It will soon be another National Census Return for all school types. The Autumn Census date is the 5th of October. Your SIMS version will need to be 7.176 (can be seen via help/about SIMS) and the latest fileset issued by the DfE is 704, which will be deployed automatically to your server over the next couple of days but please ensure you have this fileset before you complete and publish your census.

Author: Jim Haywood (Product Manager for Statutory Returns) 

 

 

Added 10th October 2017 at 12:50 – COLLECT Validation Error 160: URN recorded on COLLECT does not match URN recorded on EduBase

Please note that although the DfE COLLECT validation includes the check for validation error 160, the DfE school validation does not.  This is because COLLECT is able to compare the entry in the return file with what is currently stated on GIAS (formerly known as Edubase).  It is possible to deal with this directly in COLLECT, but schools should also correct the data on their MIS (assuming that they have provided the correct information on

 

Added 8th October 2017 at 22:35 – Reduce retention and possible loss of funding if core learning aim is included for an academic post-16 programme of study

Please note the following clarification, which has been provided by the DfE in one of our forums.  I think the implication of this clarification is that any school that has submitted their return to the DfE with a core aim identified for an academic programme should remove that core aim and resubmit their return, or use some other method to ensure that their retention is not unnecessarily reduced with the possible loss of funding.

Schools need to identify and record the substantive (core) learning aim for those students undertaking an ESFA funded vocational or mixed study programme. Where the student is following an academic programme, a core aim must not be recorded on the census.

For vocational programmes, the core aim is key in determining the programme cost weighting a student receives and whether they are counted as retained for funding purposes. Missing or incorrect core aims are likely to have a negative impact on funding. If a core aim is identified for an academic programme it will likely have a negative impact on retention as the core aim will denote the programme as vocational but with no vocational aim in the programme the student may be count as not retained.

 

Added 6th October 2017 at 15:10 – Validation Query 2584Q – Please check: There would normally be at least one pupil who would have at least one unauthorised absence for the second half of the summer term

Please note that there is a mistake in the DfE coding of this query which means that it is checking authorised absence when it should be checking unauthorised absence.

Added 6th October 2017 at 15:00 – Validation Query 2583Q – Please check: There would normally be at least one pupil who would have at least one authorised absence for the second half of the summer term

Please note that there is a mistake in the DfE coding of this query which means that it is checking unauthorised absence when it should be checking authorised absence.

Added 6th October 2017 at 14:35 – Number of learners who have not achieved A*-C in Table 28 of the DfE Summary Report

Please note that we believe that this last row of Table 28 is incorrect in that it is only taking account of leavers when it should also be taking account of on roll students.  We have passed our findings to the DfE.

Added 6th October 2017 at 12:25 – Accuracy of the 30 Hours Code is very important for schools’ nursery funding

As we understand it, the DfE will only provide funding for the new extended 30 hours of nursery education where an accurate 30 hours code is included in the School Census.  Unfortunately, the only attribute of this code that the DfE has been able to validate is that the code is 30 digits (DfE validation rule 3105).  The fact that some school’s data is failing even this rudimentary validation is a concern, as it could indicate that not all schools involved with nursery education are aware of the importance of providing an accurate 30 Hours Code in their School Census.

We suggest that all schools expecting to receive the new 30 hours of extended nursery education use the Early Years Detail Report to double check that they have provided accurate 30 hours codes.

Added 6th October 2017 at 11:05 – Error 3120: The disability access fund indicator is only available for 3 and 4 year olds

The message the DfE has provided for this validation error is causing confusion and it might be better to ignore the actual message and think instead of the full description of what triggers this validation.

Validation error 3120 will be triggered when the DAF indicator is included in the return and NEITHER of the following is true.

  1. The child’s date of birth is between 01/09/2013 and 31/08/2014 (inclusive)
  2. The child’s date of birth is between 01/09/2012 and 31/08/2013 (inclusive) AND they are taught in years E1, E2, N1 or N.

In the SIMS Software there are two possible reasons for this validation error to be triggered.

