Skip to Content

Category: General News

School Census Spring 2020

Census date 16-01-2020

 

Preparing for the Census Primary, Special, Nursery Schools.

Preparing for the Census Secondary Schools.

Preparing Independent census.

Producing the Census for Nursery Schools.

Producing the Census for Primary Schools.

Producing the Census for Secondary Schools.

Producing the Census for Special Schools.

Producing the Census for PRU.

Producing the Census for All Through Schools.

Producing Independent census.

Census Validation Errors Resolutions.

 

Author: Jim Haywood (Information Officer | Customer Success Team)

Updated 17/01/2020 at 15:30 Problem with reporting of permanent exclusions data (Patch 25589 available)

Currently the SIMS 7 and SIMS Primary census applications are reporting permanent exclusions data where the Exclusion Review Date is in the range 22/04/2019 to 31/12/2019 (inclusive), when it should be reporting permanent exclusions data where the Exclusion Start Date is in that range.  In many cases where Exclusion Review Date is in the said range, the Exclusion Start Date will also be in that range and vice versa.  However, it is also possible for this not to be the case, which will then lead to either that permanent exclusion being reported when it should not be or that permanent exclusion not being reported when it should be.

  • When the above problem leads to the report of a permanent exclusion when it should NOT be reported, it will be detected by DfE validation rule 2290.

  • When the above problem leads to a permanent exclusions not being reported when it should, it may be detected by DfE validation rule 2485 where the school has followed the DfE guidance regarding entering the E code to represent the permanent exclusion in Attendance.  However, where a school has one of more fixed term exclusions in the data range, validation rule 2485 could be triggered by an absence of at least one attendance E code for a fixed term exclusions.  Conversely, the presence of an E-code will stop the validation from triggering even if it is only there for a fixed term exclusion.

With the above in mind, we recommend that schools do not upload their return to COLLECT until they have applied Patch 25589 (SIMS 7) or until the hot fix has been applied (SIMS Primary) where validation error 2290 is triggered or where there is any chance that one of more permanent exclusions have not been reported in the census.

Patch 25589 is available from SOLUS 3 to deal with this issue.  In SIMS 8 the problem will be dealt with by a hot fix on Monday (20/01/2020).

Updated 17/01/2020 at 11:05 Fileset 1404 is available, but schools are very unlikely to need it

Fileset 1404 is available from SOLUS 3 and as a download from Fileset_1404

You only need to even consider importing Fileset 1404 if you are receiving Query 1849 for a pupil who is NOT aged 3 or 4.  Even if you are in that position, you might consider staying with Fileset 1403 as Query 1849 will not appear when you upload to COLLECT.  However, even if you don’t need it, there is no problem with importing Fileset 1404.

 

Added 15/01/2020 at 15:00 – Pupil/Teacher ratio for validation 1230 (Primary)

DFE validation query 1230 checks the data entered via each row of the classes panel table of the school census application.  The validation only applies to rows where Key Stage is 1 and/or YTI is R AND Activity is NOT

  • Watching TV or listening to the Radio
  • PE or Games
  • Music, Singing or Drama

The validation is triggered when the Pupil/Teacher ratio for a row is greater than 30, i.e. Number of Pupils divided by the Number of Teachers is more than 30.

For the purposes of this validation:

  • Number of Pupils is given by Pupils (On Roll) plus Pupils (Guest) minus total number of reasons given for Class Size Exceptions.
  • Number of Teachers is given by Teachers plus PPA Teachers.

We believe that this validation query is operating as expected.

Added 14/01/2020 at 15:15 – Fileset 1404

Fileset 1404 will be made available from SOLUS 3 and as a download from My Account ASAP.

This fileset provides the following changes compared to Fileset 1403.

Attendance Collection 2019 (Maintained Schools in Wales

Includes version 1920.2.5 of the WG validation and version 1920.2.4 of the WG summary report files, but these make no changes relevant to the validation and summary report for this return.

DENI Returns 2019 (Maintained Schools in Northern Ireland)

No change.

NDC 2019 (Maintained Schools in Wales)

Includes version 1920.2.5 of the WG validation and version 1920.2.4 of the WG summary report files, but these make no changes relevant to the validation and summary report for this return.

PLASC 2020 (Maintained Schools in Wales)

Includes version 1920.2.5 of the WG validation and version 1920.2.4 of the WG summary report files.  Makes significant changes to validation and the summary report.

Post-16 Returns 2019 (Maintained Schools in Wales)

Includes version 1920.2.5 of the WG validation and version 1920.2.4 of the WG summary report files, but these make no changes relevant to the validation and summary report for this return.

School Census Autumn 2019 (State Schools in England)

Includes version 1.3 of the DfE validation and summary report files, but these make no changes relevant to the validation and summary report for this return.

School Census Spring 2020 (State Schools in England)

Includes version 1.3 of the DfE validation and summary report files for school census 2019/20.  Corrects validation query 1849, but makes no changes relevant to the summary report for this return

School Workforce Census 2019 (State Schools in England)

No change.

SWAC 2019 (Maintained Schools in Wales)

Includes version 1920.2.5 of the WG validation and version 1920.2.4 of the WG summary report files, but these make no changes relevant to the validation and summary report for this return.

Welsh National Tests 2019 (Maintained Schools in Wales)

Includes version 1920.2.5 of the WG validation and version 1920.2.4 of the WG summary report files, but these make no changes relevant to the validation and summary report for this return.

Added 14/01/2020 at 10:45 Validation error 2167 (Each SEN type must be unique)

This validation rule is put in place by Fileset 1403 and checks that where two SEN Needs are reported for a pupil that they do not have the same Need Type.  The problem cannot occur where a school uses SEN Need Type Codes that are the same as the SEN Need Type Category.  However, where school have created their own SEN Need Type codes, mapping them to the ‘official’ SEN Need Type Category the problem can occur.  For example, if I create an SEN Need Type code of ‘Cannot see the blackboard’ and map it to the ‘office’ SEN Need Type Category of Vision Impairment, I will get the error if a set the first two ranking SEN Need Types to ‘Vision Impairment’ and ‘Cannot see the blackboard’.  The problem is solved by removing one of the SEN Needs that map to the same SEN Need Type Category.

Updated 14/01/2020 at 09:00 Fileset 1403 (Released)

The DfE provided its update to the validation and summary report files late in the afternoon of Thursday the 09/01/2020.  Fileset 1403 delivers these files and is available from SOLUS 3 and as a download from Here

Changes to the SIMS detail reports

  • Report criteria for the ‘Leavers – Basic Data’ report changed from ‘Leavers with exclusions (01/09/2019 – 31/12/2019)’ to ‘Leavers with exclusions (22/04/2019 – 31/12/2019).
  • Report criteria for the ‘Exclusions’ report changed from ‘Fixed term exclusions (excluding Lunchtime exclusions) starting (01/09/2019 – 31/12/2019)’ to ‘Fixed term exclusions (excluding Lunchtime exclusions) starting (22/04/2019 – 31/12/2019)’.
  • Report criteria for the ‘Exclusions’ report changed from ‘Permanent exclusions (01/09/2019 – 31/12/2019)’ to ‘Permanent exclusions (22/04/2019 – 31/12/2019)’.
  • All references to exclusion reviews removed from the ‘Exclusions’ report.

Changes to the DFE validation

  • Deletions:

2342: Review date or review result information is missing from exclusion review
2343: Exclusion review date invalid
2344: Exclusion reinstatement date invalid
2345: The exclusion review result indicates the pupil accepted reinstatement however, the reinstatement date is missing or invalid
2346: The exclusion review result indicates the pupil was not reinstated, therefore reinstatement date must not be provided
2347: The exclusion review result indicates the exclusion was upheld. However, a permanent exclusion does not exist for this pupil
2348Q: Please check: We would expect there to be exclusion review information provided for a permanent exclusion
2349: The exclusion review result indicates an independent review panel did not take place therefore, SEN expert data must not be provided
2351: The exclusion review result indicates an independent review panel took place therefore, SEN expert data must be provided

  • Updates:

1849Q: Please check: Pupil aged 3 or 4 recorded with post looked after arrangements would be expected to be in receipt of early years pupil premium with a basis for funding of …
853Q: Please check: A pupil aged 3 or 4 eligible for FSM would be expected to be in receipt of early years pupil premium with a basis for funding of …
1861: Early years pupil premium only required for pupils aged 3 and 4
2290: Exclusion start date invalid
2470: Attendance information is not required for this pupil as they are either aged less than 4, over 15 or are a boarder
2502: Please check: zero attendance sessions possible recorded for pupil on roll …
3105: The 30-hour code must be 11 digits long and contain numerical characters only
5235: 2-year-old basis for funding is missing or an invalid value for a two year old with funded hours

  • Additions:

1495: Please check: no pupils no longer on roll have been recorded
1849Q: Please check: Pupil aged 3 or 4 recorded with post looked after arrangements would be expected to be in receipt of early years pupil premium with a basis for funding of …
1862: Early years pupil premium not required for pupils aged 4 in reception or above
2167: Each SEN type must be unique
2295: Due to the appeal process the pupil should not be removed off roll on the same day they are excluded
2470: Attendance information is not required for this pupil as they are either aged less than 4, over 15 or are a boarder
2485Q: Pupil attendance indicates they are excluded but no exclusion is recorded

Although the DfE has not mentioned this in their list of changes, we have found that unwarranted instances of validation error 2550 do not occur when the latest DfE validation file is used.

Changes to the DFE summary report

  • Table 9: Pupil count column updated to just count pupils by year group rather than just those with EYPPR = Y & N so the later columns may now not match if invalid value included in EYPPR.
  • Table 13: Now supports two terms worth of exclusions (summer term as well as autumn term)
  • Table 14 onwards: Exclusion reviews removed and all subsequent tables renumbered.

Added 13/01/2020 at 14:20 Known issue with version 1.2 of the DFE validation file (to be provided by Fileset 1403)

The DFE has informed us of the following issue for DFE school validation (the problem does not exist for DFE COLLECT validation).

Query 1849 (Please check: A pupil aged 3 or 4 recorded with post looked after arrangements would be expected to be in receipt of early years pupil premium with a basis for funding of ‘RO’ or ‘RB’)

The query should not be triggered where Early Years Pupil Premium Receipt is not included, e.g. pupil aged 5 and above.

Added 10/01/2020 at 16:45 ‘Unable to generate the return file’ message for converter academies

This message will be generated where a converter academy has entered an Earliest DOA in the Establishment panel of Focus | School | School Details that is for a date when pupils could not attend the school, e.g. a school holiday.

Added 09/01/2020 at 14:50 School Census Spring 2020 Validation Workbook

This MS Excel workbook is available from Here and lists all DFE validation rules that apply for School Census Spring 2020, as to be implemented by Fileset 1403.  You can view all DfE School Census validation rules for 2019/20 by removing the filter on Spring.

At the moment this workbook does not include information on SIMS solutions for validation failures, but we intend to add this in time for School Census Summer 2020.

  • Version 0.2: Takes account of the DFE ‘2019-20 School Census Validations V1.5.xlsx’ file.

Updated 07/01/2020 at 15:05 Dealing with the DfE change of specification for exclusions and exclusion reviews

Description of the changes to the DfE specification

  1. The baselined DfE specification indicated that fixed term and permanent exclusions data is required for one term previous (autumn term 2019) only.  The revised DfE specification indicates that fixed term and permanent exclusions data is required for both one term previous AND two terms previous (summer term 2019 AND autumn term 2019).
  2. The baselined DfE specification indicated that exclusions reviews data is required for one term previous (autumn term 2019) only.  The revised DfE specification indicates that exclusions reviews data is NOT required.

