Back to School – Top 10 Sleuth tips for the new year

In preparation for a the beginning of each new academic year, taking a few minutes to carry out the simple administrative tasks below will ensure Sleuth is ready for staff and pupils when they return.

How-To Videos are available for many of the tasks from the Help menu in Sleuth.

To perform these tasks you will need to be logged in as a Sleuth Admin user and may also require some additional user permissions (where these additional permissions are required the menu options referenced below are marked *UP, see also tip 10).

For schools that use the Sleuth Importer tool, much of the core data used by Sleuth (e.g. staff, students, timetable) is automatically synchronised with the data in your MIS.   If you use the Importer tool but your Sleuth data is not synchronised with your MIS then these Sleuth Importer Troubleshooting Notes will help your Network Manager to diagnose any data or connectivity issues.

Students - Adding new students / promoting existing students

There are three ways to update your student roll in Sleuth:

  1. Updating using the Sleuth Importer: The Sleuth Importer tool automatically adds new students, updates existing students' details (e.g. year, tutor and house groups) and marks leavers off-roll by synchronising with the data in your MIS. Note that this may not happen until new students become 'current' which is usually just before the official start of the new academic year. Refer to the Sleuth Importer Troubleshooting Notes if the importer process is not running or Sleuth data does not appear to be synchronising.
  2. Updating students via CSV: Email us a CSV file with your full student roll and we can load this for you (see Sleuth CSV Import for the format we need)
  3. Updating students manually: If you do not have an MIS or choose to manually update students in Sleuth, then simply add any new students via Menu -> Admin Settings School -> Students then clicking the Add Student button on the toolbar. To update an existing student, select the student from the list and update the relevant details (e.g. untick on-roll for leavers and set new year group and tutor group for promoted students).

Note that event data for off-roll students is all retained in Sleuth for analysis and reporting. Marking a pupil as off-roll simply means that they can no longer be added to new events. (See Tip 10 for how to give permission to staff to search/analyse off-roll data).

Staff - Adding new staff / updating existing staff

There are two ways to update your staff roll in Sleuth:

  1. Updating using the Sleuth Importer: If you are using the Sleuth Importer then any new and updated staff details in your MIS will automatically be in Sleuth.
  2. Updating staff manually
    If you do not have an MIS or choose to manually update staff in Sleuth, then a Sleuth Admin user can add any new staff via Menu -> Admin Settings School -> Staff and clicking the Add Staff button on the toolbar. To update an existing staff member record, select the staff from the list and update the relevant details (e..g. untick on-roll for leavers).

For new staff that need access to Sleuth, you will need to assign a username and password. This can be done for individual staff (via Menu -> Admin Settings School -> Staff) or in bulk for all new staff by using Menu -> Admin Settings School -> the Login Invitations (Staff) (*UP) (note that this feature requires staff to have an email address to receive the login invitation and they have to login within 24 hours of you sending the invite).

Note that event data for off-roll staff is all retained in Sleuth for analysis and reporting. Marking staff as off-roll means that they can no longer be added to new events and they can no longer access Sleuth. (See Tip 10 for how to give permission to staff to search/analyse off-roll data).

See tips 4, 5, 7 and 10 which also relate to staff details and staff use of Sleuth.

Add new term dates as Date Ranges

For quick and effective searching and reporting, add your new school year and term dates to the Date Ranges in Sleuth from Menu -> Admin Settings School -> Date Ranges.

We recommend that you set-up date ranges for each of your academic terms and for the current academic year. If you also report by half-term these should also be added. Sleuth has its own system date ranges (called This Academic Year, This Term, This Half-Term) which are dynamically set according to today's date.

A useful tip when entering date ranges is to use the Sort Order field to order the date ranges in an appropriate way, e.g. chronologically or for grouping ranges for each school year together. You can also retire Date Ranges you no longer wish to use by selecting and unticking Show in Lists.

Note that there is now an option in the search criteria for date ranges that can be used when running saved MyReports. This option is Select when Reporting. This can be used for any report to prompt the user to select a date range when they click the link to run the MyReport. This provides the flexibility to run the same report for any date range you choose.

Update Staff Roles

If you use Sleuth to manage referrals and event notifications then you will need to review the staff roles defined in Sleuth and update these accordingly. This just involves setting the correct staff members for each Tutor Group, Year Group, House Group and Subject/Activity in Menu -> Admin Settings School.

