Census Dates for 2018-19
Autumn Census 2018 Thursday 4th October 2018
January Census 2018 Thursday 17th January 2019
May Census 2018 Thursday 16th May 2019
Nursery, primary, secondary, special and PRS/PRU schools are required to submit a Department for Education (DFE) Schools Census return every term, it is a statutory return. DFE provide a detailed guidance booklet each year which is intended to be used as a handbook for data entered onto school management information systems (MIS) throughout the year, rather than just for the Census itself. The Census is used to inform the Dedicated School Grant (DSG), Post 16 funding and Performance tables. Items used to calculate funding are indicated by [used for funding] markers in the booklet, some of these items may be validation items for other funding indicators so please ensure these data items are accurately entered. The updated version is available from the link on this page.
The 2018 October Census will be used as the basis for the schools block of funding in the DSG for April 2019-2020; schools are encouraged to ensure all pupils are accurately recorded on that return. Collection of data on Universal Infant Free School meals (UIFSM) continues in each census return and is in addition to periods of eligibility for FSM. This return is also the used to determine funding for post 16 students in sixth forms.
The Spring Census continues as the source of information for the allocation of the Pupil Premium which includes elements for FSM eligibility, Service Children and Post Looked after arrangements (PLAA) (previously known as Adopted from Care), care should be taken to accurately record these items in each Census return, checking the appropriate tables are populated in the Census summary is recommended. PLAA covers all pupils adopted from care, not just those adopted after 30 December 2005.
Please note Looked after pupils (LAC) attract pupil premium but this information is collected on a separate return, the SSDA903, submitted by the LA.
DFE also use the Spring Census to calculate the funding for nursery pupils, allocation of funding for nursery pupils will continue to be based on a termly headcount of nursery children.
The Spring Census collects details of class organisation and is used to monitor Infant Class Size regulations 1998 which limits the size of an infant class to 30 pupils per school teacher. Infant classes are those in which the majority of pupils turn 5, 6 or 7 during the course of the school year i.e. reception and key stage 1 classes schools.
School performance tables also include comprehensive information on what childcare primary and secondary schools offer – from nurseries to after school and holiday provision, this information is compiled from data submitted in the spring census.
The accuracy of Census data is also important because pupil addresses are used to assess the socio-economic characteristics of the pupil population, and so provide a context for the assessment of schools' performance. Accordingly, the DfE recommends that schools send parents (or older pupils themselves) a data sheet showing what information is currently held by the school about the pupil and have in place a process to update the MIS data.
Census Summary gives the school an overview of the data included in your return. Review this carefully as it may reveal issues with data entry at the school and will give a summary of information on
- numbers on roll
- FSM eligibility
- Numbers of pupils with SEN
- Post looked after arrangements
- Service Children
- Absence data – this should be checked carefully noting that it does not include attendance information relating to nursery pupils
Please note as the summary varies each term so some of the tables will not be populated.
For detailed guidance on what is required in each census please visit the termly census page which will have the details for what is required in each return. Below is a brief summary of any changes and requirements for 2018-2019
The School Census 2018-19 has no new items, three items have been deleted;
Country of Birth
The collection of pupil country of birth is no longer required by the department and, as such, it is removed from the school census collection with immediate effect.
Schools must no longer request this information from parents, or retain the data within their system, for purpose of transmitting to the department via the school census. School ICT can provide support on the process to do this
The collection of pupil nationality is no longer required by the department and, as such, it is removed from the school census collection with immediate effect. Schools must no longer request this information from parents, or retain the data within their system, for purpose of transmitting to the department via the school census. School ICT can provide support on the process to do this
Proficiency in English
The collection of proficiency in English is no longer required by the department and, as such, it is removed from the school census collection with immediate effect.
Schools are therefore no longer required to assess a child’s proficiency in English for purpose of transmitting to the department via the school census.
There are changes to some existing items;
Special educational needs
Code ‘S’ – Statement of special educational needs – was discontinued from 2018-04-01 and has therefore been removed from SEN except where it applies to exclusions from the 2018 Spring and Summer terms, which are reported in the 2018 Autumn and 2019 Spring terms. This data item will not be valid for exclusions in the summer census collection.
NSA – no specialist assessment
The guidance regarding the use of Code ‘NSA’ has been strengthened. Schools are expected to identify a type of need for all children at SEN Support - there is no requirement for a pupil to have a specialist assessment to be recorded in the main SEN types. The No Specialist Assessment code (‘NSA’) should only be used in those very rare instances where a pupil is placed on SEN support (Code ‘K’), but the school is still assessing what the primary need is. This might occur, for example, where a child on SEN support has transferred into the school shortly before school census day. Where code ‘NSA’ is to be used, the pupil MUST have SEN Provision of code ‘K’. Code ‘NSA’ must not be used without the pupil having an appropriate SEN provision in place.
Service child indicator
The ‘Service Child’ indicator has changed from a spring collection to being collected each term.
Recording of substantial work placements.