Impact of the changes to the DfE specification

  1. The ‘Exclusions collect from’ field in the Census Details panel of Routines | Statutory Returns | Schools Census must display 22/04/2019 rather than 01/09/2019.
  2. The reasons for a leaver being included in the return must be extended to include those who have no other reason for being included in the return other than exclusion data for the summer term 2019.
  3. The collection of exclusions data must be extended to include the summer term 2019.
  4. The collection of exclusion reviews data must be removed.
  5. SIMS detail reports must be adjusted to indicate that exclusions for the summer term 2019 are being included.
  6. DfE validation must be adjusted to take account of exclusions being collected for the summer term 2019.
  7. DfE validation must be adjusted to take account of exclusion reviews data NOT being collected.
  8. DfE summary report must be adjusted to take account of exclusions being collected for the summer term 2019.
  9. DfE summary report must be adjusted to take account of exclusion reviews data NOT being collected.

Method to be used for implementing the changes

  1. Database patch 25529 to deal with items 1 to 4 above.
  2. Fileset 1403 to deal with items 5 to 9 above.
  3. We believe that it is important to deliver the database patch and the fileset at about the same time to avoid incompatibility and the confusion and help desk cases this would generate.

Timetable for implementing the changes

Given the lack of an ETA from the DfE regarding the provision of revised validation and summary report files, we have gone ahead with making patch 25529 available from SOLUS 3 rather than waiting for the DfE to provide the revised files.  Support units can now decide if it is best to release the patch to their schools immediately, even though it will generate return files that are not in line with the DfE validation and summary report, or to wait until the revised DfE validation and summary report files can be provided via Fileset 1403.

 

Updated 06/01/2020 at 11:25 Dealing with the DfE change of specification for exclusions and exclusion reviews

Description of the changes to the DfE specification

  1. The baselined DfE specification indicated that fixed term and permanent exclusions data is required for one term previous (autumn term 2019) only.  The revised DfE specification indicates that fixed term and permanent exclusions data is required for both one term previous AND two terms previous (summer term 2019 AND autumn term 2019).
  2. The baselined DfE specification indicated that exclusions reviews data is required for one term previous (autumn term 2019) only.  The revised DfE specification indicates that exclusions reviews data is NOT required.

Impact of the changes to the DfE specification

  1. The ‘Exclusions collect from’ field in the Census Details panel of Routines | Statutory Returns | Schools Census must display 22/04/2019 rather than 01/09/2019.
  2. The reasons for a leaver being included in the return must be extended to include those who have no other reason for being included in the return other than exclusion data for the summer term 2019.
  3. The collection of exclusions data must be extended to include the summer term 2019.
  4. The collection of exclusion reviews data must be removed.
  5. SIMS detail reports must be adjusted to indicate that exclusions for the summer term 2019 are being included.
  6. DfE validation must be adjusted to take account of exclusions being collected for the summer term 2019.
  7. DfE validation must be adjusted to take account of exclusion reviews data NOT being collected.
  8. DfE summary report must be adjusted to take account of exclusions being collected for the summer term 2019.
  9. DfE summary report must be adjusted to take account of exclusion reviews data NOT being collected.

Method to be used for implementing the changes

  1. Database patch 25529 to deal with items 1 to 4 above.
  2. Fileset 1403 to deal with items 5 to 9 above.
  3. We believe that it is important to deliver the database patch and the fileset at about the same time to avoid incompatibility and the confusion and help desk cases this would generate.

Timetable for implementing the changes

  1. We completed the creation and initial testing of the database patch before Christmas, but we will not make this available from SOLUS 3 until we can also provide Fileset 1403.
  2. Although the DfE provided suppliers with revised validation and summary report file on the 16/12/2019, the revised validation file failed our testing of Fileset 1403.  The DfE will not be able to provide a corrected validation file until after the Christmas break, so the earliest we can provide the full package via SOLUS 3 is January 2020.  Please be assures that we will provide this package of changes as soon as possible, but we cannot indicate a more precise expected data until the DfE provides acceptable files to suppliers.  We have not yet received the revised validation file from the DfE and will be contacting the DfE to request an ETA for their validation file.

Updated 20/12/2019 at 11:25 Fileset 1403

This fileset will provide the following changes for School Census Spring 2020.

Changes to the SIMS detail reports

  • Report criteria for the ‘Leavers – Basic Data’ report changed from ‘Leavers with exclusions (01/09/2019 – 31/12/2019)’ to ‘Leavers with exclusions (22/04/2019 – 31/12/2019).
  • Report criteria for the ‘Exclusions’ report changed from ‘Fixed term exclusions (excluding Lunchtime exclusions) starting (01/09/2019 – 31/12/2019)’ to ‘Fixed term exclusions (excluding Lunchtime exclusions) starting (22/04/2019 – 31/12/2019)’.
  • Report criteria for the ‘Exclusions’ report changed from ‘Permanent exclusions (01/09/2019 – 31/12/2019)’ to ‘Permanent exclusions (22/04/2019 – 31/12/2019)’.
  • All references to exclusion reviews removed from the ‘Exclusions’ report.

Changes to the DfE validation

  • Deletions:

2342: Review date or review result information is missing from exclusion review
2343: Exclusion review date invalid
2344: Exclusion reinstatement date invalid
2345: The exclusion review result indicates the pupil accepted reinstatement however, the reinstatement date is missing or invalid
2346: The exclusion review result indicates the pupil was not reinstated, therefore reinstatement date must not be provided
2347: The exclusion review result indicates the exclusion was upheld. However, a permanent exclusion does not exist for this pupil2348Q: Please check: We would expect there to be exclusion review information provided for a permanent exclusion
2349: The exclusion review result indicates an independent review panel did not take place therefore, SEN expert data must not be provided
2351: The exclusion review result indicates an independent review panel took place therefore, SEN expert data must be provided

  • Updates:

1849: Please check: Pupil aged 3 or 4 recorded with post looked after arrangements would be expected to be in receipt of early years pupil premium with a basis for funding of …
1853Q: Please check: A pupil aged 3 or 4 eligible for FSM would be expected to be in receipt of early years pupil premium with a basis for funding of …
1861: Early years pupil premium only required for pupils aged 3 and 4
1862: Early years pupil premium not required for pupils aged 4 in reception or above

Although the DfE has not mentioned this, we believe that rule 2470 (Attendance information is not required for this pupil as they are either aged less than 4, over 15 or are a boarder) has also been updated.

  • Additions:

1849Q: Please check: Pupil aged 3 or 4 recorded with post looked after arrangements would be expected to be in receipt of early years pupil premium with a basis for funding of …
2167: Each SEN type must be unique
2295: Due to the appeal process the pupil should not be removed off roll on the same day they are excluded
2485Q: Pupil attendance indicates they are excluded but no exclusion is recorded

Changes to the DfE summary report

  • Table 9: Pupil count column updated to just count pupils by year group rather than just those with EYPPR = Y & N so the later columns may now not match if invalid value included in EYPPR.
  • Table 13: Now supports two terms worth of exclusions (summer term as well as autumn term)
  • Table 14 onwards: Exclusion reviews removed and all subsequent tables renumbered.

 

Updated 06/12/2019 at 16:50 Changes compared to School Census Spring 2019

Please note my earlier mistake in describing the rules for inclusion of free school meals taken on census day when also entitled to universal infant free school meals. I have now corrected my mistake below.  A big thanks to colleagues who pointed this out to me.

All date ranges are inclusive.  I will be adding further detail in the near future.

 

Updated 04/12/2019 at 11:30 Changes compared to School Census Spring 2019

All date ranges are inclusive.  I will be adding further detail in the near future.

Census reference date

16/01/2020

The third Thursday of January 2020 rather than the third Thursday of January 2019.

DfE validation rules modified as necessary to take account of the change of census reference date.  This is particularly relevant to the validation of ‘snapshot’ data, e.g. year taught in.

Cohort for pupil level data in primary schools

All pupils on roll (enrolment status of ‘Single’, ‘Main – Dual’ or ‘Subsidiary – Dual’) on 16/01/2020 plus any pupil who left we before the 16/01/2020 who has attendance or exclusions data reported

Although an extra term of exclusion data (the autumn term) is taken account of for inclusion of leavers, that should make little, or no, difference to the number of leavers included overall, as those with exclusions to report for the autumn term are also likely to have attendance to report for the autumn term.

The DfE’s very late changes to the exclusions aspects of their specification are relevant here, which means that the above is only completely achieved in the software after the application of a database patch and series 1400 fileset (to be provided ASAP).

 

Cohort for pupil level data in secondary Schools

All pupils on roll (enrolment status of ‘Single’, ‘Main – Dual’ or ‘Subsidiary – Dual’) on 16/01/2020 plus any pupil who left we before the 16/01/2020 who has attendance, exclusions or post-16 learner support data reported

Although an extra term of exclusion data (the autumn term) is taken account of for inclusion of leavers, that should make little, or no, difference to the number of leavers included overall, as those with exclusions to report for the autumn term are also likely to have attendance to report for the autumn term.

The DfE’s very late changes to the exclusions aspects of their specification are relevant here, which means that the above is only completely achieved in the software after the application of a database patch and series 1402 fileset (to be provided ASAP).

Attendance

First working day of the schools academic 2019/20 to the 31/12/2019

Moved on by one year.

DfE validation rules modified as necessary to take account of the new academic year.

One DfE validation rule added

Query: Pupil attendance indicates they are excluded but no exclusion is recorded.  See exclusions below.

Early years

Up to 15 free funded hours for children taught in year group E1, E2, N1 or N2 who were born between 01/09/2014 and 31/08/2015.

Up to 15 free funded hours for children who were born between 01/09/2015 and 31/12/2017.

Up to 15 free extended funded hours for children taught in year group E1, E2, N1 or N2 who born between 01/09/2014 and 31/08/2015 who have a 30 hour code.

Up to 15 free extended funded hours for children who were born between 01/09/2015 and 31/12/2016 who have a 30 hour code.

Disability access fund (DAF) indicator for children taught in year group E1, E2, N1 or N2 who born between 01/09/2014 and 31/08/2015.

Disability access fund (DAF) indicator for children who were born between 01/09/2015 and 31/12/2016.

Early years pupil premium for children taught in a nursery school who were born between 01/09/2014 and 31/08/2015.

Early years pupil premium for children taught in year group E1, E2, N1 or N2 of a school other than a nursery school who were born between 01/09/2014 and 31/08/2015.

Early years pupil premium for children who were born between 01/09/2015 and 31/12/2016.

2 year old basis for funding for children who were born between 01/01/2017 and 31/12/2017

The date of birth ranges have been moved on by one year.

Free funded hours ‘capped’ at 15 hours rather than 25 hours where a 30 hour code is not present.

Exclusions data

Fixed term and permanent exclusions for 22/04/2019 to 31/12/2019

One and two terms previous rather than just one term previous.

Lunchtime exclusions no longer collected.

One SIMS pop-up validation added to warn of permanent exclusion(s) that will not be reported as final governer review result has not been entered.

DfE validation rules modified as necessary to take account of the change to the collection period.

Two DfE validation rules added (numbers not yet known)

Error: Due to the appeal process the pupil should not be removed off roll on the same day they are excluded.

Query: Pupil attendance indicates they are excluded but no exclusion is recorded.  See attendance above.