When any actions are referred or notified to a staff role (rather than a named staff member) then Sleuth will automatically identify the correct member of staff from the pupil's details (i.e. their tutor, year or house group) and/or the event details (i.e. the subject).

Note that there are now additional deputy/assistant roles that can also be set and used in referrals and notifications.

Add/Update Staff Teams

Staff teams are a recent addition to Sleuth and can be used in referrals, reports and for reviewing usage. See Menu -> Admin Settings School -> Staff Teams (*UP) to manage these. If there have been new staff joining and leaving, these groups can be created/updated.

Suggested staff teams might include the Leadership Team, Year Teams, Behaviour Team, Dept/Faculty Team, Phase Team, NQTs, TAs, etc.

When you have setup staff teams, you will then be able to analyse events by staff team, can refer an event to all members of a staff team and can monitor the usage of MyReports for each staff team.

Review the effect of timetable changes

If the structure of the school day has been significantly changed then new Periods/Sessions may need to be created via Menu -> Admin Setting School -> Periods.

If you use the Sleuth Importer to synchronise your timetable then any new timetabled/teaching periods will be created automatically. Any Periods/Sessions no longer in use are removed from selection when creating new events. Note that periods that are not set-up with teaching groups in your timetable (e.g. break, lunch) will need to be created manually in Sleuth for each weekday.

When your periods are all up to date, go to Menu -> Admin Settings School -> Period Groups to review and update the corresponding period groups to reflect the new Periods.

If you use a 2-week timetable you will also need to go to Menu->System->System Settings (*UP) to set the date for week 1 of the timetable.

Update user defaults

Remind staff to check and update their default Sleuth setup via Menu -> MySettings -> MyDefaults. Staff may have responsibility for a new tutor group or year group and these can be updated here.

All saved MyReports on the user's homepage that use MyTutorGroup, MyHouseGroup, MyYearGroup or MySubjectGroup in the search criteria will pick up the correct group from these MyDefaults.

A Sleuth Admin user can do this on behalf of staff by selecting and updating their individual staff record via Menu -> Admin Setting School -> Staff.

Note that the range of MyDefaults that staff have access to set is controlled in User Permissions (see tip 10)

Reflect any policy changes

Before a new academic year begins it is a good idea to review and tidy-up your maps (for negative and positive behaviours, for actions and for notes) to ensure Sleuth still reflects your policies and pastoral systems.

Go to Menu -> Admin Settings Pastoral -> Negative Behaviour Policy Map. Any behaviours that are not in a group should be added to the relevant group (or by creating a new group if necessary). Click the link at the bottom of the screen to Switch to Negative Action Policy Map and review actions too. Repeat for Positive Behaviour Policy Map and Note Map.

Any behaviours or note types that are no longer used can be retired (untick Show in Lists). To identify un-used behaviours, try running a Student Count by Behaviour report for the last academic year and consider retiring any behaviours with a zero/low count.

Check that levels and points on behaviours are still appropriate and meaningful. These can then be adjusted accordingly.

Add/update MyReports

Sleuth key-users are able to create and share MyReports with colleagues. The most efficient way to do this is through the [email protected] user account which includes a library of pre-defined reports for selection.

There are two very helpful system reports that indicate how staff are using Sleuth:

  • Menu-> System -> System Usage (*UP) shows a list of staff with a summary of their usage with a given date range including events entered and total searches/reports setup and run
  • Menu-> System -> Report Usage (*UP) shows the frequency of use for each MyReport by staff in any staff team for any date range

These system monitoring reports are an efficient way to review usage and check whether MyReports are in use and by whom. You can then invite staff to request reports that they would like to be setup and shared with them.

If you are not familiar with the [email protected] account or have not been shown how to create and share reports, then please get in touch with the Sleuth advisory team to book an online session where we can help you to ensure all your staff have 1-click access to the reports they need for their role.

Note, a shared search/report is indicated by the blue share icon to the left of the MySearch/MyReport link on your home page. Hovering on this icon reveals who owns this report and shared it with you.

User permissions

Permission can be given to individual staff for certain features of Sleuth. Usually one or more of the Sleuth Admin users will also be able to administer the additional User Permissions and will have the Menu -> Admin Settings School -> User Permissions (*UP) option. Prior to a new school year when new staff are joining and roles are changing, check that the correct staff have access to the options they need, for example, to Search off-roll data or edit System Settings.

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