Skip to content

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

We would like to reassure you that we are closely monitoring the situation and working with the government and NHS.

For guidance on coronavirus and the latest information for Devon, visit Devon County Council’s coronavirus (COVID-19) advice pages.

Latest Update: Colleges, schools and childcare settings during the national lockdown

School Census Quick Guide – Spring 2021

Last Updated 16/01/2021 11:35am


Introduction

How to search the page

iOS Safari – tap the action icon (square with arrow at bottom of screen) and select ‘find on page’ from the list of options.
Other mobile browsers – tap the browser’s options menu (usually 3 dots or lines) and select ‘find on page’ from the options.
CTRL + F on your keyboard (Command + F on a Mac)
This will open a search box on the page. Type the word you are looking for in the search box and press enter. The word will then be highlighted wherever it appears in the guidance. Use the navigation in the search box to move to the next word found.

How to print a copy of the page

iOS Safari – tap the action icon (square with arrow at bottom of screen) and select ‘print’ from the list of options.
Other mobile browsers – tap the browser’s options menu (usually 3 dots or lines) and select ‘print’ or select ‘share’ from the list of options, then ‘print’ in the popup.
CTRL + P on your keyboard (Command + P on a Mac)
You have an option to print the entire page, or select a page range.

Overview

PLEASE NOTE:

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.

 

This is a brief guide to running the Spring Term DfE School Census. Additional information can be found in our School Census Supporting Guide and other documents available via school census website.

These notes have been produced for Devon LA Maintained Schools using sims.net only.

Key dates:

Census date: Thursday 21 January 2021

Census deadline: Tuesday 26 January 2021

Please note:

  • The DfE advise that Pupil Premium funding for the 2021/22 financial year will be based on the number of pupils recorded in the autumn census (Oct 2020). This differs from previous years when pupil premium was based on pupils in the spring census.  Please see the updated information on the government website.
  • The Early Years Block of the school funding allocation to the Local Authority for the 2021/22 financial year is based on this census. It is therefore vital that your Early Years pupils and hours is complete and accurate.
  • The take up of the Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM) is essential for the purposes of the Universal Infant Free School Meals Grant so please ensure that you complete the School Dinner Taken section (schools with infant pupils only).
  • The Department for Education is using the top-up funding indicator in the new high needs national funding allocation. As such, it is very important that all schools complete census returns correctly and follow the guidance provided.

Introduction from the Department for Education (DfE) - (All)

The school census is a statutory return that takes place during the autumn, spring, and summer terms. The census collects information about individual pupils and about the schools themselves.

Census data forms a significant part of the DfE’s evidence base and is used;

The DfE also holds pupil-level data in the national pupil database (NPD). Find out more about data protection and how the DfE shares pupil data.

As such data accuracy is highly important.

The submission of the school census returns, including a set of named pupil records, is a statutory requirement on schools under section 537A of the Education Act 1996. Putting the school census on a statutory basis:

  • Means that schools do not need to obtain parental or pupil consent to the provision of information
  • Ensures schools are protected from any legal challenge that they are breaching a duty of confidence to pupils
  • Helps to ensure that returns are completed by schools
  • Means that all census elements are mandatory unless specifically stated to be voluntary.

Subject to Parliament, the Department for Education intend new Regulations to allow the collection of termly attendance, total number of sessions attending approved educational activity and total number of sessions unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances.

The use of the census for funding

The census is a key source of data used to calculate schools’ funding. It is essential that all schools complete the census accurately and in a timely manner to ensure they are funded correctly. Failure to do so could result in a school missing out on funding to which it is entitled or receiving more funding than it is due and having to repay any overpayment. A range of reports are available in COLLECT to support schools, please see section Appendix C – COLLECT Reports.

Accuracy of census data – using summary report

Every school in England has a statutory duty to complete the census each term. The census return in SIMS produces a summary report of the data in the school census file. The summary report will;

  • allow all staff preparing the return to check that the data is accurate and complete before passing it to the Headteacher.
  • allow the head teacher authorising the return to check it’s accurate and complete before submitting it to the local authority or DfE
  • give schools your only opportunity to check information about persistent absenteeism before it’s used for funding purposes and published in performance tables

It is strongly recommended that the summary report is inspected carefully, paying particular attention to;

  • sections that might show that some individual pupil data was not entered on to the system prior to generating the return, e.g. free school meal eligibility, number of pupils with SEN.
  • absence data – this should be thoroughly checked.

Schools should compare the summary reports to the previous term or year as this will show any anomalies between the different census collections. It is vital for a school to check the accuracy of data in this summary report as it is this data that is submitted to the DfE as an accurate record of the situation in your school on census day.

Changes to data items (All except nursery schools)

The changes listed below will apply from the spring 2021 census. Some have been introduced as a result of COVID-19; the collection of COVID-19 related absences and the introduction of an exclusion reason linked to breaching of COVID-19 protective measures.

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 occurs in the spring 2021 census (relating to the autumn term’s attendance) and includes 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 B.

Sessions not attending in circumstances in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) – code X

The DfE advise that these sessions will not be counted as an absence in the census. Attendance code X should be used to record sessions where a pupil does not attend because their travel to, or attendance at, school would conflict with:

  • guidance relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) from Public Health England or the Department of Health and Social Care, or
  • any legislation (or instruments such as statutory directions) relating to the incidence or transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)

For further information, please refer to the school attendance guidance for schools and addendum: recording attendance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19) during the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

Exclusion reasons

From autumn 2020 exclusion reasons will be extended with five additional reasons (see Appendix A for a list of all exclusion reasons). This includes a reason of ‘Wilful and repeated transgression of protective measures in place to protect public health’, introduced to support the government’s response to coronavirus,

In addition to this, up to 3 reasons can be recorded against an exclusion, with the first collection of three reasons taking place in the spring 2021 census. Schools should only select more than one reason where it is appropriate.

As a result of these changes, the exclusion reason of ‘other’ is no longer a valid category.

Sims users: to cater for this, additional drop-down fields have been provided for Exclusion Reason 2 and Exclusion Reason 3.

List of data collected

School details – basic details, such as name and telephone number

Pupil details

  • UPN, name, address, date of birth, gender
  • enrolment status, national curriculum year group, part time indicator
  • service child indicator
  • first language, ethnicity
  • free school meal eligibility start and end dates, including pupils in NCY R – 2 for whom a claim has been made and confirmed as eligible
  • funded hours, extended childcare hours, hours at setting, 30-hour code, disability access fund indicator (schools with nursery pupils)
  • 2 year old basis of funding (schools with nursery pupils)
  • Early Years Pupil Premium receipt & basis for funding (nursery, primary & special schools)
  • ULN, youth support services agreement indicator (secondary schools, special schools)
  • learner support code (secondary schools with 6th form)
  • class type (primary schools only, where class type is nursery or other)
  • school dinner taken (for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils)
  • SEN status (i.e. education, health and care plans (E), or SEN support (K)), plus SEN primary need, e.g. Autistic Spectrum Disorder
  • member of SEN unit or resource provision
  • top-up funding indicator (pupils with special educational needs)
  • post looked after arrangements

Other information

  • Classes – class name, number of teachers, number of teachers on PPA, number of non-teachers, class year group, key stage, class type, class activity and class size exceptions (primary and secondary schools)
  • Pupil Reconciliation – part-time pupils not in school, private study pupils, at another school, on work experience, at FE Colleges (all schools except special schools)
  • Free School Meals Taken on Census Day – pupils entitled to FSM (not UIFSM)
  • Primary, Secondary & Infant Admission Appeals – number lodged, withdrawn, heard & outcome
  • Childcare provision – type of childcare, on site/off site, no of places and times (all schools)

Attendance (2020/21 autumn term): 01/08/2020 to 31/12/2020
Exclusions (summer 19/20 & autumn 20/21): 13/04/2020 to 31/12/2020
Free School Meal (FSM): 02/10/2020 to 21/01/2021

Data checks not undertaken by Devon County Council (All)

Due to changing service priorities and reduced resources the school census checking service has been streamlined. The census checks undertaken by the Education Information Team now focus upon the data that can impact School Performance and Dedicated Schools Grant.

The following checks are no longer undertaken, and it is the school’s responsibility to ensure the accuracy of data;

  • Free school meals (informs pupil premium funding)
  • Post looked after arrangements (informs pupil premium funding)
  • Universal infant free school meals (informs UIFSM Grant)
  • Post 16 learning aims (informs schools funding)

For full details of the above please see our School Census Supporting Guide on our webpage (guidance notes).

