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School Census Bulletin 2 – Spring 2021
School Census Date: Thurs 21st January 2021 Return Date: Tues 26th January 2021
The DfE has confirmed that the school census will go ahead on Thu 21st January but they understand that there may be individual circumstances that make this difficult to comply with. If this is the case please let us and the DfE know as soon as possible, so that support can be provided.
1. Clarification on data items collected
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.
However some items in the census depend on whether a pupil attends school on census day or during census week and the DfE have issued the following guidance.
1.1 Free School Meals taken and school lunches (UIFSM) taken
As schools are only open for vulnerable children and children of critical workers most pupils will not be in attendance in school on census day. Therefore, schools should record free school meals taken and school lunches taken as the normal situation, for example, if a pupil would normally have a school meal on a Thursday they should be recorded as such on the census.
Please note however, any vulnerable pupils or children of critical workers who are absent for reasons other than COVID related or who have chosen to have a packed lunch on census day should not be recorded as having taken a school lunch and any of this cohort of pupils who are FSM eligible should not be counted in the free school meals taken figure.
The Department realises that school opening restrictions could affect census returns for UIFSM and will confirm future funding arrangements for UIFSM separately.
1.2. Early Years – funded hours, extended funded hours and hours at setting
Early years provision should remain open and continue to allow all children to attend full time or their usual timetable hours irrespective of the national lockdown restrictions.
Funded hours, extended hours and hours at setting should be recorded as follows;
- pupils who are in attendance during census week – hours should be recorded as normal
- pupils are absent because they are self isolating – hours should be recorded as the number of hours the pupil would normally be expected to attend during census week
- parents have chosen not to send their child to nursery – hours should be recorded as the number of hours the pupil would normally be expected to attend during census week
- parent has requested a change to the funded hours entitlement taken – schools must record the revised funded hours
- the nursery provision has chosen to close – hours should be recorded as zero
- the child is not attending because the school has chosen to restrict nursery provision to certain groups of children (e.g. vulnerable children and children of key workers) – hours should be recorded as zero
Schools should record classes as they would normally have been timetabled at the selected time on census day. Please see table below for your school’s selected time, based on the last digit of the DfE establishment number;
Last digit of DfE establishment number
Details of selected time for Classes
|0, 1 or 5||The selected time is one hour before the end of morning school|
|2, 3 or 6||The selected time is one hour after the start of afternoon school|
|4, 7, 8 or 9||The selected time is one hour after the start of morning school|
1.4. School Childcare
Schools who provide childcare facilities and due to COVID related reasons have had to temporarily close either some or all of these facilities should record what the school would normally offer.
2. Pupil Premium
The DfE announced in December 2020 that pupil premium allocations for most schools will now be based on data collected as part of the autumn school census (and not the spring school census). Details can be found at the DfE’s pupil premium webpage.
3. SIMS users
Schools must have upgraded to version 7.196 or above and must have imported the most up to date fileset – 1704 at the time of publication. 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 will need to download the filesets from the Scomis website and apply themselves.
For the latest SIMS census information please view the Scomis site.
4. Further Guidance
Our School Census Quick Guide and Supporting Guide (indicating where census data items are held in sims) is available via our webpage.
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 school census, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the Education Information Team will contact you to provide support and guidance.
Education Information Team (EdIT)