The DfE’s very late changes to the exclusions aspects of their specification are relevant here, which means that the above is only completely achieved in the software after the application of a database patch and series 1400 fileset (to be provided ASAP).

Infant classes

Number of teachers on PPA (Planning and Preparation Time) or LMT (Learning Manager Time)

Number of pupils admitted under the relevant exception category.

Two validation rules added

Validation error 1245: Number of teachers on PPA can only be returned from schools with a phase of ‘PS’ or ‘AT’, and may only be present where either Keystage equals 1 or the year group equals ‘R’

Validation error 1250: Infant class size exceptions can only be returned from schools with a phase of ‘PS’ or ‘AT’, and may only be present where either Keystage equals 1 or the year group equals ‘R’

Post-16 learner support (secondary schools only)

Post-16 pupils who have been awarded Vulnerable Group and/or Discretionary Bursary funding from 01/08/2019 to 16/01/2020

Notional start of academic year 2019/20 to School Census Spring 2020 reference date.

Collection date range moved on one year compared to School Census Spring 2019.

Updated 25/11/2019 at 18:00 Do schools still need to enter exclusion reviews data?

Even though the DfE have confirmed that they will not be collecting exclusion reviews data in the remaining two school censuses of

2019/2020

, we believe that there are two very good reasons why schools should continue to enter exclusion reviews data.

  1. Schools have a legal duty to carry out and record the review procedure for all permanent exclusions.
  2. If schools fail to record the final outcome of the review procedure for a permanent exclusion, the software will not be able to discharge schools legal duty to report on exclusions in the school census.

Although it will not be possible for the DfE to detect either of these two legal failures in their census validation, they could certainly be detected during OfSted inspections.

Added 25/11/2019 at 17:30 Confirmation from the DfE regarding changes to the collection of exclusions and exclusions reviews data

Please note the following excerpt from the DfEs second update for Autumn School Census 2019.

Collection of exclusions and exclusion reviews data

From Spring 2020 we will collect two terms’ worth of exclusion data at each census (as per current Autumn census) pending a quality review with the potential to move to just one term in arrears data after 2020/21.

Information on exclusions review data will not now be collected from Spring 2020. Because we expect schools to provide data about an exclusion only after it has been upheld by the governing body or Independent Review Panel (IRP) rather than as soon as the head teacher has excluded the pupil, analysis suggests that some permanent exclusions will not have been upheld in time for the one-term in arrears census. This will be reviewed for collection in the 2020/21 academic year.

Updated 15/11/2019 16:55 Relevant dates

All date ranges are inclusive.

Census reference date

16/01/2020

DfE notional summer term 2019

From 22/04/2019 to 31/07/2019

DfE notional autumn term 2019

From 01/08/2019 to 31/12/2019

DfE notional spring term 2020

From 01/01/2020 to 12/04/2020

Attendance

Collected from 01/08/2019 to 31/12/2019

Exclusions

Collected from 01/09/2019 22/04/2019 to 31/12/2019

Eligibility for FSM

Collected from 04/10/2019 to 16/01/2020

Learner support (bursary funding for 16-19 year olds)

Collected from 01/08/2019 to 16/01/2020

Series 1300 Filesets for SIMS Summer Release 2019

15 Jul 14:45 SIMS Newsfeed – Series 1300 Filesets for SIMS Summer Release 2019

School Census Autumn 2019 (State Schools in England)

Added 27/09/2019 at 21:25 – Fileset 1306

Fileset 1306 will be made available from SOLUS 3 and as a download from Here.

This fileset will provides the following change compared to Fileset 1305.

School Census Autumn 2019 (State Schools in England)

Deals with a mistake on our part that results in validation error 2717 for special schools.

School Workforce Census 2019 (State Schools in England)

No change.

Other

No change.

 

Updated 27/09/2019 at 18:00 – Fileset 1305

Fileset 1305 is available from SOLUS 3 and as a download from Here

This fileset provides the following changes compared to Fileset 1304.

 

School Census Autumn 2019 (State Schools in England)

No change.

School Workforce Census 2019 (State Schools in England)

No change.

Other

No change.

 

Updated 18/09/2019 at 18:10 – Fileset 1304

Fileset 1304 is available from SOLUS 3 and as a download from Here

This fileset provides the following changes compared to Fileset 1303.

Attendance Collection 2019 (Maintained Schools in Wales

No change.

DENI Returns 2019 (Maintained Schools in Northern Ireland)

No change.

NDC 2019 (Maintained Schools in Wales)

No change.

School Census Autumn 2019 (State Schools in England)

DfE baseline validation and summary report.

School Workforce Census 2019 (State Schools in England)

DfE baseline validation and summary report.

Post-16 Returns 2019 (Maintained Schools in England)

No change.

SWAC 2019 (Maintained Schools in Wales)

No change.

Other

No change.

 

Updated 01/08/2019 at 11:55 – Fileset 1302

Fileset 1302 is available from SOLUS 3. It includes the following changes compared to Fileset 1300.

School Census Autumn 2019 (State Schools in England)

Beta version of the DfE validation (Beta of the DfE summary report is not included)

School Workforce Census 2019 (State School in England)

No change.

Other

Deals with the problem caused to the Exams PI report by Fileset 1301.

 

School Census Autumn 2019 (State Schools in England)

No change

School Workforce Census 2019 (State School in England)

No change.

Other

Deals with the problem caused to the Exams PI report by Fileset 1301.

Updated 17/07/2019 at 14:50 – Fileset 1301

*** Withdrawn ***

We have received a report that importing Fileset 1301 breaks the PI Report, which will be used by many secondary schools.  We are withdrawing the fileset while we investigate.  Such a problem with Fileset 1301 could be solved by the import of a replacement fileset (1302).

Fileset 1301 is available from SOLUS 3. It includes the following changes compared to Fileset 1300, which was included with the SIMS 7 Summer Release 2019.

School Census Autumn 2019 (State Schools in England)

Beta version of the DfE validation and summary report.

School Workforce Census 2019 (State School in England)

No change.

 

School Census Autumn 2019

Census reference date 3rd October 2019

Updated20/09/2019

School_Census_Summer_2019_(England)_-_Overview-pptx

Preparing for the School Census Autumn 2019 Return English Primary, Nursery and Special phase schools.

Preparing for the School Census Autumn 2019 Return English Secondary phase schools.

Preparing Post 16 Data for the School Census Autumn 2019 Return English Schools with a Sixth Form.

Producing the School Census Autumn 2019 Return English Nursery Schools.

Producing the School Census Autumn 2019 Return English Special Schools.

Producing the School Census Autumn 2019 Return English Primary/Middle deemed Primary Schools.

Producing the School Census Autumn 2019 Return English Secondary/Middle deemed Secondary Schools.

Producing the School Census Autumn 2019 Return English All-Through Schools.

Producing the School Census Autumn 2019 Return English Pupil Referral Units.

Validation Errors and Resolutions School Census – Academic Year 2019/2020.

Added 01/10/2019 at 12:15 – Validation Error 1886/7 (previous planned hours)
The DfE has clarified its specification to indicate that planned hours for 2018/19 are required for pupils who have learning aims reported for 2018/19 but joined the school between the 05/10/2018 and the 31/07/2019.

 

You will find that these pupils are already included in our Post-16 Programme of Study application, but their learning hours will need to be added manually as our calculation as at the 04/10/2018 will indicated no hours for such pupils.

 

Added 27/09/2019 at 23:00 – Validation Error 3046 when prior attainment result is NR (Not Required)
The DfE has confirmed that validation error 3046 will trigger when it should not for a prior attainment value of NR (Not Required).  The DfE has corrected this mistake for their COLLECT validation, but will not be correcting this mistake for their school validation.

Added 27/09/2019 at 22:40 – Issue for special schools
Unfortunately, we are including the Full Time Employment tag for special schools when it should not be included for such schools.  This problem will be dealt with by Fileset 1306, which will be provided via SOLUS 3 and My Account ASAP.
Added 26/09/2019 at 17:05 – Validation of ‘previous’ prior attainment and planned hours
Please note that we have contacted the DfE regarding the following validation errors, as we believe that they are being triggered by lack of data in circumstances where the DfE specification indicates that such data should not be included.

3046 and 3047 (previous prior attainment)
1886 and 1887 (previous planned hours)

Updated 20/09/2019 at 13:50 – DfE baseline validation and summary report (Fileset 1304)
Fileset 1304 will deliver the baseline version of the DfE validation and summary report.  This baseline includes a great many improvements to the DfE validation and summary report.  Further details are available from the ‘SIMS Newsfeed – Series 1300 Filesets for SIMS Summer Release 2019’,

 

Updated 13/03/2019 14:05 Expected changes compared to 2018

Exclusions

Items collected for 2018 will also be collected for 2019, but will be collected for one and two terms previous rather than just two terms previous.  From the spring census onwards this data will be collected for just one term previous.

Lunch time exclusions will no longer be collected.

The DfE will expect the following data items to be stored by schools from the start of academic year 2019/2020 onwards, but this CANNOT be collected in School Census Autumn 2019 as this will collect exclusion data for the last two terms of academic year 2018/19 which is subject to CBDS for 2018/19 where this data was not specified.

Exclusion review date

Exclusion review result

Exclusion reinstatement date

Exclusion review SEN expert

Post 16 Planned Hours

Items collected for 2018 will also be collected for 2019.

The following items will be collected in addition to those collected for 2018

Planned learning hours (qualification hours) previous year [to enable corrections to be reported]

Planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours (non-qualification hours) previous year [to enable corrections to be reported]

Post 16 Prior Attainment

Items collected for 2018 will also be collected for 2019.

The following items will be collected in addition to those collected for 2018

Maths GCSE highest prior attainment previous year [to enable corrections to be reported]

English GCSE highest prior attainment previous year [to enable corrections to be reported]

Updated 25/01/2019 11:10 Relevant dates

All date ranges are inclusive.

Census reference date

03/10/2019

DfE notional spring term 2019

From 01/01/2019 to 21/04/2019

DfE notional summer term 2019

From 22/04/2019 to 31/07/2019

DfE notional autumn term 2019

From 01/08/2019 to 31/12/2019

Attendance

Collection from 22/04/2019 to 31/07/2019

Exclusions

Collected from 01/01/2019 to 31/08/2019

Eligibility for FSM

Collected from 17/05/2019 to 03/10/2019

Post-16 Learning Aims

Collected from 01/08/2018 to 03/10/2019

CTF 18 (England and Wales) and CME files (England only)

Items related to the CTF import contact issue are excluded from the newsfeed, as specific information for that area is available from our CTF 17/18 Contact Issue newsfeed.

 

IMPORTANT: 2019 Spring Release awareness regarding CTF imports

28/06/2019

Date 02/07/2019 13:00

Following our previous note regarding CTF imports for SIMS Spring 2019, we can confirm that a patch to address this will be available by Friday 5th July.

The patch will be included in the SIMS Summer 2019 release and will not affect those that have already applied the patch to the SIMS Spring 2019 release. The SIMS Summer 2019 release will be delayed until next week (w/c 8th June) as a result.

 

28/06/2019

We have identified a specific scenario which has affected CTF imports for a handful of schools who have taken the SIMS Spring 2019 release.

The specific scenario arises when a contact exists in SIMS and an imported CTF contains this existing SIMS contact (e.g. sibling) and a new contact with the same surname, forename and gender.  Following the CTF import the new contacts telephone number and email address are appended to the existing contact held in SIMS. The pupil associated with the new contact (in the CTF file) is also incorrectly linked to the existing contact held in SIMS.

