Autumn School Census 2018


We are sharing the following information that has been released from the DfE.

Update No 2 from the DfE


  1. The purpose of this note is to provide school census contacts with an update on the autumn school census data collection that is currently live and to remind schools and local authorities of the impending return date of Wednesday 31 October 2018. We would ask that any school or local authority who envisage any issues submitting their data to the Department by the return date to contact us if you require any assistance.

DfE Sign-in (formerly secure access)

  1. The way you sign-in to DfE services is changing – COLLECT will be moving over to DfE Sign-in in the coming weeks. You do not need to take any action until prompted.

COLLECT new Error 2721

  1. We have noted that in a significant number of cases, schools returning post 16 data have flagged academic qualifications as a core aim. We want to remind schools that they must only use the core aim flag where the student is undertaking a vocational study programme or a mixed programme with a vocational core. Applying the core aim flag incorrectly could have a negative effect on retention.
  1. The presence of a core aim flag against any qualification indicates that the programme is vocational (whether the qualification itself is vocational or academic).
  1. Due to the impact this may have on a school’s 16-19 funding allocation we have felt it necessary to introduce a new validation error 2721. This will apply to all schools with post 16 students and may affect returns that have already been authorised. Therefore we would ask all such schools to check their returns and take the appropriate action to resolve if this error has triggered.
  1. Please refer to the funding rates and formula guidance and Post 16 interactive school census tool for further information on recording core aims.


  1. We have identified a bug in the implementation of validation rule 1601q in COLLECT. In order to resolve this the database will need to be re-validated. Therefore we would ask all schools (even those previously authorised) to check their return and take appropriate action in cases where the query has triggered.
  1. Please note: The re-validation of the database will take place early next week. Any returns which trigger either Error 2721 or 1601q which were previously authorised will revert to a status of amended by collector.

COLLECT reports

  1. We would like to remind you of the importance of running the reports available to local authorities in the reports section of the school census COLLECT blade to ensure that census returns include the correct data which will be used for funding allocations.

    These are:

    • Pupil number report
    • UIFSM report
    • FSM summary report
    • ESFA reports
  1. These reports will allow schools to identify anomalies in their data which can impact on funding calculations for dedicated schools grant, pupil premium funding and universal infant free school meals. Therefore, we would strongly encourage all schools to ensure that these reports are checked and verified in advance of the autumn census database closing to amendments from local authorities on 28 November 2018. Amendments to the database will not be possible after this date.

If you would like any further information, please email or call the SIMS Service Desk on 0345 222 1551 • Option 3 for SIMS and FMS.

SBS provides Capita-accredited support, consultancy and training for SIMS. Learn more about how to get the most out of your school data.

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