SIMS Agora : Online Payments

With increasing demands on office staff, simplifying school payment administration has never been more important. To deliver on this aim, many schools have already taken the decision to invest in an online payment system to collect and manage payments for a wide range of products and services associated with school life.

Whether for school meals, trips, clubs, transport, uniform or other school items, online payment systems have drastically changed the way in which schools and parents have traditionally managed school payments.  Chosen systems have been intuitive and easy for both school staff and parents to use, so much so that a number of schools have already made the decision to go completely cashless.

 

A solution?

Capita have been working to make these tasks even easier for school administrators by ensuring everything they need is in one place. SIMS offers a complete, integrated online solution, SIMS Agora.

SIMS Agora can provide your school with a cost-efficient, secure and simple way to collect payments from parents and sell school items, trips and clubs online. With full integration to SIMS Dinner Money, parents can view their child’s school meal balance, manage payments and top-ups with greater ease and complete peace of mind.

Streamlining the process of administering and collecting payments for school items, Agora provides faster payment reconciliation, automatically transferring payments securely to the school’s nominated bank accounts.

How SIMS Agora helps…

Schools

  • Simply create multiple administration logins and add more bank accounts where required
  • Streamline all parent payments automatically with the complete integration of SIMS Agora and SIMS Dinner Money
  • SIMS Agora makes managing free primary school meals and collecting meal payments even easier with the synchronisation of SIMS Dinner Money and SIMS Agora
  • Offer parents the option to pay by instalments spreading the costs in more manageable chunks or all at once
  • Receive monies quicker for more accurate data with two BACS payments a week
  • With an intuitive interface, simply create products, add relevant attachments and information, and review the product page with ease, helping to save your staff time
  • Reliable stock management and place control. Automatically manage stock and place control and provide parents with access to check availability
  • Detailed reconciliation reports provide the data you need for every payment – you can view them online or download to Excel
  • Ensuring your information is always secure is a priority – SIMS Agora provides additional secure access through integrated two-factor (2FA) authentication
  • PCI compliant and merchant account provided by SIMS
  • Heighten security by reducing the amount of cash held onsite or even become a cashless school
  • No hidden charges or gateway charges

 

Parents

  • Manage payments anywhere any time via PC, tablet or smartphone
  • Parents can pay by manual cash or cheque, as well as debit/credit card, PayPoint or Post Office payments
  • Each parent has their own secure account and can see all their children’s accounts at once
  • View and top up pupil school meal balances
  • With everything in one place, parents can be offered the option to pay by instalments spreading the costs in more manageable chunks
  • Receive alerts on balances, payments due and new products
  • Full view of product balances and historic payments
  • Improve safeguarding and security by ensuring children are safer by not having to carry cash to school,
  • Tested to the highest security standard, ensuring parent, pupil and payment information is always secure

New and Coming Next Features

Email user invitations in Agora

It is now possible to generate and invite student’s parents/ guardians to SIMS Agora via the new Send Email feature. As schools look towards the new academic year and with it, new starters, inviting users has never been easier, saving you significant time.

To get started go to the Users Tab and select Manage Invitations and the Group your after to quickly generate and send references by email. The email will be sent to the contacts primary email address in SIMS.  This feature also extends to the new Employees screens.

Employee payments 

We are delighted to announce that following the Easter holidays, employees will be able to view and make top ups to their meal balance through Agora.

It’s quick and easy to get employees started and will mean employees can manage their meal balance themselves, anytime, anywhere, rather than just in school – streamlining administrative processes and reliance on cash within schools; providing schools with the stepping stones to becoming a cashless school.

And just like parents, employees will receive notifications when their balance is running low helping employees and schools stay on top of debt.

What does Employees mean?

Employees includes all current staff in SIMS – which includes teachers, teaching assistants and support staff.

Card Refunds 

Card refunds : It is now possible for schools to process refunds directly back to parent’s bank accounts using Agora, removing the need to shuffle cash in school.

Improved synchronisation with SIMS Dinner Money : All new installations of SIMS Agora will maintain synchronicity with SIMS Dinner Money on an almost real-time basis, keeping school and parents completely up to date with payments and balances.

Staff Payments : Schools will be soon be able to collect payments for staff meals online.

How can we help?

The MIS team have successfully implemented SIMS Agora at over a dozen schools in Gateshead (the list continues to grow every month) with some schools processing well over £50,000 in receipts over the last 12 months.

We strongly believe that the successful deployment of the Agora online payment system begins with high quality advice and support followed up with training specifically tailored to the needs of each individual school. We are able to provide schools with a fully managed experience throughout the entire Agora implementation process, meaning you can relax and await your training once all the technical work is complete.

For our SLA schools, the MIS Team can support with

  • Independent advice and guidance on the Agora solution
  • Marketing support
  • Obtain quotations on 1 and 3 year subscriptions + discounts
  • Contract guidance
  • Completion of Capita pre-requisite tasks
  • Coordination and management the installation process
  • Delivery of all Agora training
  • Providing consultancy on making Agora work for you
  • Advising on the mitigation of transaction charges
  • Supporting to the parental activation process
  • Ongoing Agora support

All of these services are offered FULLY INCLUSIVE within our MIS Core SLA and incur NO additional charges to schools, a saving of £500-£1000 per site.

Useful Links

Click below to download the SIMS Agora product brochure or alternatively contact the MIS Team on 0191 4338525 if you would like further information or guidance on implementing SIMS Agora.

SIMS Agora Product Guide (PDF)

SIMS Agora product Website

Sims Employee Presentation