Free school meal legislation changes

To minimise the impact of the rollout of universal credit and the introduction of an income threshold for eligibility purposes, transitional arrangements are in place to ensure that no pupil loses a meal as a result of these changes.

The transitional protections ensure that any pupil in receipt of free school meals on 31 March 2018 or after, should continue to receive free school meals until the end of the universal credit roll out period, and then until their phase of education ends. This covers until at least Summer 2023 and applies even if their circumstances change and they would no longer meet the eligibility criteria.

Consequently, schools should not enter FSM end dates in the school census unless;

  • a parent has said that they do not wish the child to be recorded as eligible for free school meals and receive a free school meal
  • a pupil transfers from another UK country – their non-English free school meals must have an end date
  • a parent notifies the school that their support under the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999 or the pension credit has ended

Note:

  • If an end date is required against a pupil’s free school meal record, then a suitable note will need to be added to your census in COLLECT. For example, parent has been informed that the FSM is protected but they wish to cancel their claim.
  • The DfE transitional status only applies at a child claim level and not at family level. This means that a claim must be made for each child as there is no longer an automatic entitlement resulting from siblings already being eligible.

Further information is available from:

School communications
FSM website

Which census should early years children be reported in?

Schools with early years provision need to determine which census should record their provision by applying the DfE’s guidance as indicated below;

Schools with funded onsite early years provision make their return via either the school census or the early years census, but not both. The following points confirm which census is to be used to return data on children receiving funded early education:

▪ registered pupils of the school (2, 3 and 4 year olds depending on the statutory age range of the school) are recorded via the school census (and not the early years census).
▪ children (aged 2, 3 and 4) attending a separate Ofsted registered PVI (private voluntary independent) provider on a school site, are recorded via the early years census (and not the school census).
▪ children attending provision provided by a school governing body under Section 27 of the Education Act 2002 – s27 (governor run) provision should either be: 

  • recorded via the school census if they are registered pupils of the school (can include 2-year olds if the school’s statutory age range covers 2-year olds); or
  • recorded via the early years census if they are not registered pupils of the school.

Where a child’s free entitlement is split between more than one setting, such children may appear on the two different censuses. In such a case, the number of funded hours for each child across all provision is limited to 15 hours (free entitlement) and 15 additional hours (extended entitlement).

Early Years Pupils in NCY E2 and E1

Children turning 2 years old fall into the ‘E2’ year group and, if on the schools’ admission register and in receipt of education, they must be included in your census return.

The Department for Education do not expect any younger children who fall into the ‘E1’ year group to be in receipt of education and should not be on the school’s admissions register. If schools need to record children in ‘E1’ within their MIS, these should be recorded with an enrolment status of ‘Guest’ and not brought through into the census.

School census preparation

Make sure, so far as possible, that your pupil database is current and all new pupils have been added and all leavers have been recorded. Some pupil level information is subject to change:

  • Free School Meal eligibility, please see legislation changes on previous section.
  • Special Education Needs pupils are properly recorded, pupils on SEN Support or who have an EHCP also require a SEN Need Type, e.g. SLD, ASD and may also need a Resourced Provision or Special Unit indicator.
  • Service children are recorded in sims.
  • Attendance for all schools (except Nursery) – please ensure that attendance data for the previous term is free of missing marks and N codes. N codes (No reason given) should only be used temporarily and as it counts as an unauthorised absence it impacts on your performance data.
  • Ensure exclusions data is accurate, exclusions are collected for the last two terms (the Spring Term Census will collect exclusions data from 13/04/20 to 31/12/20).
  • Schools with pupils in Year 8 and above should check the Youth Services Support Agreement information is up to date.
  • Governor run pre-schools – please ensure that pupils in Governor run pre-schools are not included in the census. Funding for these pupils is via Early Years Funding and not School Census. For further clarification please see section ’Which census should early years children be reported in’. If you have entered these children on SIMS please ensure their enrolment status is Guest so they are excluded from the census (via Tools | Pupils | Change Enrolment Status).
  • Schools with Part-Time pupils in Reception or Nursery must be recorded as such. Statutory age pupils on part-time timetables or flexi-schooling arrangements must be recorded as full-time and the school is deemed to be ‘authorising’ the agreed times when a pupil is absent.

Please make sure that this data is checked and updated as soon as possible and any members of staff involved in this process (including those dealing with attendance and exclusions) are given enough notice. We advise you to complete a dry run as soon as possible to check your data.

SIMS upgrade version

Schools must have upgraded to version 7.196 or above and must have imported the latest fileset which includes the official DfE validation and summary report files (fileset 1704 at the time of publication). If you are a hosted school, Scomis will have applied this automatically for you. Non-hosted schools need to upgrade themselves and import the fileset, further details can be found on the scomis website.

As you are aware it is not unusual to have School Census filesets containing fixes issued close to the census date. It is therefore important that schools check the Scomis webpage for the latest information on any further filesets.

If you have not yet upgraded to version 7.196 please do so as a matter of urgency. If you are encountering difficulties in upgrading please contact Scomis on 01392 385300 and send an email notification to census@devon.gov.uk.

If this is the first time you are running a school census please email census@devon.gov.uk so someone from the Education Information Team can contact you to provide guidance and support.

Running the census

In sims.net select Routines | Statutory Returns | School Census

Please ensure that the Term is set to Spring 2021 and select an appropriate file path for the Census Folder. Please remember that the census holds sensitive data so care must be taken when selecting the relevant folder and schools must be mindful of their responsibilities with respect to information security.

Sims screenshot of Census Return page

When running the census for the first time select the New button to create a census file (in future instances you can then Search and Open the existing file being working on it).

Select Calculate All Details to collect the data from SIMS into a census file;

Sims screenshot of calculating all details

Note: You should only Calculate All Details the first time you are preparing the file. After this, each time you update your census you should select Create & Validate.

Once you have clicked on Calculate All Details a screen appears which says the following;

This will calculate the details below.  You need to do this at least once for each return.  Data previously collected or edited will be overwritten.  Proceed with calculating details?

Click Yes if this is a new return that you are creating.

Click No if its an existing return that you are working on, you should click on Create and Validate to update your census with any amendments that you have made.

You can navigate through the census either by using the scroll bar to the right of the screen or by selecting the relevant section from the Quick Links as indicated below;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for navigating through the census

School information (all schools)

If you need to make any amendments please select the School Detail button, as illustrated overleaf;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending school details

School Childcare (all schools)

COVID-19 update from DfE 14/01/21

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.

Schools must indicate whether they provide childcare on site, signpost people to other childcare or do both of these for the following four types of childcare;

  • Before School
  • After School
  • Under 5
  • Holiday
Please note:
  • Schools may offer both on-site provision and signpost to off-site childcare
  • Schools who do not provide on-site childcare and do not signpost off-site provision must enter a No for onsite and No for signposting against each type of childcare

Detailed definitions of childcare provision and further clarification from the DfE can be found on the DfE website – guidance for the school census.

The following information is collected for each of the four childcare options;

Childcare type – indicates if childcare is before school, after school, holiday or for under fives

On Site – “yes” if childcare is provided on the school premises, “no” if childcare is not being provided on the school premises, e.g. your school points parents to off-site childcare such as a private or voluntary organisation.

Signposted – one of the following must be selected;

  • yes, formal arrangements including transport – use if your school has formal arrangements with another provider to provide childcare for your pupils, including transport from their site to your school,
  • yes, list of providers that pick up from school – use if your school has a list of local providers that will pick up pupils from the school to help parents
  • no – school has no arrangements for off-site provision
  • not known – school does not know of any off-site provision.

Opening times – the time that the service becomes available (not applicable to after school care), please note that the time must be in 24 hour format and entered as hh:mm, e.g. 07:00

Closing times – the time that the service closes (not applicable to before school care), please note that the time must be in 24 hour format and entered as hh:mm, e.g. 17:30

Number of Childcare Places – maximum number of childcare places that the service can provide

Provider – indicates who provides the childcare: school, school in partnership (with another provider) or other (non-school) provider

Other Schools – indicates whether the service is available to children from other schools

Weeks Open – the number of weeks for which childcare is provided (applicable to holiday and under-fives childcare only).

To enter or amend the information click on section 3 Childcare in the quick links options (or go to Focus | School | School Details) and then click on Edit;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for childcare

The School Details Panel then appears where you click on section 6 Childcare to open the Childcare Panel. Any current childcare details will then appear in the panel;

Sims screenshot of childcare panel;

If you need to change any existing details highlight the relevant entry and click Open;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending childcare details

Once you have entered the information click on Ok.