With the introduction of the Technical or ‘T’ levels, there is a requirement to record substantial work placements. This will be achieved by using additional ‘QNs’ to record the hours duration of the placement - see paragraph 5.10.19 for further information.
Changes to Free School Meal eligibility following the change to Universal Credit
To minimise the impact of the rollout of universal credit and the introduction of a net-earned income threshold to determine eligibility for free school meals, transitional arrangements have been put in place to ensure that no pupil loses a meal as a result of these changes. – see under changes to existing items for details on this.
Transitional protections should be awarded as follows:
- any claimant who is 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 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.
- any claimant who gains eligibility for free school meals from 1 April 2018 will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the universal credit rollout 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.
FSM end dates are not expected to be reported by schools during the transitional period – with the exceptions being:
- where a parent has been informed of the FSM protection and they have still indicated that they do not wish the child to be recorded as FSM eligible and receive a free school meal. This should not be confused with a parent’s request to end a free school meal claim with a change in their circumstances which are now protected
- where a pupil transfers from another UK country – their non-English FSM must have an FSM end date. Parents would be expected to make a new claim.
- claimants who qualify through support under the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999 or the guarantee element of the Pension Credit, their benefit(s) will not be replaced by universal credit and therefore the pupil’s FSM entitlement will not be protected. They will only be entitled to a free school meal as long as they retain the benefit. In such cases where the parent has notified the school that these benefits have ended an FSM end date should be recorded.
Data items collected about a school each term include the LA number, Establishment number, Establishment Unique Reference number, School name including the word ‘School’, ‘College’, ‘Academy’ or ‘Free School’ where this is part of the school’s full name. Phase, Maximum and Minimum year group, Intake type, Governance, School email address, School telephone number and School type*. *Schools that have become an academy will have a school type of 49.
Data on pupils that must be submitted in each census for each pupil individually include pupil identifiers, (UPN, forename, surname, date of birth etc) Language, Post looked after arrangements (PLAA), Attendance and absences for the previous term, Exclusions, two terms in arrears, Free School Meals, School Lunches taken (Reception, Y1 and Y2 only) Unique Learner Numbers (pupils aged 14 and over) SEN provision, Top-up Funding, Service Child status, Youth Support Services Assent and National Curriculum year groups.
National curriculum year groups
R & Yrs 1 –13
N2 for children aged 3-4 (DOB 01/09/2014-31/08/2015)
N1 for children aged 2-3(DOB 01/09/2015 – 31/08/2016)
Two year groups have been added to allow school MIS to record very young children.
E2 for children aged 1-2 (DOB 01/09/16-31/08/2017)
E1 for children aged 0-1 (DOB 1/9/2017 – 31/08/2018)
Other items collected but not in each census
Ethnicity this item continues to be collected in the spring term only.
Primary and secondary SEN Type records the nature of a pupil’s primary and secondary (where applicable) special educational need. This is collected in spring only
Traineeships Secondary and PRU with an appropriate age range, this item adds an indicator to each of the pupils learning aims to show if the individual learning aim contributes to a traineeship
Qualification Number (QN) and Subject Classification Code (SCC) collected as part of the Post 16 data collection in the Autumn Term only.
Admission Appeals Collected in spring term only, the appeals module collects primary, infant and secondary admission appeals separately
Learner Support Code is collected in the spring and summer term
Dual Registration - A DfE reminder about attendance and absence recording Schools should record the pupil's attendance and absence for those sessions that the pupil is scheduled to attend their school only. The remaining session(s) when the pupil is attending another school will be marked in the register using Code D; this will not be included within the attendance data submitted in the Census for that school. The number of sessions possible for a dual registered pupil against the main school should exclude those when the pupil is due to attend the subsidiary school and vice versa. This does not change schools' obligations with respect to safeguarding and they must follow up all unexplained and unexpected absences in a timely manner.
YSSA Secondary schools need to ensure their Youth Support Services (YSS) assent data is accurate for each pupil aged 13 or older. The Values of ‘UNS’ unsought, ‘SNR’ Sought No Reply and ‘No’ are treated as ‘No’. The LA will not pass data to YSS, other than data that it is legally required to under the Education and Skills Act 2008. Where a value of Yes is reported an extended dataset will be passed on to YSS. Schools need parents to opt in to allow the LA to pass additional information to the YSS.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates certain safeguards regarding the use of personal data by organisations, including the department, local authorities and schools. The DFE guidance booklet gives a summary of some of the key points and these are listed there. This includes information relating to Privacy Notices which all schools must have with links to the LA privacy notices and must include a link to the gov.uk webpage
Further information on the GDPR can be found in the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
The DfE Census preparation and guidance documents are available for download below. Use of these to help schools maintain their data throughout the year should ensure that Census causes as little extra work as possible. Other useful links can also be found below.
Data protection toolkit
- Collect Guide
- DFE School Census Guidance notes 2018-19
- Post-16 Interactive tool kit
- Data collection service request
- NYCC January 2019 Census Guidance
- Information Commissioners Office [new window]
- Cyber Essentials [new window]
- Overview of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Information Management Data Officer
Tel: 44 01609 532324