  1. The software is being run in a Nursery School and the software was built against the agreed DfE specification which asked for this data to be included for ALL children in a Nursery School, while the DfE validation is taking account of the very late decision by the DfE that Nursery School’s should be subject to the same restriction and other schools, as described above.  In practical terms this means that the validation will be triggered for all children in a Nursery School who are taught in year R.
  2. The school installed the ‘Early Release’ of the Summer Release 2017, which had a bug in this area, and failed to upgrade to the ‘Full Release’, which included a fix to this bug.

So if a Nursery School gets this validation failure they can ignore it, as the DfE will delete the data they no longer require on upload to COLLECT.

If any other school gets this validation failure they should upgrade to the ‘Full Release’, or even better, upgrade to the ‘Full Release’ and apply the latest workstation patch.  Schools that are still on the ‘Early Release’ will see the following when they run Help | About SIMS .net 

Version: 7.176
Database build: 3.62.768

 

Added 5th October 2017 at 12:20 – Table 26: Post 16 learning aims – number of learning aims that started this academic year – from 1 August 2017 or continued from previous academic year(s)

Please note that the DfE have confirmed the issue we found with the calculation of one of the overall totals.  However, we have now contacted the DfE to let them know that we believe that all the numbers quoted in the table are incorrect and meaningless, as they appear to be applying a filter at the learning aim level and then reporting at student level.

 

Added 4th October 2017 at 20:35 – Part time for the pupil and part time for the pupil’s attendance

In their latest bulletin, the DfE has pointed out that the part time indicator reported in the Census is about the nature of a pupil’s education in general rather than the nature of their expected attendance at the school.  In the context of SIMS this means that Part Time Details in the Registration panel of Pupil Details is describing an attribute of the pupil’s education in general (which could include concurrent education with another provider), while Early Years Attendance Patterns in that panel is describing an attribute of the pupil’s attendance at the school.

In line with the DfE specification, our Census application makes use of Part Time Details as an attribute of the pupil rather than Early Years Attendance Patterns.

Added 4th October 2017 at 14:00 – What provision should be recorded against funded hours, extended hours and hours at setting?

Please note the following excerpt from the DfE Final Readiness Bulletin for School Census Autumn 2017.

The scope of the provision which is funded by central government via the universal entitlement to early education (recorded against funded hours) and the extended entitlement to 30 hours (recorded against extended hours) is identical and must only include hours used for education provision. Education provision for these purposes is defined in regulations as provision which follows the learning and development requirements of the early years foundation stage. This means:

• Funded hours – hours used to deliver the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage which are funded under the universal entitlement to early education.

• Extended hours – hours used to deliver the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage which are funded under the 30 hours extension to early education.

As with funded hours and extended childcare hours, hours at setting should record the time spent at the provider used to deliver the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (i.e. in education provision). The difference is that hours at setting should record all hours spent in education provision irrespective of who is funding the hours whereas funded hours and extended childcare hours should only include hours funded under the universal entitlement and extended entitlement respectively.

Added 2nd October 2017 at 18:20 – Post-16 Programme of Study and Planned Hours

When Calculate Hours from Courses is clicked in Tools | Academic Management | Course Manager | Post-16 Programme of Study, the calculation will look at all courses open on Census Day for each student selected and for each of those student calculate the Qualification Hours by summing the Planned Qualification Hours per Year entered for each of their courses and the Non-Qualification Hours by summing the Planned Non-Qualification per Year for each of their courses.

If a student leaves a course before Census Day, the hours for that course will not be taken into account, regardless of whether or not they left the course because of a transfer to another course or because they withdrew from the course without transferring to another course.

Similarly, no attempt is made to reduce the hours for a student when they joined a course after the start of the year but on or earlier than the Census Day.

In the majority of cases the caveats that I have described above will make no material difference to the hours to be included in the Census Return, but there might be a case for adjusting the Planned Qualification Hours and Non-Qualification Hours in certain situations.

  1. When a student joined a course late without having transferred from another course.
  2. When a student withdrew from a course before Census Day and the Planned Qualification Hours and Non-Qualification Hours are marginally below a funding band.