Please note:

• If Before School Childcare is selected the closing time and weeks open is not required
• If After School Childcare is selected the opening time and weeks open is not required
• If Holiday Childcare or Under Fives Childcare is selected the opening and closing times and weeks open are required
• Under Fives Childcare should only be recorded if the childcare offer is for more than 9 hours a day, do not include provision that is only available during school hours
• Under Fives Childcare is only for pre-school children, children in Reception Class would not be included in this section as they would be in one of the other categories as they will be attending school, e.g. Before or After School Childcare
• times need to be in the 24hr format of hh:mm, e.g. 08:00 for 8.00am opening time.

Once you have finished editing your childcare records click Save in the School Details window and then click OK to return to the School Census window.

The Childcare Panel in the School Census will then be populated with the childcare provision.

Early Years hours (schools with nursery pupils)

COVID-19 update from DfE 14/01/21

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.

Funded hours, hours at setting and the extended childcare hours are all collected within this section of the census. The hours collected are based on the week of the census;

  • all three and four-year-old pupils and a specific subset of disadvantaged two-year olds are eligible for the free entitlement to early education for a maximum of 15 funded hours a week.
  • three-year olds and four-year olds (in year groups E1, E2, N1 and N2), where working parents have a valid 30-hour code, are also eligible for the extended childcare hours for an additional 15 funded hours a week.

Note: Four-year olds in reception are not eligible for the free entitlement nor the extended childcare hours as they are in full time education.

The table below shows the dates of birth and year groups of children for whom hours are required and should help you when working through this section.

Date of Birth Ranges
Year Group
Funded Hours (free entitlement)
Extended Funded Hours (extended entitlement)
01/09/15 – 31/08/16
(4yr olds)
E1, E2, N1, N2 actual hours to
a max of 15
actual hours to
a max of 15
01/09/16 – 31/12/17
(3yr olds)
E1, E2, N1, N2, Reception actual hours to
a max of 15
actual hours to
a max of 15
01/01/18 – 31/12/18
(2yr olds or younger)
E1, E2, N1, N2, Reception Pupils from specific disadvantaged groups actual funded hours to a maximum of 15 hrs.
Other pupils must be paid for by parents.
not available

Note: Children who have deferred entry to next year must not be included on your census.

Funded hours are the hours fundable under the free entitlement to early education. Funded hours exclude any hours funded by other means, e.g. paid for by parents and extended funded hours (extended childcare hours). Funded hours are the hours the pupil is in education provision and following the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage.

Note: for additional guidance regarding the use of funded hours please contact Fran Butler, Devon County Council Early Years – 01392 383000.

Extended funded hours – these are the hours fundable under ‘extended childcare’ and are only available to eligible 3 & 4-year olds whose parents are entitled to the extended childcare hours and hold a valid 30-hour code. This code needs to be captured for the school census. Extended funded hours must not include hours paid for by parents and any funded hours under the free entitlement (recorded in the funded hours field).

Hours at setting – this is the total hours a pupil is expected to attend during the week.  It records the total number of hours they spend in education provision at the school (that is, following the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage). It includes the funded hours (free entitlement) extended funded hours (extended entitlement) and any other hours funded/paid from other sources e.g. parents.

Entering hours for early years

The Early Years panel should bring through the appropriate pupils however please check to ensure all relevant children are included.  To enter data, click on the Edit button and then save your changes. Alternatively, you can amend the data via Tools | Statutory Return Tools | Update Early Years (if you use this method you will need to Recalculate this section of the census to refresh the data).

Sims screenshot of Census Return for early years

Please Note:

  • 30 Hour Code indicator – captures the code that confirms the eligibility of working parents to access the additional 15 hours of extended childcare. Eligible parents will receive an 11-digit code which they need to pass to schools to validate accordingly.
  • Disability Access Fund should be flagged for 3 and 4-year-old pupils in receipt of this funding, for further information please see later section.
  • If you have nursery pupils attending more than 30 hours you can record the actual number of hours attended in the Hours at Setting but the maximum Funded Hours and Extended Funded Hours are 15 and 15.
  • Values for Funded Hours, Hours at Setting and Extended Funded Hours should be entered using two decimal places. For example, 1 hour 15 minutes must be entered as 1.25.
  • If, while completing the return, a new pupil is added, or a date of birth is amended, click on the Recalculate button in the Early Years panel to ensure that up to date data is displayed.
  • for dual registered pupils under 5, only include the funded hours spent with you. Please remember, dual registration is not applicable if the other provider is a pre-school.

Children attending more than one setting

Where parents split their child’s free entitlement between providers, the 15 hours free entitlement and the additional 15 hours extended entitlement need to be recorded accurately against each school. Providers will need to ask parents which setting the free entitlement / extended hours are taken. Parents choose where they wish to take the free entitlement and the extended entitlement.

The Early Years detail report provides information on hours at setting, funded hours, 30-hour code, extended funded hours and disability access fund to enable you to check the data in the census.

Further information regarding early years entitlement can be found on this webpage.

Early years Disability Access Fund (schools with nursery pupils)

 

This is collected in the early years panel and records the receipt of disability access funding for eligible 3 & 4-year olds. To be eligible, the child must be:

  • in receipt of disability living allowance (DLA) and;
  • receiving free early education via the universal 15 hours entitlement

NOTE: Pupils aged 4 as at 31 August 2020 in reception and above, who are funded via the schools funded block of the dedicated schools grant are not eligible for DAF funding.

To enter data, click on the Edit button and then save your changes. Alternatively, you can amend the data via Tools | Statutory Return Tools | Update Early Years (if you use this method you will need to Recalculate this section of the census).

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending early years panel

If schools are unsure as to whether a pupil is in receipt of Disability Access Funding they can email the Early Years Entitlement Funding Helpdesk: eyef@devon.gov.uk

Early years hours and the part-time indicator (schools with nursery pupils)

 

The part-time indicator is based upon whether the pupil is attending education provision for 10 sessions a week, i.e. morning and afternoon sessions 5 days a week. A pupil attending 9 (or fewer) sessions is part-time. A pupil attending education for 10 sessions a week will be full time.

Note: The part time indicator is specific to the pupil, not the school. If a pupil is receiving ‘education provision’ for 10 sessions a week at more than one provider then both establishments will record the pupil as full time.

A child should only be recorded as full-time where they attend education for 10 sessions per week irrespective of the number of funded and / or extended childcare hours.

To amend a pupil’s part-time status, open the pupils record in SIMS and go to the part-time details panel in Section 2. Registration;

  • Part-time pupils – should have an entry in the part-time details panel with no end date
  • Full-time pupils – will either have an entry in the part-time details panel with an end date before census or will not have an entry in the panel (blank).

Note: The Attendance mode field is not used in the census to inform a pupil’s part-time status.

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending part time status

The on-roll basic details report provides information on part-time status to enable you to check your census data.

Early years provider portal (schools with nursery pupils)

Early years hours for your nursery pupils are entered in the early years provider portal and the school census. During the spring term these two collections are both based upon census week: Monday 18th January to Friday 22nd January.

When completing the census return, schools may find it beneficial to refer to their portal return as a starting point. The portal provides a ‘Headcount’ report which can be used as a guide when completing the hours section of the census. This can be accessed via the Provider Portal > Headcount>Provider Home>View All Tasks>Change status to Historical>Select Task > Download. Please remember if any children’s hours have changed since entry into the portal, these need to be amended in the census. You also need to ensure that any children who started after you completed the early years portal have the appropriate hours recorded in the census.

It is essential that the early years hours recorded within the census are accurate, complete and based upon the school census week. The Early Years detailed report provides information on hours at setting, funded hours, 30-hour code, extended funded hours and disability access fund to enable you to check.

Guidance notes on the provider portal can be found on the Early Years webpages.

NOTE: The Early Years Provider Portal will capture funded hours and extended funded hours as one figure. The School Census captures funded hours and extended funded hours as two separate figures. The DfE guidance for the School Census states that these items need to be recorded accurately against each provider. Please ensure you follow this guidance when completing your census.

Early years 2 Year Old Basis for Funding (schools with nursery pupils)

This item records the basis under which a two-year-old has been funded; i.e. Economic Criteria, High Level SEN or Disability, or Looked After or Adopted from Care. Schools will receive a report via the Early Years Provider Portal week commencing 18th January called ‘School Census 2 year old funding” which will indicate the ‘basis for funding’ criteria for eligible pupils.