A database patch which addresses this scenario has been developed and is currently being tested.  Testing will continue over the weekend and we will provide a further update on Monday 1 July.  Our advice is not to use the CTF mechanism to import pupil and contact details from other schools until this database patch is available and applied to SIMS.

Capita ESS apologises for any impact to our customers that may be affected.  We will keep you informed as information becomes available. 

 

Update 04/04/2019

IMPORTANT: SIMS 2019 Spring Release – CTF Incident (Update on 08 April 2019)

 

IMPORTANT: SIMS 2019 Spring Release – CTF Incident (Update on 08 April 2019)

SIMS Spring 2019 Database Patch 24836 is available via Solus and addresses a CTF issue identified with the SIMS 7 Spring 2019 Release 7.186 which has been raised by one school. Once the SIMS Spring 2019 Release is applied please also apply Patch 24836 to prevent this potential CTF issue.  For Capita Hosted SIMS 7 customers, the Spring 2019 Release was applied on 29th March and Patch 24836 is scheduled to be deployed overnight on 8th April.

If you are on the SIMS Spring 2019 Release and have since imported a CTF which included contact addresses, then please contact your usual support provider for more information.

 

IMPORTANT: 2019 Spring Release – CTF Incident (Update on 04 April 2019)

Our investigation is now complete following our communication yesterday (03 April 2019) about the CTF incident.  A patch will be available early next week for schools who have taken the Spring 2019 Release.

Once the SIMS Spring update is taken please apply this patch to ensure the potential CTF issue is addressed.  For Capita Hosted SIMS customers, the Spring release was applied on 29th March and the patch will be applied as soon as it is available.

Once again Capita ESS apologises for any concern or impact to our schools and their support partners that may have arisen from this incident.

Please see My Account if you would like specific further details on the incident or contact your local support unit.

IMPORTANT: 2019 Spring Release – When this unique CTF Incident occurs (Update on 04 April 2019)

 

If a school imports a CTF into the SIMS Spring 2019 release that contains a person with an incomplete address that is missing all of the following:

  • house name or number
  • apartment number
  • Postcode

The incomplete address details will be inserted into any learner contacts being added by the CTF file who have no address record.  In other words, incorrect partial data would be inserted into all blank addresses against new contact records.

Also incomplete address details will be inserted into SIMS where a learner contact already exists in SIMS and the same learner contact is present in the CTF, and neither have an address record.  In other words, incorrect partial data would be inserted into a blank address against an existing contact record.

“Street Name”, “Locality”, “Town” and “Region” information (i.e. partial address) would be transferred in both instances.

CTF_customer_FAQ.

 

29/03/2019 at 13:00 – LA boundary changes

As you probably know, our SIMS 7 Spring Release 2019 put in place the revised list of LAs, which includes 838 (Dorset) and 839 (Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole). From the 01/04/2019 the DfE expects these new LA numbers to be used for CTF imports and exports. In a few cases a new establishment number has also been allocated.

14/02/2019 at 12:25 – CTF versions supported

01/08/2018 to 31/07/2019 (inclusive)
File version 17

Import only

File version 18

Import and export

Updated 20/09/2018 at 10:45 – Service child concerns (England only) – Patches Available

The Summer release added a grid for Service Children Concerns to the Addition Information panel of Pupil Details to allow schools to record concerns that the current school or previous school had regarding a child with a parent serving in the Armed Forces. The Concerns are held completely separately to the Service Children in Education flag, as it is quite possible for a pupil to have been a service child in the past but for them to no longer be a service child. If a record exists indicating a concern for an earlier date, it might be sensible for a school to add a record for a later date to indicate ‘no concerns’ on that date. It might also be sensible to enter a ‘no concern record’ when a pupil is currently a service child. However, it is not advisable to add ‘no concerns’ records for pupils who are not currently and have not previously been a service child, as this might be taken to indicate that they were previous a service child with a concern.

CTF 18 was updated to include the export and import of the Service Children Concerns but unfortunately there is an issue with our CTF 18 Export routine that results in ‘no concern’ records being added to the file when the Service Children Concerns table is blank. On import these become ‘no concern’ records for pupils who may never have been service children.  Two patches are available to support units on SOLUS 3 to deal with this issue.

  1. Patch 24298 corrects the coding mistake in CTF 18 Export so that ‘no concern’ is only included in the CTF file when ‘no concern’ has been entered by the exporting school.  This patch does not change CTF 18 Import, as there is no way for the software to distinguish between ‘no concerns’ included because of our mistake and the inclusion of legitimate ‘no concerns’.
  2. Patch 24313 removes any ‘no concerns’ records that are found in SIMS where a record does not also exist indicating an actual ‘concern’.

The Service Children Concerns are not included in information sent to the DfE in the School & Pupil Census returns.

Added 04/09/2018 at 12:40 – CME files for leavers (England only)

Some schools are concerned that they forgot to use CTF functionality to provide CME (Children Missing Education) files to their LA for pupils who left the school at the end of the academic year.  Although this may well be an issue for some of the schools in this position, it is also possible that this is not an issue.  There are two possible reasons why this may not be an issue.

  1. The government legislation for CME only insists on information being provided outside of normal phase transfers and many of the pupils who left the school at the end of the year may will have been for a normal phase transfer, e.g. leaving a primary school at the end of year 6 to join a secondary school for the start of year 7.  However, some LAs will always ask for the CME leavers information as end of phase transfer can be difficult to define, e.g. LAs with tradition independent schools may have pupils transferring from prep school to pupil schools at age 14.
  2. The government legislation for CME only insist on the information being provided and CTF is just one of several ways in which such information can be provided, e.g. some LAs provide a website for entering the necessary information.

Added 03/09/2018 at 17:15 – ULN and URN

On the 1st August the CTF version moved on by one year as normal. This means that CTF Export will provide CTF 18 format files, rather than CTF 17 format files, and CTF Import will accept CTF 17 and 18 format files, rather than CTF 16 and 17 format files. The main impact of introducing the CTF 18 format files is that the school’s URN (Unique Reference Number) is mandatory, in addition to the school’s Establishment Number (LA number + school number).

We understand that the CTF files provided via S2S for adding ULN (Unique Learner Number) for learners is still in CTF 16 format, that is no longer supported for CTF Import. The DfE will be dealing with this matter shortly, but for the moment we must caution against making manual changes to the file names and content of CTF files to ‘trick’ CTF Import into accepting them, as the formats for CTF 16 and CTF 18 are not compatible.

Added 02/08/2018 at 18:00 – The CTF 17 newsfeed will be maintained beyond it normal closure date of 1st  August

As you know, for all schools that have upgraded to the SIMS 7 Summer Release 2018, CTF Export will use the format for CTF 18 instead of CTF 17 from the 1st August.  My normal procedure would be to reflect this in the My Account notification area by making the newsfeed for CTF 17 unavailable.  However, this year I will leave the newsfeed for CTF 17 available so that all items related to our problem with CTF import of contact data is kept available from a single newsfeed.

I have added a link from this newsfeed to the CTF 17 newsfeed and I have also added a link from the CTF 17 newsfeed to this newsfeed.

Added 23/03/2018 at 12:10 – Change Requests 

After the Easter break my colleagues and I will be going through the change requests logged by customers to help decide what improvements would should be making in the future.  With that in mind I recommend you view existing change requests for CTF and add votes and new items to ensure that your wishes are taking into account.  I have outlined below some the methods I have found helpful for viewing and updating the change request for CTF.

Viewing CTF Change Requests

  1. Go to the My Account home page and click on Customer Services | View Change Requests.
  2. Select ‘CTF (Excluding NI)’ as the Product and add further filters as necessary before clicking on Search.
  3. Browse the existing change request and click on any where you want to Agree or Disagree.

Adding CTF Change Requests

  1. Either click the Change Request button in View Change Requests or go the My Account home page and click on Customer Services | Log a Change Request
  2. Make sure that you select ‘CTF (Excluding NI)’ as the Product and fill in the remaining fields as necessary.
  3. If you have any particular opinion as to whether your request should be looked at for SIMS 7 only or SIMS Primary only, you should ensure that you mention this in the description of the request.  If you don’t specify SIMS 7 or SIMS Primary we will take it that you are requesting for both.

Added 22/03/2018 at 09:00 – Overview Presentation

Please note that version 1.0 of the CTF 18 Overview presentation is available as a ZIP from My Account.  Most of the content of this presentation will be relevant to England only, as the WG has decided that the new items will not apply to school in Wales.

 

SIMS FMS Spring (6.186) 2019 CFR 2018/2019

We have been made aware of a an issue relating to CFR 2018/2019 and balances appearing against B06 Community Focused School Revenue Balances since the upgrade to FMS Spring (6.186) 2019

04/04/2019

Update 4th April 2019

What is the issue?
Since the spring release of FMS6, we have been made aware that customers are experiencing an issue with the figures appearing on Tab 5 Balances against B06 Community Focused School Revenue Balances incorrectly.

How are we fixing this?

We have a solution which has completed testing and is now available on SOLUS. The solution will be able to be applied to the financial year 2018/2019 in any state being Open, Preliminary Closed or Finalised,  Note – we are assuming that a school will not be submitting a CFR file if they have an error within B06.

What is the SOLUS3 Patch Name?
Patch 24825 CFR formula patch

6 Tips To Avoid Phishing Attacks – Don’t Click On Strange Links!

1. Asking for Personal Information is a Red Flag

Few (if any) websites, banks or businesses will ask you for confidential personal information, or financial information, in an e-mail. If you receive an e-mail requesting you to supply this information, you should treat the request with suspicion.

2. Check the Sender’s E-Mail Address

The first phishing giveaway is often the sender’s e-mail address. Even if the e-mail itself looks legitimate, that address often stands out as being questionable. For example, if you receive an e-mail from Apple AAPL +0.32% and the sender’s address is AppleSupport765@hotmail.com, this is clearly not really from Apple.

3. Watch for Links and Attachments

The objective of a phishing attack is usually to get you to download an attachment or to click on a link. Use extreme caution with attachments –they can be disguised malware that will infect your PC. Don’t click links within an e-mail that you are at all suspicious of. What looks like a legitimate hyperlink can be a disguised link to a criminal website. When in doubt, hover your mouse over the text of the hyperlink (you should see the full URL, which will help to show whether it leads to a legitimate website) or better yet, open a browser window and manually type in the hyperlink yourself to prevent it being re-directed.

If you receive an e-mail from someone you know, with apparent nonsensical or out of character text, don’t click on anything. In all likelihood, their e-mail account has been hacked and all of their contacts are now targets of a spear phishing attack.

4. Typos are a Red Flag

For some reason, cyber-criminals seem reluctant to invest in copy editing. One of the easiest ways to spot an e-mail sent as part of a phishing attack is typos. Most that I receive are full of spelling errors, poor grammar and syntax, and ugly text layout.

5. When In Doubt, Contact the Supposed Sender

Sometimes the bad guys pull things together and manage to generate a spear-phishing campaign that’s really difficult to detect. The e-mail appears to come from a legitimate source, it references something that could be legitimate (like a recent purchase you made) and it’s polished and official looking. If you’re not expecting this e-mail, pick up the phone and call the originating company’s customer service, or send an e-mail directly to their customer service to verify they sent it.

