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School Census bulletin – Autumn 2020
DfE School Census Date: Thurs 1 October 2020
Return Date: Tues 6 October 2020
As you may be aware, the statutory School Census for the Autumn Term takes place on Thursday 1 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.
1. Changes for autumn 2020 census only
Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the absence of the summer school census the DfE have made the following changes for this autumn 2020 census only:
Termly attendance – the DfE have decided not to collect summer term attendance data in the autumn census. If any attendance data is included in your return the DfE have advised that it will be stripped out when uploading the file onto collect.
Leavers: the DfE require ‘pupil no longer on roll’ records for all non-boarder pupils aged between 4 and 15 as at 31/08/19 with a leaving date between 01/01/20 and 31/07/20. Leavers information would normally only be collected for one term in arrears.
Exclusion collection period – whilst exclusions are normally collected for the previous two terms, the autumn 2020 census will collect any exclusion with a start date in the 2019/20 academic year (not just the previous two terms).
FSM eligibility period – the FSM ‘end date’ range will be amended to collect an FSM eligibility end date that is on or after 17/01/20 up to and including 01/10/20 (normally the end date range is from the previous census return to the current return).
2. New data items – post 16 only
The following items will be collected for the first time in this autumn census;
- programme aim – all on roll pupils undertaking 16-19 programmes must have a programme aim recorded alongside the component learning aims
- programme type – for each learning aim, the type of programme it belongs to must be recorded, options are: T level transition programme, T level, or another 16 to 19 study programme
- work placements – for those undertaking work experience and industry placements the start date, end date, hours, mode (internal or external) and employer ID must be collected
- T level planned learning hours and planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours – for those undertaking a T level the planned hours covering the whole programme must be returned (this differs from planned hours for study programmes which are recorded annually for each student)
3. Changes to existing data items
The following changes for the 2020/21 academic year will apply from the spring 2021 census onwards. Some changes have been introduced as a result of COVID-19; the collection of COVID-19 related absences and introduction of an exclusion reason linked to breaching of COVID-19 protective measures.
3.1 Termly attendance
From autumn 2020, data will be recorded and returned on all categories of school attendance, rather than just absence. The first collection of this data will occur in the spring 2021 census (relating to attendance for the previous autumn term) and will include the following new items:
- Total number of sessions attending approved educational activity
- Total number of sessions unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances
- Total number of sessions not attending in circumstances relating to coronavirus (COVID-19)
A full list of attendance codes available for use from autumn 2020 is available in Appendix A.
For schools who do not use electronic attendance registers, the spring 2021 census will collect the total number of sessions attending approved educational activity and the total number of sessions unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances. Schools with electronic attendance registers – this will automatically be generated within your MI system.
3.2 Sessions not attending due to coronavirus (COVID-19) – code X
The DfE have advised that code X should be used to record sessions in 2020/21 where a pupil does not attend because their travel to, or attendance at, school would be:
- contrary to guidance relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) from Public Health England and/or the Department of Health and Social Care, or
- prohibited by any legislation (or instruments such as statutory directions) relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)
These sessions are not counted as an absence in the school census.
For further information, please refer to: school attendance guidance for schools and addendum: recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) during the 2020 to 2021 academic year.
Note: The temporary attendance codes introduced in sims to help identify absence reasons for COVID-19 attendance reporting are no longer available for 2020/21. Sims users: CAPITA have produced a patch (25918) which removes these temporary codes and maps absences to permanent codes. Further details are available in Appendix B.
3.3 Exclusion reasons
Five new exclusion reasons will be available to use for exclusions in the autumn term 2020 with the first collection of these additional reasons being made in the spring census 2021. Please see Appendix C for a list of all exclusion reasons and when they are available in the census.
To support the government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), an additional reason of ‘Wilful and repeated transgression of protective measures in place to protect public health’ has been added for exclusions starting on or after 01/08/2020. As this was a late addition by the DfE, if the option isn’t available in your MI systems, schools are asked to re-visit and update these exclusions in time for the spring census 2021.