All pupils born between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018 (inclusive) regardless of year taught in, will appear in the 2 year old basis for funding panel. The basis for funding will need to be entered manually for each category;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending early years 2yr old basis for funding

The ‘2 Year old Basis for Funding’ detailed report provides information on the eligibility categories applied to pupils to enable you to check the data in the census.

Early years Pupil Premium (schools with nursery pupils)

Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) is available for disadvantaged three and four year olds and eligibility is collected in the Spring Census. Children will be eligible for EYPP if;

  • they receive the universal 15 hours entitlement (funded hours) and either
    • meet the “benefits related criteria” equivalent to those for Free School Meals (please note: meals delivered as part of the universal entitlement are not FSM: receipt of FSM does not automatically qualify a child for EYPP¹), or
    • they have left care (in England and Wales) through adoption, special guardianship or a child arrangement order (formally known as residence order), or
    • are in the care of the local authority (England and Wales)

Children become eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium from the term following a child’s third birthday. They will retain this entitlement (subject to eligibility) until they move into Reception, when they become eligible for the ‘mainstream’ pupil premium.

 

The table below shows the cohorts of children for whom early years pupil premium data is required;

Age
Date of birth ranges
ALL 3 year olds 01/09/2016 and 31/12/2017 inclusive
4 year olds in nursery schools (all year groups)
4 year olds in other schools (E1, E2, N1 & N2 only)
01/09/2015 and 31/08/2016 inclusive

¹ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-national-funding-formula-allocations-and-guidance

How to claim the Early Years Pupil Premium:

Early Years providers are responsible for identifying eligible children and will need to encourage parents to complete a Declaration Form so eligibility can be checked for the Early Years Pupil Premium. Further details and registration forms can be found on the Early Years Pupil Premium webpages.

Children that are currently in the care of the local authority will be checked and funded.

How do I know which pupils are eligible for Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP)?

A report of pupils eligible for EYPP from the autumn term is available within the Early Years Provider Portal via Reports | Payment History and is called “EYPP – Autumn Term 2020/21 – Eligibility Children with Amounts”. You should use this initial pupil listing when preparing your census and carrying out a dry run. This panel can then be updated with any additional pupils as indicated below.

Schools need to submit new children and carers details via the Early Years Provider Portal prior to Wed 13th January. The information will be checked centrally and a report called ‘School Census EYPP’ will be available week commencing 18th January which will provide the information required for the census.

Further information is available from the Early Years Pupil Premium webpages.

Further guidance on EYPP from the DfE is available from the government webpages.

How do I enter this information for the School Census?

  • The pupil must be recorded as receiving funded hours of early education in the Early Years panel of the census.
  • Any pupils who have left care (in England and Wales) must also be recorded in the Post Looked After Arrangements panel of the census.
  • The appropriate EYPP reason needs to be completed within the EYPP panel of the census with the following available options;
    • eligible through economic reasons (eligible via the benefits related criteria for FSM).
    • eligible through other reasons (e.g. due to being in care or having left care through adoption, a special guardianship order or a child arrangement order).
    • eligible through both reasons (i.e. through both economic and other reasons).
    • eligible through unknown reason (school knows pupil is receiving EYPP as school is receiving funding from LA but does not know reason why eligible).

The ‘EYPP receipt’ reason is captured in the second part of the Early Years Panel of the School Census process. Navigate to the second section of the panel which deals with Early Years Pupil Premium Receipt. Each pupil is automatically set to ‘Not Eligible’ so schools need to amend this information manually;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending early years pupil premium reciept

Note: The detailed EYPP Receipt Report, available by clicking on the Detail Report button in the School Census window, lists all your pupils along with their Basis for EYPP Eligibility.

Class type (primary schools only)

This needs to be completed for all pupils in primary schools. Information may not have been brought forward from the last term. You will therefore need to check this panel and ensure that data is entered for all your pupils.

Pupils in a designated nursery class should be recorded with a class type of “Nursery” whilst all other pupils should be recorded as “Other” (even if it contains nursery age pupils).

To enter the data please click on the Edit button;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for class type

A full list of pupils appears, but this can be filtered by using the drop-down menus. For example, you can select your Nursery Year Group first, then right click on the heading of Nursery and select ‘check all’. Then select a status of ‘No Class Type’ to reduce the list to only those pupils missing this information, right click on the heading of Other and ‘check all’;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending class type

Once you have entered your ticks against all your pupils please remember to save your data.

Please note: If you have an LA designated nursery unit you may need to amend records for pupils who have transferred from nursery to reception, or who were previously part-time and are now full-time. Please remember to add an end date in their part-time details panel if they are now full-time.

Top Up Funding (all schools)

This needs to be completed for those pupils on roll who receive high needs top-up funding from the LA. The top up funding is paid outside a school’s budget share for a pupil requiring additional support which costs more than a specified threshold.

Please note: The Department for Education is using the top-up funding indicator to calculate high needs funding allocations. They also use this data for research purposes and to provide bench-marking information to local areas. As such, it is very important that all schools complete census returns correctly and follow the guidance provided.

The specified cost threshold for additional SEN support varies according to the type of school;

School Type
Top up Funding
primary and secondary mainstream schools Threshold is £6,000 per pupil per annum in all cases. Top-up funding is paid in respect of individual pupils whose additional support costs more than this and is for the excess costs over the threshold.
special schools The funding they receive is £10,000 per place and the top-up funding will be for costs incurred by the school in providing additional support in excess of this funding.

Pupils in receipt of top-up funding are listed in the monthly Individual Assigned Resources (IAR) sent via Anycomms Plus from Finance. The file name will be 878****_2020-21_Month_NN_IARs (where **** is your school number and NN is the month). A December listing will have been uploaded to schools before the Christmas break and a January listing is due to be uploaded week commencing 25th January. Any pupils allocated top up funding after the release of this listing should also be included in the census (you should have received emails from the DCC 0–25 SEN team).

If there are no pupils recorded as Top Up Funding a warning message will be displayed when you create and validate which says;

There is no top-up funding information.  Do you wish to continue to create the return?

You therefore need to check this panel to ensure that all pupils in receipt of top-up funding are recorded accordingly or click yes to continue.

If all relevant pupils are appearing in the top-up funding panel no further action is required.

If you need to add new pupils click the Edit button in the Top Up Funding panel. Alternatively go to Tools | Statutory Return Tools | Update Top-up Funding (but remember to Recalculate this panel in the census to refresh the data if you use this option).

The following Top-up Funding screen appears where you can search for pupils and add them to the Top-up Funding Panel. Once you have added your pupils click Update and OK.

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending top up funding information

When you run your census the number of pupils receiving top-up funding will appear in the summary report under Table 5. Specific Types of Pupils on Roll.  There is also a detail report showing this data at pupil level.

Post looked after arrangements (prev. adopted from care) (all schools)

This collects information regarding children, who – on census day – have left local authority care in England and Wales through adoption, a special guardianship order, residence order or child arrangement order. Children who have left care under one of the measures listed above will be eligible for the post looked after element of the pupil premium. (which is now based on pupils on roll in the Autumn Census).

Please note: it is up to those who have parental responsibility (adoptive parents, special guardians and carers of former looked after children on residence / child arrangements orders) to decide if they wish to self-declare their children’s status to schools. Schools should ensure parents and carers are aware of this and that this information is collected to help ensure that the designated teacher for previously looked after children can support those children and the school can attract pupil premium funding to support this cohort. Parents need to provide supporting evidence, for example, a photocopy of the adoption order, and confirm that their child was previously in care in England and Wales. Parents may conceal sensitive information, such as the name of the birth parents, if they wish.

Please remember that this is a particularly sensitive data item and schools must comply with their responsibilities with respect to the GDPR when processing this data.

If the adoptive parents, special guardians and carers are willing for the information to be recorded on the census you will also need to know which of the following applies:

  • Ceased to be looked after through adoption
  • Ceased to be looked after through a special guardianship order (SGO)
  • Ceased to be looked after through a residence order (RO),
  • Ceased to be looked after through a child arrangement order (CAO)

Please note: this data item does not transfer with the pupil if they change school. The new school can only record a pupil with this category if the parent/responsible person has self-declared this information.

If there are no pupils recorded as ‘post looked after arrangements’ a warning message is displayed when you create and validate which says;

There is no Post Looked After Arrangements information.  Do you wish to continue to create the return?

You therefore need to check this panel to ensure that all ‘Post Looked After Arrangements’ pupils have been recorded accordingly.