6. Install Security Software and Be Smart About Passwords

As an added layer of defence, security software is never a bad idea. Some Internet security packages have a feature that automatically detects and blocks fake websites, adding a failsafe in case you accidentally click on link you shouldn’t. And it goes without saying that you should be using a unique password for each website where you are required to log in. If you’re a phishing victim, this can help to contain the damage.

If you follow these steps, you will minimize your risk of becoming a spear phishing victim. For further information on protecting yourself against phishing and spear phishing attacks, check out the NCSC’s website. And finally, here’s a shot of a phishing e-mail I received yesterday morning. I’ve circled the many giveaways and below the image is a list of why they stood out.

If however you do find yourself victim to an attack please RESET your email password.

Regards,

Connect-Up Support Team.

Pupil Premium for FYr 2019/20 (England)

Pupil Premium for FYr 2019/20 (England)

Added 15/02/2019 at 14:50 – PPG (Pupil Premium Grant) per-pupil for financial year 2019/20

Adopted from Care Premium: £2,300 per year

Deprivation Premium – Reception to Year 6: £1,320 per year

Deprivation Premium – Year 7 to 11: £935 per year

Early Years Premium: 53p per hour up to a maximum of £302.10 per year (53p up to a maximum of 570 hours per year)

LAC (Looked After Children) Premium: £2,300 per year

Service Child Premium: £300 per year

Added 14/02/2019 at 10:50 – Types of pupil premium for financial year 2019/20

The following information is based on the DfE specification for the financial year 2019/20 CSV download.

Deprivation pupil premium

This is reported in the DfE CSV download.

This is allocated to pupils on roll in the January 2019 school census or alternative provision census that are known to have been eligible for free school meals (FSM) on any pupil level census since summer 2013 (known as ‘FSM Ever 6’).

Service child pupil premium

This is reported in the DfE CSV download.

This is allocated to those pupils on roll in the January 2019 school census or alternative provision census who have been either:

  • recorded as a service child in either January 2014, January 2015, January 2016, January 2017 or January 2018; or
  • in receipt of a War Pension Scheme (WPS) or Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) pension from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as a result of injury, illness or death caused by service

Adopted from care pupil premium (also referred to as Post LAC pupil premium)

This is reported in the general DfE CSV downloads, but is not reported via the CSV files generated by the DfE search facility, as this pupil data is not intended to be passed between schools.

This allocated to pupils on roll in the January 2019 school census or alternative provision census who are recorded in January 2019 as either adopted from care or ceased to be looked after through a child arrangement order, special guardianship order or residence order.

Looked after children pupil premium

This is reported in the DfE CSV download where the pupil would have attracted one or more of the other pupil premiums.  It can be more accurately reported in the second general download than the first.

This allocated to children who have been recorded on the local authority SSDA903 return as looked after for 1 day or more between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019. This excludes children whose only episode(s) of care during the year was as a result of respite, or were on remand/committed for trial or sentence and accommodated by the local authority.

Due to the FSM and service child ever aspects used to allocate elements of the pupil premium, it is possible that some schools and local authorities may not know the identity of all the children for which they are being funded. For this reason the download was introduced to help schools and local authorities identify which of their pupils are eligible for pupil premium funding.

Further information on the pupil premium is available here (a link to a GOV.UK page).

Early years pupil premium (EYPP)

This is NOT reported in the DfE CSV download.

The early years pupil premium (EYPP) was introduced in April 2015 to allocate extra funding to providers of early years education to support disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds.

EYPP participation data is collected from early years providers via the school census, early years census and alternative provision census to allocate the EYPP. However as the funding is allocated directly to local authorities based on the data returned via the January census (meaning providers will be able to identify all of their eligible pupils from the data they have provided to the department), and as the eligibility, payment and distribution methodology is different from the school-age pupil premium, we will not be including details of children eligible for the EYPP in the pupil premium download.

Further information on the early years pupil premium is available here (a link to a GOV.UK page).

Added 13/02/2019 at 11:05 – Report definition files

Two versions of the report definition file for DfE FSM Ever 6 at Spring Census 2019 are available from My Account.  Please select the one(s) suitable for your school phase.

The file should be extracted from the ZIP before being imported via Reports | Import.

Spring Census 2019 Update

Spring Census Day 17th January 2019.

Information and documentation.

Preparing for the school census Primary, Nursery & Special Schools

Preparing for the census Secondary Schools.

Preparing for the census Independent

Producing the School Census All Through schools.

Producing the School Census Return (English Primary and Middle deemed Primary Schools)

Producing the School Census Secondary Schools.

Producing the School Census Special School.

Producing the School Census PRU.

Producing the School Independent.

Producing the School Level Annual School Census 2019.

Census 2019 Validation Errors Resolutions

Added 24/01/2019 at 12:30 – DOA and DOL should not be during school holidays

As many of you know, giving pupils dates of admissions and/or dates of leaving during school holidays is very likely to trigger validation failures.  I have asked the DfE about this and they have confirmed that both dates of admissions and dates of leaving should be dates when the pupil could attend.

With the above, we recommend that dates of admission and dates of leaving should not be during school holidays or on staff INSET days. 

Perhaps the most important implication is that setting the leaving date for pupils to the 31st August is very inadvisable and will almost certainly trigger validation failures.

Added 18/01/2019 at 15:15 – DfE Validation Error 1000 (Pupil reconciliation does not match number of pupils on roll)

Where this validation error occurs in a secondary school because there are more students in classes than on roll, one possible explanation is that one or more students have been timetabled for different classes for the chosen census period.  Such clashes can be identified via running School | Academic Structure | Curriculum Assignment by Students and searching with Acad Status set to ‘Timetable Unresolved Clash(es)’.

Added 18/01/2019 at 11:25 – Possible misalignment of Enrolment Status and ‘history of Enrolment Status changes’

We are able to confirm that the census information being submitted to the DfE is correct.

There are a small number of instances where the front end may not reflect what is saved in the underlying database. However when a school checks the detailed history (drawn from the underlying database) this is always correct and reflects any changes made by a school/user of SIMS. Information collected for Census is obtained from the underlying database and therefore only correct information will have been/are being submitted to the DfE.

Updated 18/01/2019 at 08:30 – Spring Returns 2019 Consolidate Patch

New for version 3 (ID 24592) – Available from SOLUS 3

CES Census 2019 (Catholic Schools in England and Wales)

No further changes, but was changed by version 1 (see below).

PLASC 2019 (Maintained Schools in Wales)

No changes.

School Census Spring 2019 (State Schools in England)

Important message

If Consolidate Patch 2 has not already been applied by all schools that are subject to School Census Spring 2019, then patch 3 must be applied instead.  Please see description of Patch 2 for further details.

Additional improvement

Now displays the corrected attendance range start date for schools with more than 3 terms a year.  This was a display issue only, as attendance is included in the census for the correct dates regardless of the display issue.  We deemed the correction necessary as some schools were unwilling to go ahead with providing the return file to the DfE while this confusion in the display was present.

SLASC 2019 (Independent Schools in England)

No changes.

ISC 2019 (Independent Schools Council)

No changes

Added 17/01/2019 at 15:25 – Validation Errors and Resolutions publication

You can click here to download this publication.

Errata

Validation query 1853

This query ask schools to check that when a pupil aged 3 or 4 is eligible for early years pupil premium and is recorded as FSM on census has a reason other than ‘RE (Receipt – economic)’ or ‘RB (Receipt – economic and other)’.

Our publication suggests:-

Select Tools | Statutory Returns | School Census – Early Years Pupil Premium Receipt panel. Ensure that the correct value is selected from the Basis for EYPP Eligibility drop-down list.

When it should suggest:-

Select Routines | Statutory Returns | School Census – Early Years Pupil Premium Receipt table in Early Years panel. Ensure that the correct value is selected from the Basis for EYPP Eligibility drop-down list.

Added 17/01/2019 at 11:15 – Validation Query 564Q (concerning pirmary admissions appeals)

Some customers have been concerned with regarding receiving the message “Please check: Primary admission appeals figures should be provided and are expected to be greater than zero” when they are in the good position where there have been no primary appeals regarding admissions. The DfE have kindly responded to this concern expressed on our forums.

Melanie Armstrong (DfE)

If the school did not have any appeals they are correct to recorded ‘0’ not blank. This validation was introduced in previous years due to unreporting of admission appeals. Therefore it is correct that if they recorded ‘0’ admission appeals the query will trigger and if this is the case they just need to confirm this in the notepad.

 

Added 16/01/2019 at 11:50 – Exams Embargo

Please note that we are investigating reports that the use of ‘Exams Embargo’ is preventing access to the School Census Spring 2019 application.  I will provide an update ASAP.

Update 11/01/2019 at 18:30 – Consolidated patch 2:  Required to resolve an issue relating to School Census Spring 2019.

Important message

The Consolidate Patch 2 (patch number 24579) must be applied by all schools that are subject to School Census Spring 2019.
Once the patch has been applied schools can be confident that any data entered for the following areas are retained.

  1. Top Up Funding (all school phases)
  2. Post Looked After Arrangements (all school phases)
  3. Update Early Years (primary phase only)
  4. Class Type (primary and all through phases only)
  5. Time in Unit (PRU phase only)

This patch has been made available via SOLUS 3. The patch has also been applied for all Capita Hosted schools.

Background Information

When School Census Spring 2019 is worked on for the first time and the return is not saved prior to running Calculate All Details, data entered in the 5 areas above, via the census application or previously entered directly using Tools | Statutory Returns Tools, will not be retained on save.

In some cases, the data can be restored by accepting the option provided to copy the data from the previous census. We apologise for any re-entry of data caused by this issue.

The Consolidate Patch 2 will prevent the issue occurring so it must be applied by all schools that are subject to School Census Spring 2019.

Please note: On some of our forums this issue has been linked with our filesets. For clarification, there is no link to filesets.

Why has the problem occurred?

To meet GDPR requirements, in the Autumn Release 2018, the Save routine within census, was modified to remove data that was no longer relevant. For example, historical Top Up Funding data. Unfortunately, there is a bug in our modification of the Save routine which means that the data removal includes the data for the current census return as well as the historical data.

 

 

Updated 09/01/2019 at 15:45 – Early Years, Top-up Funding and Post Looked After Arrangements data not being reported in the Census

Please note that we are investigating reports that under certain circumstances the said data is not be reported in the Census application.

Our investigations to date indicate that the problem for Top-up Funding and Post Looked After Arrangements can be avoided and rectified without loss of data that has been entered, but we are not yet sure that this is the case for the Early Years data.

At this point, our advice for entry of Early Years data is not to spend any further time on entering such data until we have had time for further investigation.

 

Update 09/01/2019 at 11:45 – Fileset for base release of the DfE’s validation and summary report

The DfE provided suppliers with the base release of its validation and summary report (version 1.2) just before Christmas.  We have included these files in fileset 1102.  We are sorry that this base release was not available to schools until the week before the Census and we will be discussing with the DfE how such late provision can be avoided in future.

Fileset 1102 is now available from SOLUS

Added 08/01/2019 at 15:20- Fileset 1102 released to schools via Solus 3 or click here for the manual update

 

Added 03/01/2019 at 15:20 – Fileset for base release of the DfE’s validation and summary report

The DfE provided suppliers with the base release of its validation and summary report (version 1.2) just before Christmas. We will be including these files in fileset 1102, which we expect to be able to make available by the middle of next week (week beginning 07/01/2019). We are sorry that this base release will not be available to schools until the week before the Census and we will be discussing with the DfE how such late provision can be avoided in future.

