Importing a timetable from TimeTabler

This article covers importing a timetable from TimeTabler if:

  • You've recently moved to Arbor and need to set up your classes
  • You need to replace an incorrect timetable that has already been imported for next year
  • You need to completely change your timetable part-way through the year if you do not want to do this in Arbor

To see how to import your timetable for next year (once you've promoted your students into their year groups and registration forms), please see our New School Year Setup guidance

Important

It is not currently possible to import non-teaching activities through TimeTabler. To see how to schedule non-teaching activities in Arbor, click here for PPA and here for events.

How does the import work?

When you import a TimeTabler file, Arbor will look to see which timetable slots have changed and for which effective dates. New timetable slots will be created for new courses/classes within the TimeTabler file, and existing courses/classes will have their effective dates extended if all that has changed is the time period.

Effective dates are the dates within an academic year that a timetable slot is active for. For example, you may decide that you'll be having a different timetable in Spring term than in Autumn term. You will set the effective date of the timetable in TimeTabler, and the slots created when you import the file will end on this date. You would then need to import a new TimeTabler file for spring term, or extend your timetable slots in Arbor if you decide not to change your timetable. 

Can I import a TimeTabler file early?

You can't import a TimeTabler file that covers dates in two academic years. If you would like to create a timetable that becomes effective towards the end of the summer term, and which remains effective at the start of the next academic year, you must import two TimeTabler files, one with effective dates for summer, and one for the next academic year.

How does it map the academic year information?

Arbor will recognise the academic year stated within your timetable file and look to see if there is a corresponding academic year that already exists on Arbor. If there isn’t, the import process will ask you to select a date range for the new academic year you want to set up. This would occur when you are importing a timetable for a new upcoming academic year. Otherwise, if you are importing a new timetable for the current academic year, the academic year will remain the same and not be editable.

Tips to ensure your timetable imports correctly

To prevent duplicate courses from being set up when reimporting, make sure you don't change the subject short name in TimeTabler. The short name is used to help Arbor reference the course to remember what was mapped previously.

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Actions to complete before importing

Mid-year import

Make the changes you want in TimeTabler, making sure that the first day of your timetable file is the day after the last date the slots will run to in Arbor. First, check all start and end dates are correct in the TimeTabler export - there can be no overlap of dates. Make sure the days of the week are defined in the TimeTabler files.

Because you shouldn't edit the times of your timetable slots as this can impact your school’s statutory attendance, and you can't delete slots if you’ve begun to take attendance, you’ll need to end your current timetable slots.

  1. Go to Timetable > Timetable Administration > Timetable Slots. Click the boxes next to the slots you want to end or click the box next to the blue pencil icon to select all the slots. 
  2. Click the blue pencil icon to select Bulk End Timetable Slots
  3. In the slide over, set the End Date to the last day the lessons should run at that time, then scroll down to the bottom of the slide over to confirm the changes and save them.

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Once the timetable slots have been ended, wait at least 20mins before importing the new timetable. This is so all future lessons in the background will have been deleted. Check there are no lessons scheduled after the end date for a few example courses from School > Programmes > Courses.

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Replacing next year's import

Make the changes you want in TimeTabler, making sure that the first day of your timetable file is the first day of the academic year. First, check all start and end dates are correct in the TimeTabler export - there can be no overlap of dates. Make sure the days of the week are defined in the TimeTabler files.

As long as you have not yet begun to take attendance, you will need to delete the existing incorrect timetable slots in Arbor. 

  1. Go to Timetable > Timetable Administration > Timetable Slots. Make sure you have selected the year you will be importing for in the filter. Click the box next to the blue pencil icon to select all the slots. 
  2. Click the blue pencil icon to select Delete Timetable Slots
  3. In the slide over, click Delete and confirm the deletion. 

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Once the timetable slots have been deleted, wait at least 20mins before importing the new timetable. This is so all lessons in the background will have been deleted. Check there are no lessons scheduled for a few example courses from School > Programmes > Courses.

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Importing your TimeTabler file

Once you have generated your TimeTabler file, go to School > Timetable > Timetable Administration > Import Timetable to upload it to Arbor by working through the TimeTabler File Import Wizard.

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Click +Add to import a new TimeTabler file.