If all relevant pupils are appearing in the Post Looked After Arrangements panel no further action is required. If however, you need to add new pupils click the Edit button in the panel. Alternatively go to Tools | Statutory Return Tools | Update Post Looked After Arrangements (if you use this option remember to Recalculate this section of the census to refresh the data).

The following Post Looked After Arrangements screen appears where you can search for the pupil(s) and add them to the Post Looked After Arrangements Panel as indicated below;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending Post Looked After Arrangements information

Once you have added the selected pupil(s), select their status prior to adoption (as indicated below) and click Update.

Sims screenshot of Census Return for updating Post Looked After Arrangements information

Please note:

▪ Whilst SIMS has an ‘Evidence Obtained’ tick box, this is not collected for the school census, it is for schools’ internal use only to record proof of DfE compliance.

▪ When you run your census the number of pupils ‘Post Looked after Arrangements’ will appear in the summary report under Table 5. Specific Types of Pupils On Roll. There is also a detail report showing this data at pupil level.

School dinner taken (schools with reception, year 1 & year 2 pupils)

COVID-19 update from DfE 14/01/21

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 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.

The Department realises that school opening restrictions could affect census returns for UIFSM and will confirm future funding arrangements for UIFSM separately.

This needs to be completed for all pupils on roll on census day in reception, year 1 and year 2, plus pupils in special schools aged 4 to 6 who are not following the national curriculum (NCY group X). This data is used to allocate Universal Infant Free School Meal funding to schools.

The ‘School Dinner Taken’ needs to be flagged where a pupil has taken a ‘school lunch’ on census day. This may include packed lunches provided by the school to children on school trips.

Pupils should not be recorded as having a school dinner if;

  • they are on a school trip and bring a packed lunch from home
  • they are absent on census day

To enter this information manually against pupils you can either tick pupils on an individual basis, or you can ‘tick all’ pupils and then un-tick those who did not take a school lunch.

Sims screenshot of Census Return for school dinner taken

Please note:

Reference date – this is set to 21/01/21 (census day), but can be amended if, due to exceptional circumstances, e.g. a school closure, flooding, pupils were unable to take a school dinner on census day.

Calculate from Attendance and Calculate from Dinner Money – these appear if you use SIMS Attendance or SIMS Dinner Money (for further details please see below). If you do, it is recommended that you use the Calculate from Dinner Money routine as this populates the panel only with meals provided by the school. The Calculate from Attendance looks at pupils with an attendance mark but they could be going home for lunch or bringing their packed lunch from home. To use the Calculate from Dinner Money you must have initially set up the Dinner Money options to cater for the new school meal taken. Separate guidance is available from Capita entitled ‘Dinner Money Implementing Universal Free School Meals’ and can be downloaded from Scomis.

When you run your census the number of pupils who have taken a school meal will appear in the summary report under Table 22. Universal Infant School Meals. There is also a detail report called School Dinner Taken which shows this data at pupil level.

For SIMS Dinner Money, click on Calculate from Dinner Money. A message appears warning you that ‘existing data will be overwritten’, click OK. If the following message appears you need to check your Dinner Money and ensure that all meals have been recorded;

Dinner Money information is incomplete.  Please ensure that meals are recorded in Dinner Money.

Once you click OK, a tick is entered against each pupil receiving any type of meal provided by the school on census day (tagged as ‘School Provided’ in Dinner Money). You can then edit the information by clicking the pupil’s row to toggle between a tick and a blank (for no meal taken).

For SIMS Attendance, click on Calculate from Attendance. A message appears warning you that “existing data will be overwritten”, click OK. If the following message appears warning you that missing marks exist in attendance, you need to resolve these as missing marks are treated as absences with no dinner taken;

Missing marks exist.  Please ensure that registers have been taken.  Missing marks have been interpreted as absent and no dinner taken.  Do you want to continue?

Once you click OK, a tick is entered against each pupil who is marked as present on census day morning. As some pupils might not be taking school dinners (e.g. they bring a packed lunch from home) you then need to edit the information by clicking the pupil’s row to toggle between a tick and a blank (for no school dinner taken), as required.

Classes (all schools except special schools)

COVID-19 update from DfE 14/01/21

Schools should record classes as they would normally have been timetabled at the selected time on census day.

Details are required of all classes running at your selected time on census day (21 Jan 2021). Your selected time for classes (as taught at a particular time on the census date) is based on the last digit of the DfE establishment number as follows;

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

For example, if your DfE number is 3005 your selected period is one hour before the end of morning school.

Please note, if:

▪ you have an infants class timetabled for one of the restricted activities, i.e. non-academic activities (please see Infant Class Guidance below) then you should change the period to the next ordinary teaching session. This change of selected time must be applied to all classes in the school, not just the infant classes.
▪ the selected time is not appropriate to the school timetable, for example, if the selected time is when the whole school or a large proportion of the school is in an assembly with the head teacher then you should choose an hour/period that reflects a ‘normal’ class situation that applies at the selected time each Thursday of the term.

NOTE: Schools should not record unusual situations (such as class amalgamation or school closure) which may have occurred on census day due, for example, to staff training or absence, severe weather conditions or religious observances.

Any group of pupils receiving instruction outside the normal class framework at the selected time, including pupils in a SEN unit or special class, are treated as a separate ‘class as taught’ unless this is an atypical or temporary arrangement.

Infant Class Guidance

The School Admissions (Infant Class Sizes) Regulations 2012 limits the size of an infant class during an ordinary teaching session to 30 pupils per school teacher. Infant classes are those in which most children turn 5, 6 or 7 during the course of the school year, i.e. reception and key stage 1 classes.

Primary and all-through schools with infant classes are asked to ensure that the selected period is one in which their infant classes are engaged in an ordinary teaching session (academic activity). An ordinary teaching session does not include;

  • school assembly
  • other school activity usually conducted with large groups of children e.g.
     PE/games, music, singing, drama, watching television or listening to the radio

If, at the time of the count, infant class children are involved in such an activity, the count should be deferred to the next ordinary teaching session. This change of selected time must be applied to all classes in the school, not just the infant classes.

A list of your classes will have been called up automatically when you Calculated all Details however you will need to edit some details e.g. support staff, to reflect the situation at your selected time.

Sims screenshot of Census Return for classes

If a class has appeared that does not take place at the selected time e.g. an afternoon nursery class where the selected period is for the morning, you can delete it by highlighting it and clicking on the Delete button on the right. Remember that any pupils allocated to a deleted class need to be accounted for in the ‘Reconciliation’ section.

To add a class, click on New on the right of the screen and input the information manually – see table below for data requirements.

Sims screenshot of Census Return for amending classes

For each class as taught at the selected time the following information is required;

Class name Each class must have a name which can be up to 30 characters in length
Pupils (on Roll)   Number scheduled to be in the class at selected time This is the number of pupils from this school scheduled to be in the class at the selected time. Include any pupils from this school who are temporarily absent on census day.

Part-time pupils not scheduled to be in school at the selected time should be excluded here and counted in the pupil reconciliation panel instead.

Pupils (Guest)
Number from other schools
This is the number of pupils from other schools scheduled to be in the class at the selected time. Include pupils from other schools for whom attendance in this class at the selected time is the normal arrangement.
Teachers
Number of teachers in the class
This is the number of teaching staff taking the class;

  • include all qualified or unqualified teachers
  • exclude teachers wholly or mainly providing support to individual pupils
PPA Teachers
Number of teachers staff on PPA, LMT or NQT time
This is the number of teachers who are on planning and preparation time (PPA) or learning manager time (LMT) or newly qualified teacher time (NQT) at the selected time.

Only applies to primary and all-through schools with infant classes (NCY Reception and/or Key Stage 1).

Number of Adult non-teachers in the Class

This data must be entered manually.

This is the number of education support staff present in the class. Include teaching assistants, special needs support staff, minority ethnic pupils support staff and other education support staff.

Exclude support staff wholly or mainly providing support to individual pupils.

NB. You only need to account for support staff in classes at the selected time and not all your education support staff.

Year Taught In (class year group) This is the curriculum followed by the class and hence the national curriculum year groups for pupils in the class, rather than their dates of birth.

The presence of the odd pupil who has been held back or advanced a year, and so is a different chronological age to the rest of the class, does not make it a mixed year group class.

