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School Census Bulletin 3 – Spring 2021
DfE known issues
The following queries may be triggering incorrectly in schools MI systems;
- Error 2265 Exclusion reason is invalid – not being triggered
For exclusions with a start date on or before 31/07/2020, this query is not being generated when it should be in sims. Exclusions with a start date on or before 31/07/20 should not be recorded with one of the five new exclusion reasons (codes OW, LG, DS, MT or PH), as these codes are only valid from 01/08/20 onwards. If you have used one of these codes your census will generate this query when its uploaded to COLLECT.
- Error 2280 Where exclusion category is present, valid exclusion reason/s must also be provided – being triggered incorrectly
For exclusions with a start date on or after 01/08/2020 this query is being generated incorrectly if an exclusion reason has been recorded with any of the five new exclusion codes which are available from 01/08/20 onwards (codes OW, LG, DS, MT or PH). This error will disappear once it’s been loaded into COLLECT.
However, if an exclusion reason of ‘other’ has been used this query is not being generated when it should be (this reason is not valid from 01/08/2020 onwards). If you have used this reason then your census will generate this query when its uploaded to COLLECT.
Please note: any school which generates these queries in COLLECT will need to resolve them by amending the exclusion reason to one of the codes available for the relevant period.
- School summary report tables 8 and 9
The school summary report is using the wrong age reference and therefore tables 8 and 9 of the summary will not count all pupils in receipt of the early years’ pupil premium. Please note, there is an early year’s pupil premium report available to all schools via the reports section of COLLECT. There is a similar report at both LA and school level available to local authorities.
Query 2502Q Zero attendance sessions possible recorded for pupil on roll.
This error might appear where pupils have been self isolating or shielding for all of the autumn term and code X has been used to record their absence (this is the correct code). As code X does not count towards possible sessions, the possible sessions in this scenario would be zero sessions and schools will simply need to add an explanatory note in COLLECT, e.g. pupil has been self isolating for the whole of the autumn term and code X has been used to record their absence.
The DfE will accept the following note for this query if it is true: Pupil was self isolating for the whole period they were on roll during the autumn term.
Query 1495Q Please check: No pupils no longer on roll have been recorded
This appears to be a common query. It will be generated if no pupils left your school during the autumn term and there were no exclusions in the summer term for pupils who have since left (not many schools had exclusions in the summer term due to COVID-19). If this is correct you simply need to add an explanatory note in COLLECT.
School lunches – ‘school dinner taken’ panel for UIFSM and ‘general free school meals taken’ panel for FSM – DfE advice
Q. If schools have issued vouchers, can all the students in receipt of a voucher be included as lunch taken on census day?
A. No, schools should record whether the pupil normally has a free school meal i.e. would the pupil normally have a free school meal prior to the national lockdown? the issue with counting pupils in receipt of vouchers etc. is that it is not always the case that they would choose to have a free school meal when in school.
Q. Should those children in attendance at school be marked as taking a lunch if they have been issued with a voucher, grab bag, or Food parcel for the week?
A. Schools can decide on the best approach for providing meals to this cohort of pupils including using lunch parcels/ vouchers etc. Therefore the pupil can be recorded as FSM taken, if this is the support that the school has chosen to provide and it isn’t parental choice to provide a packed lunch.
Schools with nurseries – DfE advice on some common COVID-19 scenarios
Q. School has kept their nursery open as normal but many parents are keeping their children at home. How should they be recorded?
A. As it is the parents’ choice to keep their children off school the school can record their normal funded hours that they would have been expected to attend in the census week. If schools are also recording attendance then as the parent(s) are keeping their children off the school should record them as absent.
Q. A school currently has only their vulnerable and key worker nursery children on site, however, for their other nursery children, they are providing remote learning. How should these be recorded?
A. If the nursery have chosen to close or restricted the attendance to only vulnerable children and children of key workers then the school would record zero hours regardless of whether they are offering online provision (remote learning). The government does not consider remote learning to be an effective way of delivering high quality early education for very young children, and nor can young children be cared for online. However, if the parents have chosen not to send their children to school then the school can record the hours the pupils were expected to attend during the census week.
DfE advice on vulnerable children refusing to attend – what attendance code should be used?
As vulnerable children are still strongly encouraged to attend school full time, they should not be marked as Code X if they are not in school (except if they are shielding, self-isolating or quarantining).
If the parent of a vulnerable child wishes their child to be absent, the parent should let the school know. The Department expects schools to grant applications for leave of absence given the exceptional circumstances. This should be recorded as code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) unless another authorised absence code is more applicable.
Where schools grant a leave of absence to vulnerable children they should still speak to parents and social workers (where applicable) to explore the reasons for this and any concerns raised. The discussions should focus on the welfare of the child and ensuring the child is able to access appropriate education and support while they are at home.
Children of critical workers: While parents and carers who are critical workers should keep children at home if they can, children with at least one parent or carer who is a critical worker can go to school if required. Schools should speak to parents to identify children of critical workers who need to go to school; those that do not should be recorded as Code X.
Where critical worker parents only need their child to attend school part-time, schools should use Code X to record the sessions that the child is not expected to attend.
Where the child of a critical worker is expected to attend a session and does not do so, the school should record the absence as Code C (leave of absence authorised by the school) unless another authorised absence code is more applicable. As usual, Code X should be used if the child is self-isolating or quarantining because of coronavirus.
If you have any queries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the Education Information Team will contact you to provide support and guidance.