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After you have uploaded your TimeTabler file, you will enter the TimeTabler File Import Wizard. Once each stage has been completed and saved, it will show as complete at the top of the screen with a green tick icon.

Check the start and end dates correspond to the right dates and won't overlap with any timetable slots in Arbor, and ensure the Days per cycle field displays the number of days after which the timetable is repeated (excluding weekends). For example, if your timetable repeated every two weeks, this field would instead display '10'.

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Import Academic Year, Year Groups and Registration Forms

Step One is to import the academic year and map the year groups and registration forms to your existing ones. The names on the left-hand side refer to the groups set up in TimeTabler. The groups that appear in the drop-down menus refer to the groups you have already set up in Arbor.

For each drop-down list select one of the potential options. For example:

  • Map to - The sessions in TimeTabler for the 7A Registration form will be scheduled for the 7FH form in Arbor. We recommend using this option wherever possible. You can map multiple TimeTabler groups to the same group in Arbor.
  • Skip - You will have to create your own group on Arbor and link the courses & classes manually to the correct group.
  • Import - Creates a new group in Arbor. For registration forms, this also schedules timetable slots for this group based on the timetable in TimeTabler. For registration forms, you have the option to import this student group as a registration form or teaching group.

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Import sites and rooms

Step 2 imports sites and rooms from the TimeTabler file. Where rooms/sites already exist, you can map them. Where the site/room does not currently exist, you can create a new one. If any site/room is skipped in this process then they will need to be Setup manually in Arbor.

Skipping any rooms means that lessons on your timetable will not have those rooms assigned, and you will need to assign rooms manually after the import process is complete.

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Import Teachers, Courses and Classes

If teachers already exist on Arbor then you have the option of mapping these. Where they do not currently exist then the option to create a new one can be selected.

  • If you select Skip, their lessons on your timetable will not have those teachers assigned, and you will need to assign teachers manually after the import process is complete.
  • We recommend adding new staff members through the usual route of School > All Staff > Add new staff member rather than selecting Import (creates new record) if you have new staff members in TimeTabler file that have not yet been added onto Arbor.

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For each subject, you can map against a subject from a default list of subjects that Arbor generates for all schools in the UK. If you ‘Skip’ any subject, courses and classes will still appear on your timetable, but you will not be able to filter school or staff timetable outputs by the skipped subject.

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Where new records have been created you will be taken to an additional screen upon clicking the Next button. In order for new records to be created, Staff titles, names, email addresses and business roles are required as a minimum. 

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Map the days of the week

Step 4 imports timetable slots from the TimeTabler file on Arbor. Match the days in your TimeTabler file to the days of the week that exist within Arbor. Then click Finish.

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Import Timetable slots 

You will be taken to the Import Timetable Overview.

From here you can check that you have correctly mapped all of your courses, rooms, staff etc. Click on the ‘Updates’ column of the table to view all the actions that have been taken so far. Information that needs reviewing is marked in red. You can then click it to resolve the issue.

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If there is no missing data from TimeTabler and you're still getting these errors, please get in touch with us. Error types include:

  • Academic year is missing from TimeTabler XML file.
  • Missing site name in TimeTabler XML file
  • Missing room code in TimeTabler XML file.
  • Missing room name in TimeTabler XML file
  • Teacher name is in invalid format in TimeTabler XML file
  • Missing subject name in TimeTabler XML file
  • Missing subject code in TimeTabler XML file
  • Missing year group name from TimeTabler XML file
  • Missing registration form short name from TimeTabler XML file
  • Room cannot be found for lesson
  • Subject cannot be found for lesson
  • Day cannot be found for lesson
  • Period cannot be found for lesson
  • Lesson end time cannot be determined

 

Schedule the timetable slots

Returning to the Import Timetable Overview, the final step is to schedule the timetable slots from within your TimeTabler file. Click anywhere in the table to do this.

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Your timetable slots from the TimeTabler file you have imported will be flagged as Provisional and will not appear on any timetable outputs such as the school timetable until they are scheduled. Click the provisional tab, then tick the boxes next to the sessions you wish to schedule. Then click on the pencil to Schedule provisional timetable slots

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Review each timetable slot one-by-one and make sure that everything is correct then select the timetable slot(s) you are happy with using the checkbox and click Schedule.  These timetable slots will be moved to the Scheduled tab.

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