Click into the field for a drop-down box with the following options:
N1, N2nursery (only for schools with LA designated Nursery Units)
RReception
1-14Year Groups 1–14
MMixed Year Groups – pupils from more than one year group

Class Type (not secondary schools) This indicates whether a class is a designated ‘nursery class’. The default is Other which is correct for all classes (even those that may contain nursery age pupils) except nursery classes designated as such by the local authority. To amend this to record a class as a designated Nursery class, click into the field and select Nursery.

Note: Governor run pre-schools should not be included in the census either at class or pupil level.

Key Stage (not secondary schools) Enter the appropriate Key Stage that is being taught in the class at the selected time:

NCY
Key Stage
Nursery, Reception Foundation
Years 1 and 2 Key Stage 1
Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 Key Stage 2
Years 7,8 and 9 Key Stage 3
Years 10 and 11 Key Stage 4
Years 12, 13 and 14 Key Stage 5

Note: Mixed Key Stages should be used where there is a mix of NCY pupils taught in the class across different Key Stages, for example;

Reception and Year 1 Mixed Key Stage
Reception, Year 1 and 2 Mixed Key Stage
Years 2 and 3 Mixed Key Stage
Activity (not secondary schools) Choose the Activity of the class at the selected time:

Art, craft or design
English literacy or reading
Foreign Language
Group project work (incl. mixed activities in other categories & library work)
Humanities (incl. geography, history, economics or business studies)
Mathematics or numeracy
Music, singing or drama *
Other – should not be selected unless none of the other activities apply
PE or games *
Religious education
Science
Technology, IT or computing
Watching TV or listening to the radio* (where not linked to specific curriculum area)

* primary Schools with infant classes need to ensure that their selected period is engaged in academic activity. If at the selected time, infants are involved in one of above activities marked with * then another selected period needs to be chosen and applied to all the classes in the school.

 

Recording Infant Class Size Exceptions/PPA time (primary schools)

Where a key stage 1 and / or a reception class reports 31 or more pupils per teacher¹, schools must record where this is due to:

  • any pupils within the class recorded as excepted²
  • a teacher being on planning and preparation time or learning manager time and the class is being supervised by a teaching assistant

¹The 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. The school may be contacted by the LA and the DfE for further details. Where necessary, the Secretary of State has the power to direct schools to comply.

²The School Admissions (Infant Class Sizes) (England) Regulations 2012 prescribe certain limited circumstances in which pupils may be admitted as exceptions to the infant class size limit. The exceptions are listed below;

a. Children admitted outside the normal admissions round with an education, health and care plan specifying a school;

b. Looked after children and previously looked after children admitted outside the normal admissions round;

c. Children admitted after initial allocation of places because of a procedural error made by the admission authority or local authority in the original application process;

d. Children admitted after an independent appeal panel upholds an appeal;

e. Children who move into the area outside the normal admissions round for whom there is no other available school within a reasonable distance (the LA has to confirm that the child qualifies under this category);

f. Children of UK service personnel admitted outside the normal admissions round;

g. Children whose twin or sibling from a multiple birth is admitted otherwise than an excepted pupil;

h. Children with special educational needs who are normally taught in a special educational needs unit attached to the school, or registered at a special school, who attend some infant classes within the mainstream school.

These children will remain an ‘excepted pupil’ for the time they are in an infant class or until the class numbers fall back to the current infant class size limit.

Recording Class Size Admitted Exceptions in sims

In the Classes panel, the box at the top indicates if there are any classes with unexplained pupil numbers in excess of 30. Schools will need to add a reason for the exception and the number of pupils to which the exception reason applies. The name of all classes that require a reason to be added are displayed in bold text, with a yellow background.

Sims screenshot of Census Return for class size breach

To enter a permitted exception, highlight the class record for which an exception reason needs to be recorded;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for class size exception

The ‘Class Size Exceptions’ button is activated when a record that displays an exceptional number of pupils is highlighted. Click the button to display the following Class Size Exceptions screen;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for adding class size exception

The left hand side displays a read-only summary of the current information. In the right hand side;

  •  enter the number of pupils in the box next to the relevant reason code
  •  click in the white space below the ‘Reason Code’ table to automatically update the Total box and summary information on the left.

Click Save and return to the Classes panel.

Information regarding class size exception reasons is available in the detailed Class report.

Recording Classes with PPA

Where the excess class size is due to PPA simply enter the number of teachers in the PPA Teachers column in the Classes panel.

Schools with Part-Time Pupils in Reception

  • If you have Part-time pupils attending school at your selected time no further action is necessary as they will be included in their assigned class.
  • If you have Part-time pupils on roll who are not expected to be in class at the selected time, amend the number of pupils in your Reception class (Classes panel of the census) and include them instead in Pupil Reconciliation under Part-time pupils not at school (below).
  • Part-time pupils are only allowed in Reception. If you have pupils on a part-time timetable, for example, a flexi-school arrangement, you will effectively be authorising the sessions they are not expected to be with you.

Schools with Designated Nursery Units

  • If you have a Nursery class that is operating at the selected time amend the class Type from Other to Nursery by selecting the option from the list.
  • If you have a full-time Nursery Unit you will have a Nursery class that is not operating at the selected time. In the Classes panel, highlight the class and click on delete in the right-hand side of the panel. You may see the message: “If you delete a class which has pupils you will have to ‘Validate’ again for the pupil numbers. Do you want to continue?” Click on Yes and remember that you will need to include these pupils in Pupil Reconciliation under Part-time pupils not at school.

Pupil/Student Reconciliation (all schools except special schools)

This section checks that the number of registered pupils for whom the return contains individual pupil data (i.e. the On Roll Pupils/Students figure), is consistent with the number of pupils reported in classes as taught – after allowing for the fact that some registered pupils may not have been in class at the selected time.

Sims screenshot of Census Return for student reconciliation

Note: pupils who are temporarily absent, e.g. sickness, should be included in their usual class and counted in the number of on roll pupils for the class.

The reconciliation should be calculated as follows:

  • On roll pupils in classes – this is the number of pupils expected to be in class at the selected time and includes those pupils temporarily absent. (This figure can only be changed by amending the individual class data in the Classes section).
  • Plus Part-time pupils not at school – pupils not expected to be in attendance at the selected time on the census date, e.g. nursery pupils or part-time Reception pupils
  • Plus Private study pupils
  • Plus Pupils at another school
  • Plus, Students on work experience and/or Students at FE colleges (for Secondary and All-through schools),
  • Equals Total pupils which must agree with Pupils on Roll

Attendance (all schools except nursery schools)

For all schools, attendance will be collected for the autumn term (01/09/20 to 31/12/20) for all pupils aged 4 to 15 years as at 31/08/20. If you see screen saying the following your attendance data is compliant;

Your attendance codes are DfE compliant.  This will be rechecked at the Create & Validate stage.

If you receive the message advising that ‘some attendance marks are missing’ you will need to go to Focus | Attendance | Deal with Missing Marks to add attendance codes. Once you have done this you will need to click the Recalculate button in this section to update your attendance marks in the census file.

Free School Meal take-up (General) (all schools)

COVID-19 update from DfE 14/01/21

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 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 counted in the free school meals taken figure.

This section records the number of pupils who are eligible for Free School Meals (in respect of family income) who actually had a free school meal at lunchtime on census day. This is not the same as School Dinner Taken which records those infant pupils (Reception, Yr1 and Yr2) who took an Universal Infant Free School Meal.

Note:

  • the Free School Meal take up should include both day and boarding pupils to reflect what happened on census day.
  • If the lunchtime situation that day was in some way unsual then use the figures for the next normal day.
  • Meals provided at the beginning or end of the school day should not be counted for the purpose of this return.
  • Pupils should only be recorded as FSM eligible if they meet the FSM eligibility criteria (i.e. in respect to family income) and make a claim.
  • Pupils who are only in receipt of a free school lunch due to a universal entitlement (infant pupil universal free school meal entitlement) should not be recorded as FSM and not be included in this section.
  • So a pupil receiving UIFSM should only be included above if he/she took a school lunch on the day and is entitled to Free School Meals i.e. they meet the FSM eligibility criteria (family income) and a valid claim has been made.

Sims screenshot of General panel to collect Free School Meals;

Admission Appeals (primary & secondary voluntary aided & foundation)

This information is only collected in the Spring Term for voluntary aided and foundation primary and secondary schools responsible for their own appeals. It relates to appeals made by applicants who did not receive a requested place for the start of this current academic year. Information about appeals lodged on or after 1st September are not required.

Only appeals which are the responsibility of the school’s governing body should be included. If a school has contracted another agency, such as Devon County Council, to administer their admissions appeals process and the school’s governance is voluntary aided or foundation, then the school should complete this module. If your school operates arrangements jointly with other schools, your return should include appeals for your school only.

