Spring School Census 2023

Spring School Census 2023

School Census – January 2023 Return

As you will be aware, the next School Census is on Thursday 19th January 2023.
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 DfE Sign-in.

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 19th January 2023 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 19th January 2023. Your school Census file should be submitted on Thursday 19th January 2023. 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 7.208. If you do not use SIMS please contact your software provider to ensure you are running the latest version of the software.

Which file do I send?

380XXXX_SC1_380LL23_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 can be found on the DfE website.
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 changes are there for the new academic year?

The following changes have been made by the DfE to existing collected data:

Data Item


Young carer indicator

This data item records whether the pupil has been identified as a young carer and by whom. All schools (except nursery) can send us this information in spring census only.

School time

This optional data item records for each school, the total compulsory time pupils spend in school, in a typical 5-day week. For all schools except nursery.

Alternative provision company number

This data item records the Company House company number, where applicable, of the establishment within which the pupil has taken up an alternative provision placement.

Alternative provision placement postcode

This data item records the postcode, where applicable, of the establishment within which the pupil has taken up an alternative provision placement.


What data do I need to provide?

Details of current pupils

Details of leavers

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       

Service Child Indicator      

Early Years Pupil Premium

Post Looked After Arrangements – Formally known as Adopted Pupils

Class information

Pupil reconciliation

School Childcare

Admission Appeals

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 an Education Health Care Plan where support costs exceed £10,000.
  • All suspensions and permanent exclusions with start dates between 18/04/2022 and 31/12/2022 except those where the exclusion was later overturned or the pupil was reinstated.
  • 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 an 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.
  • Pupils who were in receipt of free school meals on 31 March 2018 should continue to receive free school meals until the end of the universal credit roll out, 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. This should only be removed at the request of a parent.


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.
  • 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 Caladine, last updated on 05/01/2023. This page has been viewed 8,272 times.

Other pages in this section