Summer School Census

Summer School Census

School Census – May 2018 Return

As you will be aware, the next School Census is on Thursday 17 May 2018.
All schools are required to produce an electronic census return. The submission of a School Census return, including a set of named pupil records, is a statutory requirement under section 537A of the Education Act 1996.

How do I submit my School Census return?

Your School Census return must be submitted via the COLLECT website. Please note access to COLLECT is through Secure Access.

All authorities have been given a staggered opening time from which they can upload their Census files to the COLLECT Website. Bradford’s opening time is Thursday 17 May 2018 at 07:30. Please be aware that schools can upload their return at any point after this time, but may experience slow uploading speeds as other authorities are given access throughout the day. Therefore please make every effort to upload your files as early as possible.

When do I need to run the School Census?

School Census day is Thursday 17 May 2018. Your school census file should be submitted on Thursday 17 May 2018. Sending your School Census file to the COLLECT website makes it available to the Information Management Team for processing. Please remember you need to press submit on COLLECT for the School Census once the file has finished loading and validating. When validation checks are completed the file is approved by the Information Management Team and then becomes available to the DfE.

Which version of SIMS should I be using?

To submit a valid census return you need to be using version 7.180. For schools using other systems please contact your support provider. If you do not use SIMS please contact your software provider to ensure you are running the latest version of software.

Which file do I send?

380XXXX_SC2_380LL18_nnn.XML where XXXX = your school DFE number i.e. 2999 and nnn = the file number i.e.create the file once it will be 001, if you create it 3 times it will be 003.

Where can I find guidance?

Official guidance from the DFE on completing the census return and using COLLECT can be found on the DFE web site.
Schools need to contact their SIMS support unit for Census guidance.
E-ICT Subscribers can find this documentation on BSO in the subscriber's area.

What data do I need to provide?

Details of current pupils

Details of leavers who attended for at least one session in the Spring Term 2017/18

Hours at Setting

Funded Hours

30 Hour code indicator

Free School Meal Start and End Dates

Free School Meals Taken on the day

School lunch taken

Top up funding              

Post Looked After Arrangements – Formally known as Adopted Pupils

Pupil Nationality

Country of Birth


The DfE expects that all basic pupil data such as Youth Service Support agreement, SEN status, eligibility for free school meals, etc is being kept up to date on a regular basis.

Where do I need to take special care?

The areas that cause most difficulties are highlighted below. Please pay attention to these particular aspects.

  • Top up Funding is only available for pupils on a Statement or Education Health Care Plan where support costs exceed £10,000.
  • All exclusions where the head teacher’s decision to exclude the pupil took place between the 01/09/2017 and 31/12/2017 except those where the exclusion was later overturned or the pupil was reinstated. For each of these exclusions the pupil’s SEN status and whether or not s(he) was in care at the time.
  • Hours at Setting is the number of hours the pupil attends the setting during census week.  You should not include breaks where pupils are not receiving education. 
  • Funded Hours is the level of free entitlement of education attracted by the pupil in that setting.
  • 30 hour code indicator is an 11 digit integer that is required for all pupils who were aged 3 and 4 on 31 August in E1, E2, N1 or N2 only.
  • Nursery pupils that attend an education provision for 15 hours or less should be flagged as part time. If a pupil is attending 10 sessions a week in education provision then they are full time and if they are attending less than 10 sessions a week in education provision then they are part time regardless of their hours.
  • Pupil nationality is collected for all pupils and relates to the nationality of the pupil as stated by the parent / guardian and / or child (in the case of a child without a parent / guardian).
  • Country of birth is collected for all pupils and records the country in which the pupil was born as stated by the parent / guardian and / or child (in the case of a child without a parent / guardian). The country of birth would be expected to appear on – or be derived from – the child’s birth certificate or passport. However, there is no requirement for the school to request, or see, a copy of the birth certificate or passport.

Do we need to send anything else?

Sending your School Census via COLLECT will be accepted as confirmation that your head teacher has authorised the file for submission to the DFE.

For audit purposes the Information Management Team recommend that you keep a copy of the summary generated along with the authorisation form.

The school is responsible for the accuracy of this statutory return so it is very important that your school census return is thoroughly checked by the head teacher because:

  • Data from the School Census is used to determine your school’s funding.
  • Data from the School Census is used to register the pupils in your school with QCA.
  • School Census data is used by OfSTED and auditors.
  • Numbers and percentages from the School Census are used in the, DFE Statistical First Releases (SFRs), and Performance Tables.
  • Data from the School Census is used to inform local and national policy development.
  • School Census data is used in the monitoring of policy implementation.

The National Audit Office and DFE check the accuracy of School Census data.

If you have any queries please contact us here:

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