NOTE: Information is collected for Primary and Secondary school appeals, with a sub-set of infant appeals also collected for Primary Schools. (Infants are NCY R,1 & 2).

Information is collected on the number of appeals lodged, withdrawn, heard, rejected and decided in favour of the parents, as indicated below;

Sims screenshot of Census Return for primary admission appeals

1) Admission appeals lodged: total number of appeals lodged (including infant admission appeals) by parents between March 2020 and August 2020 inclusive against non-admission to the school for the start of the academic (admission) year beginning September 2020.

Appeals lodged as “refusal to admit for academic year 2020/21” should be included if the appeal was lodged before 1 September 2020. This will include:

  • Appeals lodged prior to 1 September, where the hearing and/or decision took place after that date
  • appeals not pursued to the hearing stage, and those not resolved
  • appeals that did not reach a hearing because a place became available (at your school or another) which was accepted by parents

2) Admission appeals withdrawn: total number of the above admission appeals withdrawn by parents before reaching an independent appeals panel (a panel set up by the governors in accordance with The School Admissions (Appeals Arrangements) (England) Regulations 2012. This includes appeals that did not reach a hearing because a place became available and was accepted by the parents.

3) Admission appeals heard by Independent Admission Appeals Panel: total number of the above lodged admission appeals heard by an independent appeals panel.

4) Admission appeals heard by Independent Admission Appeals Panel – decided in parent’s favour: total number of the heard admission appeals decided in parent’s favour by an independent appeals panel.

5) Admission appeals heard by Independent Admission Appeals Panel – rejected: Total number of the heard admission appeals rejected by an independent appeals panel.

 

Infant Appeals – (primary voluntary aided and foundation schools)

This information is only collected in the Spring Term for voluntary aided and foundation schools with infant admissions (Reception, Yr1 and Yr2).

Complete this section if any of the appeals you have recorded in the Admission Appeals panel were lodged by parents against non-admission to infant classes in the 2020/21 academic year.

The definitions for Lodged, Withdrawn, Heard, Upheld and Rejected are the same as for Admission Appeals but only relate to infant classes’ appeals.

Once you have entered the information click on Save.

Validating the census

Once you have completed your census select Create & Validate, there will be a message appear whilst the data is being processed which says;

Data is being collected.  Please wait…

Once the data has been collected, a screen will appear indicating whether you have any errors or queries to resolve, please see next section for further information.

Resolving errors and queries

Once the create and validate process is complete the following screen will appear at the bottom of the census window;

Sims screenshot of Census Return validations errors summary

Red error messages (type F) must be corrected and cleared whilst black queries (type Q) are acceptable as long as the data is true.

Due to the layout of the screen you may need to hover over the Message, Location and Solution to see the full details.

If you click on the error a new window appears with the details to be amended to clear the error. Alternatively, you can click on the Report button to view or print a list of errors.

If you have an error that applies to a large number of pupils, for example, first language is missing, you can amend all the pupils in one procedure by using Bulk Update. You will need to go to Routines | Pupil | Bulk Update. If you are making amendments after the census date you will need to change the effective dates when running through the Bulk Update.

SIMS guidance on bulk update can be found in the ‘Additional guidance and templates’ section of the census webpage.

Note 1: Once you have worked on the errors you need to Create & Validate to remove them from the listing.

Note 2: Term on Term queries are only generated in COLLECT (via DfE sign in), they do not appear in SIMS. It is therefore vital that you check for additional queries in COLLECT.  Pleaase see Checking your file and adding notes in COLLECT section.

Using the summary and detail reports

Once you have cleared your errors and checked your queries you should print the summary and detail reports to check that the information is correct, for example; number of pupils eligible for free school meals.

SIMS.net cannot know if there are pupils missing, exclusions missing or that pupils have left (if they haven’t been given a leaving date or a reason for leaving) etc. You must check the summary and detail reports thoroughly. The absence of any validation errors or queries does not guarantee a successful return!

Note: as these reports are no longer automatically generated during the authorisation process it is important to print them at this stage.

The On Roll Basic Details Report lists all pupils on roll on census day. The report is useful for identifying pupils whose year taught in differs from the expected year group based on their date of birth (the year taught in cell is highlighted yellow). This report also provides information about a pupils’ part time status.

Attendance Report – this report is useful for identifying pupils with N codes (reason for absence is unknown). As N codes count as unauthorised absence please check your records and amend where possible, e.g. a pupil was ill. Reducing the N codes will improve your performance data. The report now also shows the number of attendance codes.

The Absentees Report is useful for identifying pupils who are close to or have breached the threshold for persistent absences (absence rate of 10% or above).

NOTE: Please pay attention to the Attendance and Absentees Reports. Absence data collected in the school census is published at school level alongside national and local authority statistics. This is your only opportunity to check and amend the attendance data before publication.

Exclusions Report – this report is useful for checking that all pupils who were excluded in the relevant term have exclusion records in the school census. It includes information on the exclusion start date and number of sessions excluded. As exclusions are now collected for the previous two terms this report is useful for checking against any E codes in the Attendance Report (E codes indicate absence due to exclusion).

The SEN Report lists all your pupils recorded with Special Educational Needs and is useful to pass to your SEN Co-ordinator for their consideration. It includes information on the SEN type and SEN type ranking for the Spring Census. It also indicates whether any pupils have been flagged as being a member of a SEN unit or resourced provision.

The School Dinner Taken Report lists the pupils in NCY R–2 on roll on census day who have taken a school dinner on the reference date. This is normally school census day 21/01/21, unless there are exceptional circumstances and another date was chosen.

The Free School Meal Eligibility Report lists pupils who were eligible for free school meals at any point since the last census and is useful to check against the listing that you receive from the Free School Meals Team at Devon County Council (DCC). It is also an early indicator of pupils who may fall within the FSM Ever 6 category for pupil premium. (which is now based on pupils on roll in the Autumn Census).

The ‘total pupils’ number in this report is the number of pupils who are currently eligible and those whose claims have been cancelled since the last census. If you only wish to know the total number of pupils currently eligible then please refer to Table 5. of the summary report which shows the number of pupils eligible for free school meals on census day.

Free school meals and new pupils: CTFs for any new pupils admitted to your school include any free school meal eligibility from the pupil’s previous school. The pupil’s record in SIMS may therefore need amending for the school census depending on the pupil’s circumstances, as indicated below;

  • If the pupil is transferring from another LA maintained school within Devon no action needs to be taken in the census as the free school meal eligibility will still be relevant to the pupil. You will need to email the Free School Meals Team; (freeschoolmeals@devon.gov.uk) with the pupil’s details and start date.
  • If the pupil is transferring from another County, free school meal eligibility will still be relevant to the pupil. Please ask the parent to reapply via the citizens portal / check with the pupils’ previous school. If the transitional status cannot be confirmed, you will need to refer the case to the Free School Meals Team by emailing freeschoolmeals@devon.gov.uk with the child’s details and the previous Local Authority. The FSM Team will then seek to manually confirm that the child does have transitional status.

NOTE: The FSM pupil listing (as provided by the FSM Team) includes pupils where eligibility has been checked by the DCC Free School Meal Team. Pupils with transitional status from another LA may not appear. Step by step advice on how schools can identify whether children have transitional protection is available via the FSM Team’s webpage.

General Report – this indicates free school meals taken on census day, admissions appeals and childcare provision recorded in the census.

Early Years Report – this report lists pupils on roll on census day who have Early Years data and provides information on pupils’ hours at setting, funded hours, 30 hour code, extended funded hours and disability access fund status.

A pupil’s part time status continues to be illustrated in the On Roll Basic Details report.

EYPPR Report – this report indicates pupils’ eligibility for Early Years Pupil Premium (Early Years Pupil Premium Receipt flagged within the Early Years Panel) and the basis for pupil premium eligibility. It also includes hours at setting and funded hours.

2 Year Old Basis for Funding Report – this report lists pupils on roll on census day who have been recorded in the census with 2 year old basis for funding data. It includes hours at setting, funded hours and the eligibility criteria.

NOTE: These reports can be exported to Excel if you need to manipulate / re-sort the data. Hover over the report, right click your mouse and select ‘export to Microsoft Excel’ from the menu. This can be helpful if you need to work on lengthy reports, e.g. the On Roll Basic Details report to identify a pupil in the wrong NCY (sort by pupil date of birth).