Updated 2nd October 2017 at 13:00 – Claiming Early Years funding via the School Census (schools) OR via the Early Years Census (LAs)

As you know, early years funding from the DfE can be claimed by a school via School Census, or by the LA via the Early Year Census, but cannot be claimed via both Censuses for the same child.  A claim by the school must be based on the legal requirement for education of early years children at a school, e.g. minimum adult/child ratio.  Similarly, a claim by the LA must be based on the legal requirement for caring for a child at a nursery, e.g. a lower minimum adult/child ratio for caring for a child at nursery than for educating a child at a school.

Some school have found that they are not able to provide the minimum adult/child ratio needed for the extended (30 hour) DfE funding via School Census and have decided to remove their nursery age children from the school’s MIS so the LA can claim the funding via the Early Years Census.  However, we understand that such action is not necessary in many cases, as the alternative of leaving the children in the school’s MIS with an enrolment status of Guest would also ensure that they are not included in this aspect of School Census and therefore would not be subject to the more stringent minimum adult/child ratio.

For further information, please consult the funding regulations provided by your LA and/or the DfE.

Updated 28th September 2017 at 08:55 – Fileset 704 has been uploaded to Fileset Update

Please note that Fileset 704 has been uploaded to Fileset Update

This Fileset makes the following changes for School Census Autumn 2017, but you should note that the DfE has not corrected the problem with rule 1852 for their school validation.  However, the problem with rule 1852 has been addressed for the COLLECT validation.

DfE School Validation

Errors 3100, 3110, 3120, 3130, 3140, 3150, 5170, 5180 and 5230

The coding for each of these validation errors has been updated to take account of the very late change to the DfE specification that applies the same rule to exclude pupils taught in year ‘R’ in Nursery Schools as was previously only true for Non-Nursery Schools.

Error 3070 – Pupil’s Country of Birth is missing or an invalid value

The validation rule now takes account of ‘Slovakia’.

Error 3075 – Pupil’s Nationality is missing or an invalid value

The validation rule now takes account of ‘Slovakia’.

DfE School Summary Report

Table 2 – Pupils on roll by age and gender

The age calculation has been corrected to that the total for pupils are shown in a year in line with the pupils’ actual age.

Table 15: Attendance information for the 2017 summer term (terms 5 and 6) for all pupils aged between 5 and 15 years as at 31/08/2016 [Not for: Nursery school]

The unauthorised absence codes have been included and persistent absentee calculation amended.

Table 23 – Universal infant school meals

The age calculation has been corrected for pupils with NC year X so that the correct pupils are taken into account for year X.

SIMS Application

UPRN (Unique Property Reference Number)

This is now being included in the return where it is available.

Added 27th September 2017 at 14:40 – Fileset 704 is in its final stages of testing

We expect the DfE update to their validation file to address the following issues.

Error 3070 – Pupil’s Country of Birth is missing or an invalid value

This error is being triggered for “Slovakia” when it should not be.

Error 3075 – Pupil’s Nationality is missing or an invalid value

This error is being triggered for “Slovakia” when it should not be.

Error 1852 – Child’s funded hours not provided or out of the range 0 to 15 to two decimal places for pupils aged 2 or 3

This error is triggered for 0 zero funded hours when it should not be.

We expect the DfE update to their summary report file to address the following issues. 

Table 2 – Pupils on roll by age and gender

The age calculation is incorrect in the XSLT and therefore pupils are shown on this table in a year below their actual age.

There is also an error in the wording displayed for pupils aged 5, as the date of birth range should be ‘01/09/11-31/08/12’ and not ‘01/09/2012 and later’.

Table 16 – Attendance information for the 2017 summer term (terms 5 and 6) for all pupils aged 4 years as at 31/08/2016

The unauthorised absence codes have been omitted. However, the DfE does not expected schools to be affected by mistake on their part.

