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School census bulletin 1 – Spring 2020
DfE School Census Date: Thurs 16 January 2020 Return Date: Tues 21 January 2020
As you may be aware, the statutory School Census for the Spring Term will take place on Thursday 16
January 2020. 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.
Changes to data items – exclusions
Exclusions period collected
The DfE have now advised that exclusions data in each census will be collected for the previous two
terms (the DfE’s initial change was to collect exclusions data for the previous one term). This is to
ensure that any exclusions still going through the review process at the time of the census are not
missed as they will be picked up in the following term. This means that some exclusions may be
returned on two consecutive censuses. The DfE have advised that this will not result in double
counting of exclusions in national statistics as only the latest information returned for each term will
The Spring Census will therefore collect all exclusions starting between 22/04/19 and 31/12/19.
Permanent exclusions reviews
The DfE have now advised that they will not be collecting exclusions review data from Spring 2020
but will be reviewing it for possible collection in the 2020/21 census returns.
New data items – Infant class size exceptions/PPA time
Where a key stage 1 and / or a reception class reports 31 or more pupils per teacher 1, schools must
record where this is due to:
- any pupils within the class being admitted with one of the permitted exceptions
- a teacher being on planning and preparation time or learning manager time and the class is
being supervised by a teaching assistant
1 The calculation is based on the pupil:teacher ratio not pupil:adult ratio therefore, regardless of the
number of teaching assistants, if there are no exceptions or teachers on PPA reported, the class will be
treated as unlawful in DfE publications if there are over 30 pupils to 1 teacher.
sims users: the Classes panel now allows you to record both of the above scenarios. The number of
classes with unexplained excess is displayed at the top of the classes panel. If this is due to a teacher
being on PPA time simply record the number of teachers in the new ‘PPA Teachers’ column. If its due to
a pupil being admitted with an exception, a new ‘class size exception’ button allows you to record the
number of pupils against the relevant exception reason.
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. If you are having problems with the DfE Sign-in service, click on the ‘Having problems’ link on
the Sign in webpage.
Schools must have upgraded to version 7.190 or above and must have imported the most up to date
fileset – 1400 at the time of publication. Please note: CAPITA are due to release fileset 1403 and a
database patch early in the new year to accommodate the late changes to the collection periods for
exclusions data*. If you are a hosted school, Scomis will apply this automatically for you. If you
encounter difficulties upgrading please contact Scomis on 01392 385300. For schools not hosted by
Scomis, the upgrade will be available via the Scomis website.
* Please note: Fileset 1403 will be released to resolve issues raised by the DfE’s changes to the range of
exclusions collected in the census. It is therefore vital that all schools import this fileset as soon as it
becomes available. Further information on filesets are posted on the Scomis website.
For the latest SIMS census information please view the Scomis site: https://faq.scomis.org/
If you have any queries, or if this is your first school census, please email email@example.com and someone from the Education Information Team will contact you to provide support and guidance.