We expect to be able to provide a list of the DfE changes in the near future.

 

Added 18/12/2018 at 17:30 – Validation errors 2470 (4 year olds) and 2500 (15 year olds)

Please note that although the DfE has not acknowledge any change to the coding of these two age related validation errors, we can confirm that the DfE has corrected its coding of these validation rules in its base release of the validation.  This means that validation error 2470 will no longer appear for all four year olds and validation error 2500 will no longer appear for all 15 year olds.

We are continuing to investigate the changes made for the base release of the DfE validation and will provide full details ASAP.

We are planning to include this base release of the DfE validation in fileset 1102.  Unfortunately, fileset 1102 will also need to include the base release of the DfE summary report and as this has not yet been provided to suppliers we can only state that we expect to be able to provide fileset 1102 at some point in early January.

 

Updated 21/11/2018 at 16:25 – Fileset for first Beta of the DfE’s validation and summary report

We have made the DfE’s first Beta of their validation and summary report available from SOLUS 3 and from My Account.  Please see ‘SIMS Newsfeed – Series 1101 Filesets for SIMS Autumn Release 2018’ for further details and for the link in My Account for downloading the fileset.

Since we created this fileset the DfE has made a second Beta available and we are looking into whether or not we will provide this in a subsequent fileset or wait for the baselined release from the DfE, which is due in December.

 

CTF 17 (England and Wales) and CME files (England only)

Author: Jim Haywood (Capita ESS)

You can ensure that you are using the latest resources that we have provided to help with this issue by referencing the CTF 17/18 Import Contact Issue Key Documents Hot Topic.

Added 26/09/2018 18:00 – SQL Script and SIMS SQL Database Diagnostic Tool to identify last CTF import/export dates and which users have acknowledged the CTF splash screen

The following SQL database script can be run against a SIMS database to identify which users have ticked the CTF incident informational splash screen (please see the below screen print).

The SQL script should be executed at the database management system (DBMS) layer as it is not a part of the SIMS application.

The output will identify the last CTF import and export dates as well as which user has acknowledged the CTF splash screen. Please see the below example.

 

Alternatively the Diagnostic_tool_and_Diagnostic_Script can be employed to generate the same output. Please follow these instructions when using the tool.

 

Added 20/09/2018 at 09:10 – Run (or re-run) Database Diagnostics after applying the Workstation Patch

It is important to run Tools | System Diagnostics | Database Diagnostics  after applying the Workstation Patch as indicated in Step 2 (of the 4 step process) described in the CTF Issue document.  This is true even if Database Diagnostics has been run previously.  Check 99 is improved by the Workstation Patch and is likely to report a slightly wider range of possible issues to check and improved information to dealing with the possible issues.  You will find that much of the advice that help desks are able to offer will be contingent on Database Diagnostics having been run after application of the Workstation Patch.

Added 17 September 2018 at 16:19 – CTF Import of ULNs

We understand that CTF files for Pupil ULNs are now available from S2S in the correct 2018 format.  Using CTF Import to import CTF files for Pupil ULNs has no significance to the CTF Import contact issue, except that school will need to have indicated that they have complete dealing with the CTF Import contact issue before import of CTF files is available from SIMS.

Updated 11/09/2018 at 16:30 – Detailed step by step presentation of the main aspects of dealing with the contact data issue (Version 5.0)

This PowerPoint presentation is available from our Row 03 of the CTF Key Documents Hot Topic.

Important Note

This presentation illustrates how Excel can be used to view a CSV file created from the output for check 99 in Database Diagnostics. This is made available via the application of the workstation patch for either the SIMS Spring Release 2018 or the SIMS Summer Release 2018.

We ask that all schools makes use of this latest check 99 to ensure that all issues created by the incident are identified so that they can be addressed.

Added 07/09/2018 at 17:30 – New Data Collection Sheet (Contacts Only)

A restricted version of the Data Collection sheet for student contacts only has been created in response to customer requests. This Data Collection sheet will populate with basic student details and then provide blank spaces for parental/emergency contact information. This report is helpful if schools wish to provide a simple form for parents to complete to gather or check emergency contact information.

The report needs to be imported into SIMS via Reports | Import – Data Collection (Contacts Only).rptdef. Once imported, you can access the report via Reports | Run Reports | Student to produce for multiple students, or via the Reports link within the student record for an individual pupil.

For Capita Hosted SIMS schools the report will be imported for you by COP Tuesday 11th September.

This report definition file is available from the CTF 17/18 Import Contact Issue Key Documents Hot Topic.

Added 06/09/2018 at 13:05 – Reminder: Informing local authorities and third party partners

Where schools provide information to local authorities, schools should inform their local authority once their SIMS data has been corrected (or inform their local authority that their school(s) was not impacted).  It is also advised that schools inform any third-party partners which may use their SIMS data.

Added 05/09/2018 at 15:00 – Administrative access to Options Online

Please note that administrative access is now available for options online where verification against the CTF incident is still outstanding.  This provides suitable access to carry out the administrative tasks that are necessary at this time of the year.  Full access is resumed once your school indicates that the contact data involved with CTF Import incident has been checked and (where appropriate) remedial action taken.

Added 05/09/2018 at 13:20 – CTF Key Document Hot Topic

We have ‘pinned’ a CTF Key Document Hot Topic to the top of the Hot Topic panel in My Account to help schools with the CTF 17/18 contact incident.  This will stay in place while schools are dealing with this incident and we will ensure that it provides links to the most current versions of the key documents.

Updated 04/09/2018 at 15:40 – Answers to questions posed on the forum (Version 4.0)

Click here to download a PDF document that answers questioned posed on the CTF 17/18 Import Contact Issue forum thread.  This is our fourth version of this document and can be taken to be our view on the 04/09/2018.  We intend to update the document as necessary in the future.  All answers will make it clear as to what date we had the view expressed.

Added 04/09/2018 at 09:35 – ULN and URN are not part of the CTF Import Contact Issue

On the 1st August the CTF version moved on by one year as normal. This means that CTF Export will provide CTF 18 format files, rather than CTF 17 format files, and CTF Import will accept CTF 17 and 18 format files, rather than CTF 16 and 17 format files. The main impact of introducing the CTF 18 format files is that the school’s URN (Unique Reference Number) is mandatory, in addition to the school’s Establishment Number (LA number + school number).

We understand that the CTF files provided via S2S for adding the ULN (Unique Learner Number) for learners is still in CTF 16 format. This format is no longer supported for CTF Import. The DfE will be dealing with this matter shortly, but for the moment we must caution against making manual changes to the file names and content of CTF files to ‘trick’ CTF Import into accepting them, as the formats for CTF 16 and CTF 18 are not compatible.

Please see the normal ‘SIMS Newsfeed – CTF 18’ for any further updates in this area.

Updated 30/08/2018 at 14:10 – Presentation of using MS Excel to view the Check 99 report  (Version 4.0)

This PowerPoint presentation is available from a ZIP Click the Link  CTF_Import_-_Using_Excel_to_view_the_revised_Check_99_report_pptx.

Important Note

This presentation illustrates how Excel can be used to view a CSV file created from the output for check 99 in Database Diagnostics. This is made available via the application of the workstation patch for either the SIMS Spring Release 2018 or the SIMS Summer Release 2018 (intended release on 17th August 2018). Application of either of these patches provide improvements to the original check 99.

We ask that all schools makes use of this latest check 99 to ensure that all issues created by the incident are identified so that they can be addressed.

Version 3.1

Filenames changed so the that they are the same a those used in the latest ‘How to ..’ document.

Scenarios added to the end of the presentation in line with the latest ‘How to ..’ document.

Version 4.0

Section added at the start to describe the mechanics of copying output from Check 99 to a CSV file ready for opening as a spreadsheet.

 

Added 29/08/2018 16:05 – ‘How to Identify …’ document for Capita hosted SIMS 7 customers

Please note that a variant of our ‘ How to Identify and Correct Data Impacted by the CTF Import Incident’ document, for use by Capita hosted SIMS 7 customers, is available from here.

 

Updated 23/08/2018 11:50 – Screenshots after application of the workstation patch

*** The version number is shown in the footer for each page of the document. ***

A PDF document with screenshots captured from SIMS after the workstation patch has been applied is now Resource ID 6503.

Version 2.0: Filename changed to CTF_-_Screenshots.pdf and version number added to footer.

Version 3.0: Further explanation added.

 

Added 21/08/2018 at 18:25 – Answers to questions posed on the forum

CTF Forum QA

A document that answers questioned posed on the CTF 17/18 Import Contact Issue forum thread.  This is our first version of this document and can be taken to be our view on the 21/08/2018.  We intend to update the document as necessary in the future.  All answers will make it clear as to what date we had the view expressed.

Added 17/08/2018 at 13:30 – Improvements to the contact data check in Database Diagnostics (Check 99)

We have released a new workstation patch today following a recent investigation to ensure all potential defect scenarios are captured.

It is important the new workstation patch released today on Friday 17th August 2018 is deployed per school so that both the new diagnostics and corrected CTF logic is in place. Depending on the current SIMS release version the following workstation patch must be applied:

Spring 2018 workstation patch 1 – CTF Import & Check 99 Improvements.
Summer 2018 workstation patch 1 – CTF Import & Check 99 Improvements.

Capita hosted SIMS customers are already on the SIMS 2018 Summer Release (7.182) and therefore the “Summer 2018 workstation patch 1” will be applied on Friday 17th August 2018 outside of working hours.

Does the workstation patch need to be applied?

If your school does not use the CTF process the school will not be impacted (this can be checked in SIMS CTF log, from Routines | CTF Import | View History Log). The school will not need to take any further action.

In all other instances the workstation patch should be applied.

Next steps

Once the correct workstation patch has been applied the new diagnostics within the patch must be run and remedial action taken. Please READ HERE for a detailed description this.

Please note: Even if you have previously cleaned the incorrect contact merge data (based on advice received in July), this patch will identify potentially more incorrect contact information which needs to be addressed (i.e. contacts not at the same address).

Access to the new diagnostic script for Support Units

We have purposefully not provided access to the new diagnostic script by default to Support Units. This is to ensure the new workstation patch (above) has been applied first. Once the new patch has been applied you can request access to the script from Capita SIMS Service Desk.

Existing Modules

Several SIMS modules access and use contact information from SIMS. We therefore have taken the proactive precautionary step for impacted SIMS modules as previously published (see also a summary below).

SIMS Product Product Functionality Suspended Product Functionality Still Available
Online Services
SIMS Parent Calendar | Access to Child’s Dashboard

(attendance, behaviour &

achievement, assessment, timetable,

reports, homework and the data

collection) | Message generation |

Homework

School Detail | School term dates
SIMS Parent Lite Access to Child’s Data Collection School Detail | School term dates
SIMS Activities All areas No functionality, i.e. switched off
SIMS Student All areas No functionality, i.e. switched off
SIMS Options All areas No functionality, i.e. switched off
Other modules
SIMS Agora All areas No functionality, i.e. switched off

 

From Monday 20th August schools will be able to directly reactivate SIMS Online Services and Agora from their respective administration sites and therefore easily reinstate product functionality. Schools will be asked first whether they have completed the data clean-up and will need to acknowledge they are happy to reactivate the service.

Schools should only use InTouch (SIMS text an email module) for generic communications to parents and contacts. Any communication which contains specific pupil information should not be sent until the schools are confident they have validated their student contact data.

