 1 week model to a 2 week model
  • Adapting the cycle to use interleave
  • Changes to staff, rooms, subjects, levels
  • Dealing with doubles in preparation for interleave
  • Scheduling single lessons
  • Creating the second week using interleave
TBC £50
Starting your timetable early – 90 Minutes (Demonstration) Some schools start teaching their new courses in June as opposed to waiting for September.
This module explores the best way of starting a September timetable in June.

  • Overview of different approaches
  • How to transfer the timetable for a June start
  • How to create next years timetable based on the June’s timetable
  • 6th Form courses and levels
TBC £50
Dealing with Split Lunches and Breaks – 90 Minute Due to the limitation of the dining rooms and play areas some schools are required to provide lunches or breaks to different years at different times

  • How to use the cycle to reflect reality
  • How to schedule split lunches and deal with staff rotas
TBC £50
Approaches to Scheduling 6th Form Classes – 90 Minute We will look at some of the methods to enable classes to run with small numbers and review the different approaches to scheduling 6th form classes

  • The approaches to dealing with 6th form classes
  • Different curriculum models in the 6th form
  • The use of clashing blocks to enable pupils to continue their courses
  • The importance of dates and levels with regard to the 6th form census
TBC £50
Using SIMS and Nova T to meet the needs of the SEN Dept – 90 Minutes This module explores how to display teaching assistant timetables in SIMS and how to track where pupils with extra support are in school

  • The use of the alternative curriculum module
  • Adding teaching assistants to classes
  • Dealing with break out classes
  • How best to include SEN units in the timetable
TBC £50

Should you require any further information please talk to us on 0345 222 1551 • option 3.

To reserve a space on this course please complete the booking form and email to

Click here to contact us today!

12 divided by 2 =

Please see our privacy policy