New version out – 1.71 (9th March 2017). See the change list and download below.

Absence & Cover Analysis is a spreadsheet which uses the absence and cover information that is provided by SIMS to produce tables and charts which provide an insight into the data – something that we cannot make SIMS natively provide us with.

After processing the information, you are provided with the following tables and graphs.

  • Absences
    • Days Lost by Job Role
    • Employee Absences
    • Employees with more than 10 days absent
    • Number of Absences in the Last 12 Months
    • 12 Month rolling absence summary
    • Number of absences on each day
    • Chart of Number of Absences on each day, with trend line
    • Absences by Reason
    • Chart of Absences by Reason
    • Absences by Reason and Day of Week (to show if all sickness occurs mainly on a Friday or Monday)
    • Chart of Absences by Reason and Day
  • Cover
    • Year Groups affected by Cover Lessons
    • Subjects affected by Cover Lessons
    • Matrix of Years and Subjects
    • Chart of Years and Subjects affected by Cover Lessons
    • Number of Supply Teachers by day with number of cover periods provided by that Teacher
    • Cover Type by Date – whether Internal, Supply, or No Cover
    • Internal Staff Cover Lessons taken – for monitoring Rarely Cover
    • Number of Lessons Covered by Reason (New!)

All provided in an easy to use package!

Some images of the output data are below to give you an idea of what you may be able to produce.

A package containing the necessary reports from SIMS and the Excel spreadsheet itself is included below, with some instructions on how to use the spreadsheet.

If you think of something that you would like the spreadsheet to show, which it doesn’t already, let me know. Use the contact form above to send me a message. As long as the data is available in the SIMS reports then it can be included in any of the reports.

Hope this saves a few administrators some time with their number crunching!


  1. Download the zip file and extract the contents to a folder on your computer.
  2. Open SIMS and go to Reports –> Import and import the SIMS Absence Reports.rptdef file from the extracted files.
  3. Run the ‘Absences: Absences’ report and save the results in an Excel file.
  4. Run the ‘Absences: Classes’ report. You should be asked to enter the Academic Year of the classes to export. Save the results in an Excel file. (If you do not get prompted for the academic year, then you are probably not running the latest version of the reports. Please re-import the reports.)
  5. Go to Focus –> School –> Arrange Cover. Open a Cover Day and select Print. Make sure Notice Board Summary, Full List and Include Reason for Absence are selected and click Print. Save the webpage to a folder either with the default .mht extension or a .htm extension. You will need to repeat this for every day that you wish to look at. I found that I could save a whole terms cover lists in around 30 minutes.
  6. Open the spreadsheet. You may be prompted to Enable Macros. If you do not then the spreadsheet will not work.
  7. Click Absences in the Load Data group on the ribbon. Select the Absences file that you saved in step 3.
  8. Click Classes in the Load Data group on the ribbon. Select the Classes file that you saved in step 4.
  9. Click Cover in the Load Data group on the ribbon. Select all the Full Notice Board Summary files that you created in step 5. You can import up to 100 days of cover at one time. (May take a while though!)
  10. Click Set Periods in the Generate group on the ribbon. Type in all of the periods in your day and choose a period type from column two. Order does not matter as the workbook will sort it itself.
  11. Once everything is imported, select Set Dates on the Generate Data group. Choose the dates that you want to analyse. The greater the range, the longer it will take to generate.
  12. Once you are happy, click Generate Data.
  13. Once generation is complete you can use the Absence Analysis Reports and Cover Analysis Reports buttons to get to a menu of all the available tables and charts.

Once data has been imported, it remains in the workbook.

  • Class data is overwritten every time it is imported.
  • Absence data is overwritten every time it is imported.
  • Cover data is overwritten if the same day has already been imported, else it is appended.

The Ribbon

Following the new Microsoft convention – we have a ribbon! This allows you to access all the functions of the workbook.