Splash screen

New splash screen notifications with acceptance buttons has been included in the SIMS7 workstation patch to ensure all schools are aware of the incident and have taken the necessary action to address potentially incorrect data.

The splash screen references this document for background information and guidance on how to undertake the necessary remedial action.

Additional questions

If you have any questions about the content of this communication or would like additional detail, please contact the Capita SIMS Service Desk.

Added 17/08/2018 at 12:45 – Presentation of using MS Excel to view the Check 99 report

This PowerPoint presentation is available from a ZIP  RESOURCEID-1-6464.

Important Note

This presentation illustrates how Excel can be used to view a CSV file created from the output for check 99 in Database Diagnostics. This is made available via the application of the workstation patch for either the SIMS Spring Release 2018 or the SIMS Summer Release 2018 (intended release on 17th August 2018). Application of either of these patches provide improvements to the original check 99.

We ask that all schools makes use of this latest check 99 to ensure that all issues created by the incident are identified so that they can be addressed.

Version 3.1

Filenames changed so the that they are the same a those used in the latest ‘How to ..’ document.

Scenarios added to the end of the presentation in line with the latest ‘How to ..’ document.

Updated 15/08/2018 at 19:45 – Improvements to the contact data check in Database Diagnostics (Check 99)

The improved version of Database Diagnostic Check 99 includes:

  1. A more focused search eliminating some of the near duplicate lines (i.e. less to focus upon).
  2. Improved formatting and simpler column headings.
  3. Further identification of the applicant/pupils details that are linked to contacts (i.e. inclusion of unique pupil number).
  4. The list of checks displayed at the end of the diagnostic process will now display “Check 99” in black text were no issues have been found and in red text where one or more issues have been found. This brings Check 99 into line with the other diagnostic checks.

NEW FEATURE: The diagnostic check now includes contacts where the applicant/pupil has a different address to that of the contact (such as social workers/divorced parents).

When our consolidated patches are available, schools should apply patch 24203 where the Spring Release 2018 is in use, or patch 24212 where the Summer Release 2018 is in use.

NB: We will be taking a slightly different approach to delivering the changes outlined above and it is now our intention to release on Friday 17th August a new patch and associated guide for the SIMS Spring and Summer releases. This is subject to the satisfactory completion of our testing and UAT processes.

 

Added 14/08/2018 at 14:30 – CTF matching incident – Precautionary measures for SIMS Modules using contact data.

Several SIMS modules access and use contact information from SIMS which may have been impacted by the CTF incident.  We have therefore taken the proactive precautionary step for SIMS modules as below:

SIMS Product Product Functionality Suspended Product Functionality Still Available
Online Services
SIMS Parent Calendar | Access to Child’s Dashboard

(attendance, behaviour &

achievement, assessment, timetable,

reports, homework and the data

collection) | Message generation |

Homework

School Detail | School term dates
SIMS Parent Lite Access to Child’s Data Collection School Detail | School term dates
SIMS Activities All areas No functionality, i.e. switched off
SIMS Student All areas No functionality, i.e. switched off
SIMS Options All areas No functionality, i.e. switched off
Other modules
SIMS Agora All areas No functionality, i.e. switched off

 

Consolidated patches

It is our intention to release on Friday 17th August a new patch and associated guide for the SIMS Spring and Summer releases. This is subject to the satisfactory completion of our testing and UAT processes. This patch will need to be applied by all customers. Capita hosted SIMS customers will be updated out of hours on the day of release.

This patch will update the diagnostics tool (covering incorrect links for contacts who did not live at the same address as the pupil, for example social worker/divorced parents) and ensure the CTF import is working as expected.
This new patch must be applied, diagnostics undertaken, and manual fixes completed before the SIMS Modules can be reactivated.

Reactivation of SIMS modules

Following the release of the consolidated patch schools will be able to reactivate directly their SIMS Online Services listed above through the Product Admin Site (https://admin.sims.co.uk). Schools will be asked first whether they have completed the data clean-up and will need to acknowledge they are happy to reactivate their service.
Similarly, schools will be able to reactivate Agora through its admin site (https://www.simsagora.co.uk).

Advice on messaging

Schools should only use InTouch (SIMS text and email module) for generic communications to parents and contacts. Any communication which contains specific pupil information should not be sent until the schools are confident they have validated their pupils’ contact data.

Next steps and additional questions

Further communications will be provided when the patch is available for release or additional guidance need to be given.

Added 07/08/2018 at 08:40 – Improvements to the contact data check in Database Diagnostics (Check 99)

The improved version of Database Diagnostic Check 99 includes:

  1. A more focused search eliminating some of the near duplicate lines (i.e. less to focus upon).
  2. Improved formatting and simpler column headings.
  3. Further identification of the applicant/pupils details that are linked to contacts (i.e. inclusion of unique pupil number).
  4. The list of checks displayed at the end of the diagnostic process will now display “Check 99” in black text were no issues have been found and in red text where one or more issues have been found. This brings Check 99 into line with the other diagnostic checks.

NEW FEATURE: The diagnostic check now includes contacts where the applicant/pupil has a different address to that of the contact (such as social workers/divorced parents).

We expect to be able to make this improved version of Check 99 available at the close of business on Wednesday the 8th August via two consolidated patches. Consolidated patch 24203 should be applied by schools who are using our Spring Release 2018, while consolidated patch 24212 should be applied by schools who are using our Summer Release 2018.

Added 02/08/2018 at 18:10 – This CTF 17 newsfeed will be maintained beyond it normal closure date of 1st  August

As you know, for all schools that have upgraded to the SIMS 7 Summer Release 2018, CTF Export uses the format for CTF 18 instead of CTF 17 from the 1st August.  My normal procedure would be to reflect this in the My Account notification area by making the newsfeed for CTF 17 unavailable.  However, this year I will leave this newsfeed for CTF 17 available so that all items related to our problem with CTF import of contact data is kept available from a single newsfeed.

I have added a link from this newsfeed to the CTF 18 newsfeed and I have also added a link from the CTF 18 newsfeed to this newsfeed.

Updated 23/07/2018 at 17:40 – Reduced scope variant of Database Diagnostic check 99

Check 99 (and its counterpart for DbDiagnose EXE) is very thorough in that it will report on problems with contacts for applicants even when those applicants are also enrolled as pupils at the school. We believe that this approach is in line with quite a strict interpretation of data protection regulations, but we understand that at this stage some schools and support units would appreciate the option of being able to use a variant of check 99 (and its counterpart for DbDiagnose EXE) where issues that relate to applicants that are also enrolments pupils are excluded from the scope of the check.

With the above in mind, we are looking into providing a reduced scope variant of check 99 (and its counterpart for DbDiagnose EXE). If we decide to go ahead, the change for Database Diagnose would be provide via a database patch (which would be made available from SOLUS) and the change for DbDiagnose EXE would be provided via a script (Please contact us or click here).

We expect this ‘variant’ to only be of interest to a minority of schools and, with that in mind, the full scope of check 99 will be adopted for the Autumn Release 2018.

Updated 20/07/2018 at 17:40 – Issues with CTF Import

A detailed FAQ document covering the recent CTF Import issues experienced by some of our customers has been made available from – UPDATED SSUs – How to Identify and Correct Data Impacted by the CTF Import Incident–  this will address your questions and provide clear guidance on next steps.

Thank you for your patience.

Added 18/07/2018 at 11:45 – Clarification regarding overwriting of contact address

Please note that from the SIMS 7 Summer Release 2018 onwards CTF Import cannot replace an existing contact address with an address from the CTF file.  The only circumstances where the contact address in a CTF file will be written to a school’s system is where the contact did not previously exist in the school’s system or where the relevant contact in the school’s system does not already have an address.

Updated 17/07/2018 at 23:25 – Patch 24157 for contact linking and address problem

Please note that patch 24157 has been uploaded to SOLUS and made available to support units for application on systems at the Autumn Release and those upgraded to the Summer Release.  The patch adds check 99 toTools | System Diagnostics | Database Diagnostics to identify definite and likely problems with a school’s contacts and contacts addresses that are likely to have been caused by our contact/address bug.  The reporting of check 99 in Database Diagnostics uses the same basic structure as we have used for the DbDiagnose script and this DbDiagnose script has also been updated (version 4) on CTFContactAddressDiagnoseScriptAndInstructions so that it is line with check 99.

Normally, it is only checks that fail that Database Diagnostics displays in red, but this is not the case for check 99, as this is shown in red even if the check has passed in all cases.  Unfortunately, this is the ‘price we pay’ for the reporting of check 99 being suitable for copying to a spreadsheet.  Where no lines are reported for check 99 failures, we still produce a header line for use with a spreadsheet and Database Diagnostics takes the header line to be an indication of a fail.  We understand that this may cause some confusion, but we believe the approach to be justified in that any school with a significant number of check 99 failures will want to copy the data to a spreadsheet.

A PowerPoint presentation to help with the use of the report from DbDiagnose EXE and with the use of the new check 99 reporting in Database Diagnostics is available from Solus 3

Updated 16/07/2018 at 14:15 – The way forward for the contact linking and address problem

Although patch 24040 has caused some further problems for some of the very small number of schools who applied the patch, it has illustrated the risk involved in attempting to fix data which could have been damaged some months ago and therefore subject to any number of changes since then. With that in mind we now plan to provide as much help as possible for schools to detect the problems, so that they can deal with their data problem using their own knowledge and judgement.

With the above in mind we will be modifying the current script for the DbDiagnose application (which is run outside of SIMS .net) to provide a more focussed view of the contact/address issues that have resulted from our bug in CTF Import to an admission group. Once we are happy with this script, we will convert the logic into a SQL patch to add the check to the SIMS .net route Tools | System Diagnostics | Database Diagnostics. Providing the data check via a SIMS .net route will make the checking more accessible to schools and particularly schools with limited access to direct technical support.

Patch 24157 will add check 99 to Database Diagnostics to identify definite and likely problems with a schools contacts and contacts addresses that are likely to have been caused by our contact/address bug.  This patch is in the final stages of testing and we expect to be able to make it available in the near future.

I would like to apologise for the original bug in our software that triggered the data problem and the amount of time it is taking us to provide an acceptable solution.

Added 11/07/2018 at 15:20 – The way forward for the contact linking and address problem

Although patch 24040 has caused some further problems for some of the very small number of schools who applied the patch, it has illustrated the risk involved in attempting to fix data which could have been damaged some months ago and therefore subject to any number of changes since then. With that in mind we now plan to provide as much help as possible for schools to detect the problems, so that they can deal with their data problem using their own knowledge and judgement.

With the above in mind we will be modifying the current script for the DbDiagnose application (which is run outside of SIMS .net) to provide a more focussed view of the contact/address issues that have resulted from our bug in CTF Import to an admission group. Once we are happy with this script, we will convert the logic into a SQL patch to add the check to the SIMS .net route Tools | System Diagnostics | Database Diagnostics. Providing the data check via a SIMS .net route will make the checking more accessible to schools and particularly schools with limited access to direct technical support.

I would like to apologise for the original bug in our software that triggered the data problem and the amount of time it is taking us to provide an acceptable solution.

Updated 11/07/2018 at 11:45 – Patch 24040 withdrawn

I am very sorry to have to report that patch 24040 has been withdrawn.  A customer case has revealed a situation where the patch can assign incorrect addresses for a contact.  Dealing with this issue is our highest priority.

Our initial investigation of the issue with the patch suggests that the problem is confined to situations where schools have attempted to deal with the contact/address problem ‘manually’ before applying the patch.  For example, the patch may malfunction where a school deleted data and then re-ran the CTF Import before applying the patch.

