Spring School Census

Spring School Census

School Census – January 2017 Return

As you will be aware, the next School Census is on Thursday 19 January 2017.
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 web site. 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 19 January 2017 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 19 January 2017. Your school census file should be submitted on Thursday 19 January 2017. Sending your School Census file to the COLLECT website makes it available to the Information Management Team for checking. Please remember you need to submit the school census after you have loaded the file. When validation checks are completed the file is approved by the Information Management Team and then becomes available to the DFE.

Details are required of all classes running at the selected time on Census day. The ‘selected time’ is based on the last digit of a school’s DfE numbers as follows:



0, 1 or 5

The selected time is one hour after the start of afternoon school

2, 3, or 6

The selected time is one hour after the start of morning school

4, 7, 8 or 9

The selected time is one hour before the end of morning school


Which version of SIMS should I be using?

To submit a valid census return you need to be using version 7.172

Which file do I send?

380XXXX_SC1_380LL17_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 Autumn Term 2016/17
Hours at Setting
Funded Hours
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
Service Pupils
Class Information 
Admission Appeals By School Phase
School Childcare
Early Years Pupil Premium


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.

What are the new data items for 2016/17?

  • 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).
  • Proficiency in English – Where a pupils language is ‘other than English’ or ‘Believed to be English’ the pupils proficiency in English should be recorded as either New to English, Early Acquisition, Developing Competence, Competent, or Fluent.
  • 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.
  • ****Unique property reference number (UPRN) -  The collection and use of AddressBase Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) has been introduced to improve the quality of address data used across the educational sector and simplify the future movement of address data. This is voluntary for the 2016-17 collections and will remain so for the 2017-18 collections as well due to unforeseeable technical issues.

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 28/03/2016 and 31/08/2016 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. This information is only required for Nursery pupils, Reception pupils are no longer included.
  • Funded Hours is the level of free entitlement of education attracted by the pupil in that setting.
  • Pupils become eligible for Early Years pupil premium (EYPP) from the term following a child’s third birthday and retain this entitlement until they move from nursery to reception. Further information can be found here.
  • Nursery pupils that attend an education provision for 15 hours or less should be flagged as part time. If a nursery pupil who attends for more than 15 hours and the parent/guardian is paying for additional childcare hours these pupils should be recorded as part time.

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: IMTDataTeam@bradford.gov.uk

Page owned by Rebecca Troth, last updated on 06/01/2017. This page has been viewed 2,541 times.