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School Census Bulletin 1
Education Information Team
Date: 21st September 2021
School Census Bulletin 1 – Autumn 2021
DfE School Census Date: Thurs 7th Oct 2021 Return Date: Tues 12th Oct 2021
As you may be aware, the statutory School Census for the Autumn Term takes place on Thu 7th October. We strongly recommend that schools begin to prepare for the School Census by ensuring that, so far as possible, pupil databases are up-to-date and the relevant systems / accesses are in place.
- DfE School Funding and Pupil Premium
The autumn school census will be used to fund the schools block of the dedicated schools grant and the pupil premium. It is therefore important to make sure your census information is accurately submitted.
Further information on pupil premium, including the DfE’s temporary extension of FSM eligibility to pupils with no recourse to public funds is available via the following links;
- DfE update on Early Years Funding
The DfE have advised that they will use termly data from the 2021 summer term school census and 2021 autumn term school census to determine the early years block funding allocation for three and four year olds 1. It is therefore important to make sure your census information is accurately submitted.
1 as the autumn and summer census returns do not collect reason for two year old funding and EY pupil premium, the LA will submit a termly data count in order to provide this information.
- COVID 19 and pupil absence
Schools must provide pupil level data for pupils who are recorded on the school admission register as at census day, irrespective of whether they attend school on that day. Pupils who are absent from school on census day, whether the absence is COVID-19 related or for other reasons, should be counted in schools’ census returns in the usual way.
- COVID 19 and Universal Infant Free School Meals (school lunches taken)
The DfE advise that where COVID-19 related absences occur and ‘school lunches taken’ are affected, a day and time when the situation is regarded as normal should be used instead. Schools can use the next normal day, an earlier day in census week or another day that reflects the normal situation. Where other days or times are used, schools must record these for audit purposes. Sims users: the school dinner taken panel in the census routine enables you change the reference date if required.
Some scenarios do not qualify as an unusual circumstance and therefore pupils must be recorded as NOT having taken a school lunch:
▪ If the school kitchen is closed and the school have not offered any alternative provision
▪ Pupils who have changed their preference to bring a packed lunch
▪ Pupils are absent for other reasons not connected to COVID-19.
- Changes to existing data items
- Exclusions – in line with government advice fixed term exclusions will be referred to as suspensions, whilst permanent exclusions remain unchanged. Sims users: a new code has been introduced for suspensions in the exclusions lookup table. Schools should record suspensions from September 2021 in preparation for the forthcoming returns which will collect autumn term exclusions (Spring and Summer 2022 census returns).
- Programme aims (post 16 only) – to be collected for both on and off roll pupils. Sims users: CAPITA have also made some adjustments to how information is presented in the Learning Aims Panel (relating to Programme learning aims).
- Maths and English prior attainment (post 16) – data relating to prior attainment at the end of year 11 to be renamed ‘Maths GCSE prior attainment Yr11’ and ‘English GCSE prior attainment Yr11’ to improve clarity.
- New Data Items
- Learner funding and monitoring – education recovery package – the DfE have introduced two new fields to identify pupils in receipt of elements of the education recovery package. The data item is to be returned for any pupils who are either on roll on census day or became off roll since the start of the academic year. See the School Census Advance Notice and Scomis webpages for further information.
- SIMS users – latest fileset to resolve errors
Schools must have upgraded to version 7.200 or above and must have imported the most up to date fileset (1902 at the time of publication, except for schools with pupils taught in year 12 or above who will need fileset 1903). If you are a hosted school, Scomis will apply filesets automatically for you. If you encounter any difficulties, please contact Scomis on 01392 385300. Non hosted schools need to download the filesets from the Scomis website and apply themselves, see the Scomis webpages for further information. For the latest SIMS census information go to: Autumn 2021 Census Bulletin – SCOMIS
- Department for Education (DfE) Sign-in Portal – COLLECT
We are aware, that some schools, have in the past encountered difficulties with their COLLECT access. We therefore ask that you check your COLLECT access by logging in to the DfE Sign in Portal as soon as possible https://services.signin.education.gov.uk/.
- Further Guidance
Our School Census Quick Guide, Supporting Guide (indicating census data items in sims) and checklist are available at School census – Support for schools (devon.gov.uk). CAPITA sims school census handbooks are available at the bottom of the Scomis school census webpage.
If you have any queries, or if this is your first census, please email email@example.com and someone from the Education Information Team will contact you to provide support and guidance.
Education Information Team (EdIT)