Table 23 – Universal infant school meals

The age calculation is incorrect for pupils with NC year X and therefore the incorrect pupils may appear in the table for year X. However, a UiFSM report which will include pupils in year X, is available for schools and local authorities to run via the report section on COLLECT. This report will allow schools to reconcile their pupil numbers.

The following issue is due to a mistake on our part and a solution is already in place for distribution via fileset 704. 

UPRN (Unique Property Reference Number)

This is not compulsory for School Census Autumn 2017, but should be included where available. Unfortunately, UPRN is not being included in the Census when it is available.

Added 27th September 2017 at 14:15 – Total Hours for Early Years

Our understanding is that the Total Hours for Early Years should take account of the normal funded hours, the extended funded hours and any additional hours for teaching that the parent(s) have paid for.  However, if the parent(s) have paid for childcare, that should not be included, as this is not teaching.

Added 19th September 2017 at 10:10 – Relationship between EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and childcare hours

The following explanation has been posted to our forum by the DfE and schools may find it helpful in understanding the childcare funding that schools can claim via the School Census.

The scope of the provision which is funded by central government via the first 15 hours and the second 15 hours is identical and must be used only for education provision. 

As set out in regulations, in order to receive funding to deliver free places providers must be either: 

  • registered on the Ofsted Early Years Register
  • registered with a childminding agency which is registered with Ofsted
  • schools taking children aged two and over which are exempt from registration with Ofsted as an early years providers 

Providers must deliver the full Learning and Development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) unless: 

  • they are an independent school which has met the quality requirement(most recent Ofsted inspection judgement is “good” or better) and notified the Secretary of State that they intend to take up exemption from the Learning and Development requirement; or
  • the Department has granted an exemption from one or more of the Learning and Development requirements on the grounds that the provider’s established principles cannot be reconciled with one or more of the Learning and Development requirements. 

So, in effect, this is saying that the universal entitlement and the extended childcare hours must be used to deliver the learning and development requirements of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). 

Added 18th September 2017 at 18:15 – UPRN is not being included in the return file

Unfortunately, we have made a mistake in one of the files we provide via the Fileset which results in UPRN (Unique Property Reference Number) being excluded from an address even where a school has validated the address to obtain the UPRN.  This does not trigger a validation issue, as UPRN remains an optional item.  However, we intend to deal with this mistake on our part via provision of Fileset 704.

Added 18th September 2017 at 17:55 – Problem with DfE validation errors 3070 and 3075 in Fileset 703

Validation errors 3070 or 3075 should only be triggered when a pupil’s country of birth or nationality, respectively, are missing or an invalid value.  However, they are both being triggered for “Slovakia”, which is incorrect. We have contacted the DfE to let them know about this anomaly in their school validation.  We can confirm that this is due to the same mistake by the DfE as they made for the previous School Census.

Added 18th September 2017 at 17:10 – Problem with DfE validation error 1852 in Fileset 703

This validation error should only be triggered when a child’s funded hours are not provided or out of the range 0 to 15 to two decimal for a child aged 2 or 3. However, it is also being triggered when a child’s funded hours are 0 for a child aged 2 or 3, which is incorrect.  We have contacted the DfE to let them know about this anomaly in their school validation.

Updated 18th September 2017 at 16:40 – Problem with validation 5240Q in Fileset 701 and 702.

Essential docs:

Preparing for the School Census (Primary)

Preparing for the School Census (Secondary)

Preparing for the School Census (Post 16)

Preparing for the School Census (Special)

Producing the Autumn Census:

Producing the School Census Autumn 2017 – (Primary)

Producing the School Census Autumn 2017 – (Secondary)

Producing the School Census Autumn 2017 – (Special)

Producing the School Census Autumn 2017 – (Pru)

Producing the School Census Autumn 2017 – (All-Through)

Errors and Validation:

Census Validation Errors and Resolutions 2017-18

Quick Reference Sheets:

Quick Reference Sheet – School Census Producing Reports

Please ensure you check the Essential Reading section of our simscrowd.net website for any last minute information on census day before you publish your census to the local authority or DfE.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0113 2105008.