Reminder: Census data is used by the DfE policy divisions, other government departments, LAs, external agencies and educational researchers. The data is also used for funding purposes and underpins performance tables and Analyse School Performance.

Accuracy of data is therefore of paramount importance.

 

Authorising the census

Once all errors have been resolved, queries checked (and resolved if applicable) and you are satisfied that all the information is correct, click on Authorise;

Sims screenshot of Census Return to authorise

A window appears advising that the return cannot be edited once authorised and asks if you wish to continue, click “Yes”. The following screen will appear requesting confirmation that the head teacher is satisfied that the census is accurate and complete;

Sims screenshot of Census Return headteacher authorisation

NOTE: The headteacher is responsible for reviewing and authorising the census data before it is submitted to the LA and DfE.

Authorisation by the headteacher confirms that the data submitted is accurate and correct.

The Census Summary Report, Validation Errors Summary Report and Authorisation Report will appear in new windows where they can be printed for your records. The reports are saved in your census folder (same location as your census return). The authorisation process no longer generates a full set of Census Reports on screen so reports need to be printed before the file is authorised, or, once it has been authorised you can retrieve the reports from Tools | Statutory Return Tools | Retrieve Authorised Census Return Files.

Note: Once the census has been authorised it cannot be amended. Should you need to make any amendments you will need to copy the census using the buttons in the census main screen (browse for the relevant census file, highlight it, click copy and open the “copy” file). When copying a return, the following message appears;

Sims screenshot of Census Return copying a return

Click on Yes, the copy is then displayed in the School Census browser window where it can be opened. Once you have amended the data you will need to Create and Validate again, resolve errors/queries, print the summary reports and authorise the new file.

Uploading your census file to COLLECT (all schools)

All schools must upload and submit their census return direct via COLLECT, which is now available via the DfE Sign In portal.

Alternatively, if you have user management access within sims you can set up a shortcut for users to the new Sign In portal. ScoMIS have produced an FAQ on assigning shortcuts which is available via their website.

Once the census file has been authorised (.xml file), log in to the DfE Sign In portal and select COLLECT from your available applications. Click Continue on the next page;

DfE collect portal screenshot to proceed into collect

Select the appropriate data collection i.e. School Census 2021_Spring by clicking on the data collection to highlight it and then click Select Data Collection;

DfE collect portal screenshot my data collections

The following screen appears where you need to Upload your return and then Submit the return;

DfE collect portal screenshot what can i do with my data return

Note:
▪ the file name should be in the following format: 878nnnn_SC1_878LL21_aaa.XML

where nnnn is your DfE Establishment Code and aaa is the file number

▪ once you have Uploaded your Return you must then click the Submit Return to enable the Department for Education and Local Authority to access the file.

The status of your data return should then indicate ‘Submitted’ (top of the section);

DfE collect portal screenshot the status of your data return

and there should be a Date Submitted in ‘What is happening to my data return?’ (bottom of the section);

DfE screenshot Date submitted

Once you have submitted your return you should open your return to check for errors and queries – please see next section.

Checking your file and adding notes in COLLECT

Once you have uploaded your file into COLLECT you can then check immediately for any queries that might have been generated and enter explanatory and/or confirmation notes (there is no longer any need to wait 24 hours before checking).

It is advisable to check your file for any queries as Term on Term queries are only generated in COLLECT (they do not appear in SIMS). Even though the return might show 0 errors and 0 queries on the front screen, please Open the Return to check, as some queries are not visible in the initial screen.

To assist you, a list of the Department for Education’s acceptable notes for queries commonly generated in COLLECT can be found in Appendix B.

NOTE: Please ensure your notes adhere to the minimum acceptable note criteria in order to meet the Department for Education requirements. Failure to meet the minimum acceptable note criteria may delay authorisation of your statutory return.

To check your file for queries, click on ‘Open Return

Click on the All Errors button to view your errors and/or queries. Please enter your notes in the Return Level Notes field.

DfE collect portal screenshot view errors

In the Note Page screen click Add New Note. This will generate a text box where you will be able to enter your note (as indicated below). Once you have typed your note, click Create and log out of COLLECT and from DfE Sign In.

DfE collect portal screenshot add note

 

Help and support

If you need some assistance in completing your return, further help is available:

Education Information Team: Additional guidance notes are available via our website.

If this is the first time that you are running a school census or need further advice please email census@devon.gov.uk and someone from the Education Information Team will contact you to provide guidance and support.

Scomis: For the latest SIMS information please view the Scomis website or the Spring 2021 Scomis webpage.

Schools with service level agreements may also contact Scomis for technical support on 01392 385300.

Department for Education: School census guides for submitting data can be found via the DfE webpages.

 

Appendix A - Exclusion Reasons for 2020/21 academic year

Pupil Exclusion Reason
Possible examples
Census Status
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
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
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 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
Racist abuse derogatory racist statements, racist bullying, racist graffiti, racist taunting and harassment, swearing that can be attributed to racist characteristics already available
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
Sexual misconduct lewd behaviour, sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual bullying, sexual graffiti, sexual harassment already available
Drug and alcohol related alcohol abuse, drug dealing, inappropriate use of prescribed drugs, possession of illegal drugs, smoking, substance abuse already available
Damage damage includes damage to school or personal property belonging to any member of the school community, arson, graffiti, vandalism 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
Persistent or general disruptive behaviour challenging behaviour, disobedience, persistent violation of school rules, raising of fire alarms falsely 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
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

 

Appendix B - Attendance codes for 2020/21 academic year

The following codes will be collected in the census;

Code
Description
school census status
/ Present (AM) NEW from 2020/21
\ Present (PM) NEW from 2020/21
L Late (before registers closed) marked as present NEW 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) NEW from 2020/21
D Dual registered (at another establishment) – not counted in possible attendances NEW from 2020/21
J Approved education activity as pupil is attending interview NEW from 2020/21
P Approved education activity as pupil is attending an approved sporting activity NEW from 2020/21
V Approved education activity as pupil is away on an educational visit or trip NEW from 2020/21
W Approved education activity as pupil is attending work experience NEW 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 – not counted in possible attendances, or not attending in circumstances relating to coronavirus 1 NEW 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 collected in school census) not included
# Planned whole or partial school closure – not counted in possible attendances (not collected in school census) not included

¹DfE addendum-recording-attendance-in-relation-to-coronavirus-covid-19-during-the-2020-21-academic-year

 

 

Appendix C - COLLECT Reports

There are a number of reports within the COLLECT portal available to help schools validate their data and check data used in the census to inform funding allocations. All available reports can be accessed via the ‘launch reports’ button on the school ‘source page’ of COLLECT.

Note: Some reports are populated overnight and therefore where new files are loaded or data is amended on screen, this may not be reflected in the reports until the following day.

Pupil number report

This report provides a headcount of your pupils by NC year group, plus a headcount of your pupils minus subsidiary registrations. It also provides the number of pupils that will be used in numerous funding streams including the dedicated schools grant calculation.

Duplicate UPN and duplicate pupil report

The duplicate UPN report shows any pupils appearing on your census and that of another school where there is an invalid combination of enrolment statuses. Your school’s funding may be affected if these remain unresolved within the census. The duplicate pupil report identifies pupils whose personal details are the same but the UPN differs. Please refer to the DfE’s Duplicate reports guidance available via the DfE census webpages.

Free school meals report (FSM)

Allows schools to check the FSM eligibility data submitted in their census return. This report refers only to FSM eligibility reported in the current census and not the FSM ever measure used to allocate the pupil premium.

Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM)

This provides a breakdown of the infant pupils the DfE will use in the UIFSM funding calculation.

Zero funded hours

Highlights the number of early years pupils who have ‘zero’ funded hours recorded on the school census return. The DfE use funded hours to calculate the early years block of the dedicated schools grant, therefore, it is important that schools check and verify this data.

Pupil premium (now based on Autumn Census)

Allows schools to check and verify the data contained in their census, which will feed into the deprivation, service child and post looked after child (LAC) elements of the pupil premium allocation (which is now based on pupils recorded in the autumn census, previously based on pupils recorded in the spring census).

Early years pupil premium

Allows schools to check and verify the data contained in their spring school census which the DfE use for the early years pupil premium allocations.

Schools are strongly advised to use these reports to help quality assure census returns.

Appendix D - Acceptable Notes in COLLECT

The DfE require you to provide explanatory information for individual queries as a note in COLLECT.  Please use the List of COLLECT queries and explanatory notes to help you complete the school census which can be found by clicking on Adding explanation notes for queries on the DfE census webpages.