  • Home – takes you back to the Welcome page.
  • Cover – Loads Cover data into the workbook
  • Classes – Loads Class data into the workbook
  • Absences – Loads Absence data into the workbook
  • Set Dates – Specifies the dates to perform the Analysis on
  • Generate Data – produces tables and charts on the imported data
  • Absence Analysis Reports – a menu of all the absence related tables and charts
  • Cover Analysis Reports – a menu of all the cover related tables and charts
  • Print Current Worksheet – prints the currently active worksheet
  • Print Cover Reports – prints all the cover related tables and charts
  • Print Absence Reports – prints all the absence related tables and charts
  • Clear Data – removes all the data from the workbook
  • Import Previous Version – imports an older version of the workbook
  • Exit – closes the workbook

Compatibility & Security

The spreadsheet has been tested and works in Microsoft Office 2007, 2010 and 2013.

I recommend that as soon as any information is imported into the workbook, it is password protected and stored in a suitably secure area.



  • Generate Data no longer fails when Absences have been recorded which do not have an end date.
  • Generate Data ignores all absences which have neither a start nor end date as they are erroneous
  • Periods can be defined which are then used to determine Class cover information
  • Improved Class lookups when analysing Cover Data
  • Pivot tables have had any school specific filters removed from them


  • Fixed Ribbon buttons in Microsoft Excel 2007
  • Fixed missing VBA reference in Import Cover


  • Fixed further missing VBA references in Import Cover
  • Inserted missing declarations in Import Absences and Import Classes
  • Import Cover Days now updates and shows correct information
  • Cover – Cover Type report dates are now shown in date order
  • Clear Data leaves header rows in place enabling Import to run
  • Tables have gridlines
  • Import Previous Version command added
  • Lessons Covered by Reason report added


  • Multiple selected sheets no longer stop absences and classes from importing


  • Corrected PivotTable datasources
  • Stopped tables showing spurious data when no data imported
  • Error checking when running Generate Data – checks for data existence first


  • Missing Role Information does not stop import of Absences
  • Fixed bug in Import Cover where Cover date not in expected row


  • Added in Status Bar Notifications when importing or processing data
  • Significant performance improvements when importing cover, class and absences data, also when running the Generate Data routines
  • Import Cover searches for correct data to import solving a problem where the covering member of staff may not have been imported


  • Amended Import Cover to not import Changed Room
  • Minor code fixes in Imports
  • New Set Working Days option


  • No Cover is now set correctly when running Generate Data
  • Removed the 32768 record limit on Cover Data
  • Formats Year and Class names properly when using two digit year groups (e.g Year 07)


  • Importing Cover now allows HTML formats as well as MHT and HTM
  • Set Dates allows dates to be set up to 3 years into the future (rather than the 2014 hard limit)


  • Absences by Date with Trend Line now shows data
  • Print Current Worksheet does not error when print is cancelled
  • Print All Absences and Print All Cover now include all of the reports
  • Internal Staff Cover Lessons no longer shows external supply staff
  • Generate data checks the formatting of every sheet and corrects if necessary
  • A variety of other formatting fixes and tidying up


  • New table to show number of periods of absence over the last 12 months


  • Fixed bug when setting pivot table filters
  • New report to show a rolling 12 month absence summary
  • Updated import of Previous Versions to correctly calculate absence information
  • Tidied up formatting of some reports


  • Fixed bug when sorting periods on Generate Data would fail due to workbook protection.
  • Cover By Subjects and Years now shows all data labels
  • Fixed broken link in the Cover Analysis Reports page
  • Fixed issues with importing previous version of workbook where cover data would not be copied
  • Updated SIMS Reports to request for Academic Year when exporting classes


  • Fixed issue where Generate Data would tell you that no data was available
  • Fixed issue with importing cover sheets that have room changes listed
  • Added ability to export to PDF straight from the ribbon

1.71 (9th March 2017)

  • Corrected the Absences in Last 12 Months to show Sum of Days and Count of Periods

Upgrading to a New Version

Since 1.20 this is now much easier. To upgrade to a new version, you do not need to import all the data from scratch. You can import the previous saved version of the workbook into the new version of the workbook.