Sims users: CAPITA have released patch 26010 to add this reason to the exclusions reason lookup table. Hosted schools need to request this patch from Scomis on an individual basis and Scomis will then apply the patch. Non hosted schools who are supported by Scomis will also need to contact Scomis who will release the patch for the school’s use via Solus. Once the patch has been applied schools should immediately use this new code to replace any alternative code they originally used. This will reduce the chances of forgetting to correct the code later.
Schools will be able to record up to three reasons per exclusion (but schools should only record more than one reason where it is appropriate). For exclusions in the previous academic year (2019/20) being collected in the autumn census, only one reason will be permitted.
As a result of these changes, the category/reason of ‘Other’ will no longer be available for exclusions with a start date on or after 01/08/20.
Sims users: to cater for this, the existing ‘Exclusion Reason’ has been renamed Exclusion Reason 1 and additional drop-down fields have been provided for Exclusion Reason 2 and Exclusion Reason 3.
4. Further Guidance
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.
Education Information Team (EdIT)
- Appendix A- Attendance codes updates for 2020/21 census returns
Code description school census status / present (am) collected from 2020/21 \ present (pm) collectyed from 2020/21 L Late (before registers closed) marked as present collected from 2020/21 I Authorised absence due to Illness (NOT medical or dental etc. appointments) already collected M Authorised absence due to medical/ dental appointments already collected R Authorised absence due to religious observance already collected S Authorised absence due to study leave already collected T Authorised absence due to traveller absence already collected H Authorised absence due to agreed family holiday already collected E Authorised absence as pupil is excluded, with no alternative provision made already collected C Authorised absence as pupil is absent due to other authorised circumstances already collected B Approved education activity as pupil being educated off site (not dual registration) collected from 2020/21 D Dual registered (at another establishment) – not counted in possible attendances collected from 2020/21 J Approved education activity as pupil is attending interview collected from 2020/21 P Approved education activity as pupil is attending an approved sporting activity collected from 2020/21 V Approved education activity as pupil is away on an educational visit or trip collected from 2020/21 W Approved education activity as pupil is attending work experience collected from 2020/21 G Unauthorised absence as pupil is on a family holiday, not agreed, or is taking days in excess of an agreed family holiday already collected U Unauthorised absence as pupil arrived after registers closed already collected O Unauthorised absence as pupil missed sessions for an unauthorised absence not covered by any other code/description already collected N Unauthorised absence as pupil missed sessions for a reason that has not yet been provided already collected X Non-compulsory school age absence or not attending in circumstances relating to coronavirus (1) – not counted in possible attendances collected from 2020/21 Y Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances (not related to coronavirus1) – not counted in possible attendances already collected Z Pupil not yet on roll – not counted in possible attendances not included in census # Planned whole or partial school closure – not counted in possible attendances not included in census
- Appendix B – removal of temporary attendance codes and mapping to permanent codes
CAPITA have produced a patch (25918) which removes the temporary attendance codes used for coronavirus attendance reporting and maps these absences to permanent codes as indicated below:
Temporary code Permanent code 7 illness due to COVID-19 I – illness 8 self isolating due to COVID-19 Y – unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances 9 shielding due to COVID-19 Y – unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances = illness due to COVID-19 I – illness [ self isolating due to COVID-19 Y – unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances ] illness due to COVID-19 Y – unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances
Schools may want to run any reports they have on the impact of coronavirus in the summer term 2020 before this patch is applied, as the main source of this information will be removed by the patch. CAPITA advise that they are not aware of any statutory reasons for such reports, but schools may still find such reports useful when looking back at pupils’ progress and the like.
The patch (25918) is available via SOLUS3 and will achieve the following:
- It will ensure that the temporary codes are no longer available for selection in the SIMS 7 attendance and lesson monitor applications. However, where any of these codes have been set as permanent codes for lesson monitor the patch will leave them in place for selection
- Where any of these temporary codes have been added to pupils’ attendance and lesson monitor registers for academic year 2019/20 ending on 31/07/2020, it will replace them with their permanent counterpart. Again, where any of these codes have been set as a permanent code for lesson monitor, the patch will leave them in place
Schools need to be aware of the following:
- The patch will only replace temporary codes with their permanent counterparts up to and including the 31/07/2020, so in the unlikely situation where school have already entered any temporary codes for academic year 2020/21 they should use standard attendance and lesson monitor functionality for replacing them with the appropriate permanent codes. If they fail to do this the inappropriate attendance marks will fail School Census Spring 2020 validation.
- The patch may not prevent third parties from adding the temporary codes to registers for academic year 2020/21. Again, the school should use standard attendance and lesson monitor functionality to replace them with the appropriate permanent codes. And again, if they fail to do this the inappropriate attendance marks will fail School Census Spring 2020 validation.
Although this patch can be run multiple times by a school the replacement of temporary codes will always be restricted to dates up to and including 31/07/2020. Any replacement of temporary codes for academic year 2020/21 will need to be carried out by the schools itself, using standard functionality.
Schools will need to contact Scomis direct regarding this patch.
- Appendix C - Exclusions reasons for 2020/21 academic year
Pupil exclusion reason Possible examples Census status Abuse against sexual orientation and gender identity (for example, LGBT+) derogatory statements about sexual orientation (e.g. heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual) and gender identity (e.g. transgender), homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, LGBT+ graffiti, LGBT+ taunting and harassment, swearing that can be attributed to LGBT+ characteristics New from 2020/21 Abuse relating to disability derogatory statements or swearing about a disability, bullying related to disability, disability related graffiti, disability related taunting and harassment New from 2020/21 Bullying verbal, physical, cyber bullying or threatening behaviour online, racist bullying, sexual bullying, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, bullying related to disability already available Damage damage includes damage to school or personal property belonging to any member of the school community, arson, graffiti, vandalism already available Drug and alcohol related alcohol abuse, drug dealing, inappropriate use of prescribed drugs, possession of illegal drugs, smoking, substance abuse already available Inappropriate use of social media or online technology sharing of inappropriate images (of adult or pupil), cyber bullying or threatening behaviour online, organising or facilitating criminal behaviour using social media New from 2020/21 Persistent or general disruptive behaviour challenging behaviour, disobedience, persistent violation of school rules, raising of fire alarms falsely already available Physical assault against a pupil fighting, obstruction and jostling, violent behaviour, wounding already available Physical assault against an adult obstruction and jostling, violent behaviour, wounding already available Racist abuse derogatory racist statements, racist bullying, racist graffiti, racist taunting and harassment, swearing that can be attributed to racist characteristics already available Sexual misconduct lewd behaviour, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual bullying, sexual graffiti, sexual harassment already available Theft selling and dealing in stolen property, stealing from local shops on a school outing, stealing personal property (from an adult or pupil), stealing school property already available Use or threat of use of an offensive weapon or prohibited item carrying or bringing onto the school site an offensive weapon / prohibited item such as knives, sharp instruments and BB guns, carrying any article that has been or is likely to be used to commit an offence, cause personal injury or damage to property, use of an offensive weapon New for census from 2020/21 Verbal abuse / threatening behaviour against a pupil aggressive behaviour, swearing, threatened violence, verbal intimidation already available Verbal abuse / threatening behaviour against an adult aggressive behaviour, swearing, threatened violence, verbal intimidation already available Wilful and repeated transgression of protective measures in place to protect public health Deliberate breaching of protective measures such as (but not limited to): non-compliance with social distancing, causing distress such as through purposefully coughing very near to other pupils or adults, or any other deliberate breach of public health protective measures which the school has adopted. New from 2020/21 Other until end of 19/20 acad. year