Click the Import Previous Version button in the Manage section of the ribbon, and locate the older version of the workbook. Click OK and you can take advantage of the new features.

If you upgrading to 1.33, then you may need to import your Cover data again.

If you are upgrading to version 1.66 from any previous version, then you will need to update your reports in SIMS. Please delete the previous versions of the reports and re-import the reports.

The Download

Here it is:

Download “Absence & Cover Analysis” – Downloaded 3066 times – 424 KB


This workbook is provided as is. The data produced by the charts and tables is believed to be correct, but no liability will be taken for incorrect data produced by the workbook.

33 people found this post useful.

23 thoughts on “Absence & Cover Analysis

  1. when I am trying to import the cover it comes up with run time error 5, invalid procedure call or argument – can you help?

    I have saved the noticeboard as a html file from explorer

    1. Hi,

      I’m not sure. I would need a copy of the cover sheet that you are trying to import to see what is happening and why the import is failing.


  2. Hi Craig

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for this

    I found the whole process simple and really clear.
    I have shown two months’ worth of data to our HR department and the Headteacher who have found the output to be really interesting. These will inform various reports which will be discussed and actioned on.
    I am now in the process of saving each days cover for this academic year to then pass over to HR who will use it moving forward.

    One question though- my headteacher would like to see the stats excluding registrations (which we have as timetabled periods) can I just exclude them when setting up the periods of the day?

    Thank you Craig- you solved something for us that was becoming a problem as, as you know the reports from SIMS are not ideal

    1. Hi, great to know that it is still useful! Yes, simply omitting the registration periods from the table should mean that they are not matched and not included in the statistics. If it doesn’t work as you expect then let me know and I can check it out.

  3. Am I doing something wrong? Everything loads fine, and I can import all the data, but when I click on the Generate Data button I get a message saying Run-time error ‘1004’:
    The cell or chart you are trying to change is protected and therefore read only.

    It then tells me how to unprotect things, but I don’t have the password.

    I’m using Excel 2010

    1. It doesn’t sound like you are doing anything wrong. I have just downloaded a copy myself and tested it, all data generated successfully. Can you please download a fresh copy and try again? Let me know if you continue to get the error and I will dig a bit further into what is happening.

  4. Thanks for sharing this info. It help us tremendously with the analysis of staff attendance + cover

    If I may be allowed to ask, we currently use a biometric attendance…do u think there is a way to pull the staff attendance from biometric and put onto sims? like tardiness and all… im looking at the route of biometric to excel to sims…

    1. I’m glad it has helped.

      With regards to the biometrics – I have no way of writing any information back to SIMS. That would require being a SIMS Partner (which I cannot afford!). Not sure how that would work either (we don’t use biometric registration here). I would have thought the biometric software provider would have provided all the interfaces for writing information back to SIMS.

    1. Glad you got it working and thanks for the feedback.

      If you don’t mind, could you tell me what the problem was and how you fixed it?


  5. Hi Craig,

    This looks very usefull, I have followed the import steps and imports ok however when i am running the report i seem to get “Error: The system cannot find the file specified”

    Hoping you can help! Thanks very much!


  6. You need to be a member of Personnel Officer, Senior Management Team, Personnel Assistant or Personnel Events Officer to view the staff absences.

    1. It appears to be related to SIMS Permissions. If you have not got permissions to read Personnel data in SIMS then the report fails to extract all the necessary data about the role of the member of staff.

      You can either rename the Count field in the exported Absences spreadsheet, or get someone with permissions to the Contracts data to export the sheet for you.

      I will change the sheet so that it will accept the spreadsheet with or without the Role information, and put in a warning.

  7. Cover and classes imported into excel spreadsheet no problems but I am getting “invalid data absences file” when endeavouring to import absences. What am I doing wrong?

  8. Pingback: Absence Analysis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.