We understand that application of the patch has made the changes proposed by the diagnose script, so schools that did not agree with the changes proposed by the diagnose script will not have applied the patch.

As you would expect, it is safe to continue to use the contact/address script, but the indication of where a data fixing patch should be applied may not be accurate.

Added 10/07/2018 at 17:20 – Possible problem when downloading CTF files from websites

We understand that some schools are having problems when importing assessment CTF files that were downloaded from a government website.  Our investigations indicate that the problem is caused by the CTF filename being ‘corrupted’ on download.  When a file of the same name already exists in an internet browser’s download folder the browser often adds something to the end of the filename to differentiate the files, e.g. (1) or ~1.  The spurious characters at the end of the CTF filename will need to be removed for a successful import into SIMS.

Updated 10/07/2018 at 16:00 – Contact Linking & Contact Address Problem

Apology

  • As many of you will know, there was a problem with a contact matching in CTF Import to an admission group provided by our SIMS 7 Autumn 2017 and Spring 2018 releases that could result in new pre-admission pupils being linked to the wrong contact and can also result in contacts being allocated incorrect addresses.  Please accept my apology for this mistake in our software.

Description of Problem

  • The SIMS 7 Autumn Release 2017 included a patch for CTF Import that has a serious issue where CTF Import is used for adding pupils to an admission group.

First aspect of the problem

  • On import, the software uses a matching routine to check if any of the pupils to be imported have contacts that already exist in SIMS and, where this is the case, links that contact to the pupil and updates the contacts address as necessary.
  • Unfortunately, several aspects of the matching routine where accidentally removed so that the matching routine only checks for matching names and gender.
  • The net result is that existing contacts can be given the wrong address and the imported pupil in the admission group can be linked to the wrong contacts.

Second aspect of the problem

  • This is similar to the first aspect of the problem, but applies where no address for the contact has been included in the CTF file.
  • As for the first aspect of the problem, the link from the imported pupil will be to the first existing contact with the same name and gender, but in this case the address for that contact is not changed.

Example of Problem

  • Having upgraded to the SIMS 7 Autumn Release 2017 or Spring Release 2018, a school runs Routine | Data In | Import CTF.
  • School chooses ‘Add data for New Pupils Only’.
  • Having selected the CTF file, the user opts for placing the new pupil in a Pre-Admission Group.
  • Pupil named Paul Smith is added to a Pre-Admission and the software looks in the SIMS list of all contacts to find Paul’s contact whose name is John Smith with a gender of male.
  • The software finds the first male John Smith in the list, which given the commonness of the name is likely to be the wrong John Smith, and links that John Smith as a contact for the Paul Smith that has been added to the Pre-Admission Group.
  • Where the CTF file includes an address for the contact, the software compares the address of the John Smith in the CTF file with the John Smith that has been linked to the Paul Smith that has been added to the Pre-Admission Group and, in nearly all cases, finds that they are different.  Having found that they are different the software changes the current address for the contact (which is very likely to be the right address) to the address in the CTF file (which is very likely to be the wrong address).
  • Therefore, the Paul Smith that has been added to the Pre-Admission Group is very likely to have ended up linked to the wrong John Smith.  If this John Smith has been given the wrong address, that wrong address will be significant to both Paul Smith and any other pupils where John Smith is the contact.

Solution

Removing the bug

    1. Patch 24068 has been provided to customers via SOLUS 3 to fix the mistake in our coding (this replaced patch 23971 which only fixed part of the mistake).
    2. Patch 24068 has been included in the SIMS 7 Summer Release 2018 to ensure that the coding fix is in place for all customers.

Dealing with the data problems caused by the bug

    1. A diagnose script has been provided via My Account to help school identify problems in the contact linking and contact address area.  The diagnose script is now at version 3, but all versions are suitable for use when deciding whether or not to apply patch 24040, with the only difference between the three versions being that the later versions are easier to make use of as they are better at excluded data that has already been dealt with manually.
    2. A presentation has been provided via My Account to help with making use of the said diagnose script.  The My Account link now takes you to version 1.1 of the presentation, which includes a description of each type of ‘Potential Issue’.  You can check if you have version 1.1 of the presentation as the version number appears in the top right-hand corner of the first slide.
    3. Patch 24040 has been developed to automatically resolve many of the data problems caused by the bug and is available to local support units via SOLUS.  The patch is described as “DO NOT USE unless you are happy with the address proposed by the CTF Contact Address Diagnose Script” as a small number of schools have disagreed with the changes proposed by the Diagnose Script and such schools should not make use of this patch as the patch will put in places the proposals made by the Diagnose Script.  We believe that the proposals made by the Diagnose Script are correct, but if a school disagrees they should not make use of the patch.  We are sorry that this patch took longer to develop and test than originally expected, but I can assure you that this work has been treated as our number one priority.

Updated 10/07/2018 at 10:50 – Summary of latest position regarding the contact linking and contact address problem

Correcting the bug

  1. Patch 24068 has been provided to customers via SOLUS 3 to fix the mistake in our coding (this replaced patch 23971 which only fixed part of the mistake).
  2. Patch 24068 has been included in the SIMS 7 Summer Release 2018 to ensure that the coding fix is in place for all customers.

Updated 21/06/2018 at 18:30 – Contact Linking & Contact Address Problem Description of Problem

  • The SIMS 7 Autumn Release 2017 included a patch for CTF Import that has a serious issue where CTF Import is used for adding pupils to an admission group.

First aspect of the problem

  • On import, the software uses a matching routine to check if any of the pupils to be imported have contacts that already exist in SIMS and, where this is the case, links that contact to the pupil and updates the contacts address as necessary.
  • Unfortunately, several aspects of the matching routine where accidentally removed so that the matching routine only checks for matching names and gender.
  • The net result is that existing contacts can be given the wrong address and the imported pupil in the admission group can be linked to the wrong contacts.

Second aspect of the problem

  • This is similar to the first aspect of the problem, but applies where no address for the contact has been included in the CTF file.
  • As for the first aspect of the problem, the link from the imported pupil will be to the first existing contact with the same name and gender, but in this case the address for that contact is not changed.

Example of Problem

  • Having upgraded to the SIMS 7 Autumn Release 2017 or Spring Release 2018, a school runs Routine | Data In | Import CTF.
  • School chooses ‘Add data for New Pupils Only’.
  • Having selected the CTF file, the user opts for placing the new pupil in a Pre-Admission Group.
  • Pupil named Paul Smith is added to a Pre-Admission and the software looks in the SIMS list of all contacts to find Paul’s contact whose name is John Smith with a gender of male.
  • The software finds the first male John Smith in the list, which given the commonness of the name is likely to be the wrong John Smith, and links that John Smith as a contact for the Paul Smith that has been added to the Pre-Admission Group.
  • Where the CTF file includes an address for the contact, the software compares the address of the John Smith in the CTF file with the John Smith that has been linked to the Paul Smith that has been added to the Pre-Admission Group and, in nearly all cases, finds that they are different.  Having found that they are different the software changes the current address for the contact (which is very likely to be the right address) to the address in the CTF file (which is very likely to be the wrong address).
  • Therefore, the Paul Smith that has been added to the Pre-Admission Group is very likely to have ended up linked to the wrong John Smith.  If this John Smith has been given the wrong address, that wrong address will be significant to both Paul Smith and any other pupils where John Smith is the contact.

Solution

  • Applying Patch 23971 will fix the first aspect of the bug (available from SOLUS 3).
  • We are creating a second patch that will incorporate Patch 23971, to fix the first aspect of the bug, and will additionally fix the second aspect of the patch.  It will be fine for a school to apply the second patch when they have already applied the first patch and it will also be fine for a school to apply the second patch without having applied the first patch
  • Optionally, make use of a routine, which we expect to be able to provide in the near future, to detect if any of a school’s contact data has been affected by this bug.
  • We expect to be able to make patch 24040 available in the near future to restore the original address for the contacts and to link the imported pupils to the correct contact.  However, it is important to note that this restoration will only be possible where the school has not already attempted to resolve the issue for a contact.

Progress

  • Patch 23971 is available.
  • Patch to replace 23971 is being developed and should be available in the near future
  • Patch 24040 is being extended to take account of both aspects of the issue

Added 09/05/2018 at 14:30 – Problem with importing Proficiency in English (England only)

Unfortunately, there is a problem with our coding of CTF Import which results in any Proficiency in English data not being imported.  The problem is solved by patch 23974, which is being made available from SOLUS.

Added 15/03/2018 at 12:30 – Address Problem (KB478399)

Apology

  • Please accept my apology for not warning you of this problem sooner

Description of Problem

  • Where a pupil is imported into SIMS, when they already have a sibling at the school and the siblings have the same contacts, the addresses for the contacts are ended on the date of import.
  • Where the pupil is set to ‘inherit’ a contact’s address the address for that pupil will also be ended.

Solution

  • Apply patch 23690 to fix the bug
  • Re-import the CTF to restore the addresses
  • This patch will be included in the Summer Release 2018

Added 09/05/2018 at 14:30 – Problem with importing Proficiency in English (England only)

Unfortunately, there is a problem with our coding of CTF Import which results in any Proficiency in English data not being imported.  The problem is solved by patch 23974, which is being made available from SOLUS.

Added 15/03/2018 at 12:30 – Address Problem (KB478399)

Apology

  • Please accept my apology for not warning you of this problem sooner

Description of Problem

  • Where a pupil is imported into SIMS, when they already have a sibling at the school and the siblings have the same contacts, the addresses for the contacts are ended on the date of import.
  • Where the pupil is set to ‘inherit’ a contact’s address the address for that pupil will also be ended.

Solution

  • Apply patch 23690 to fix the bug (available from SOLUS 3)
  • Re-import the CTF to restore the addresses
  • This patch will be included in the Summer Release 2018

Added 04/12/2017 at 16:00 – Restricting export/import of contact data 

Currently we have a tick box that schools can use to indicate whether to export/import contact data.  There has been some discussion of extending the choice to export/import of parental contacts only, e.g.

from

Student Contacts  [  ] 

to

 All Student Contacts  [  ]
 Student Parental Contacts  [  ]

Please raise/support a Change Request on My Account, if you would value such an extension of CTF functionality.

Added 22/11/2017 at 09:35 – Problem with the transfer of service child indicator 

Unfortunately, there is a problem with our coding of CTF Export that can result in the service child indicator being assigned to pupils in the CTF file that are not actually service children.  A patch to resolve this problem will be made available from SOLUS 3 in the near future.

Added 22/09/2017 at 19:10 – Use of effective date for selecting pupils for CME files (England only) 

Unfortunately, in the original SIMS Summer Release 2017 there was a mistake in the coding for selecting pupils for CME files which meant that the System Date was used where the Effective Date should have been used.  Most of you will not have experienced this problem, as Workstation Patch 1 dealt with this problem as one of the CTF pupil selection fixes.  I apologise for not making this clear earlier.

Updated 21st September 2017 at 12:05 – Current academic year restriction for creation of CME files (England only)  

Unfortunately, in the original SIMS Summer Release 2017 there was a mistake in the coding for selecting pupils for CME files which meant that the System Date was used where the Effective Date should have been used.  Most of you will not have experienced this problem, as Workstation Patch 1 dealt with this problem as one of the CTF pupil selection fixes.  I apologise for not making this clear earlier.

Updated 15th August 2017 at 12:25 – Presentation of changes CTF 17 and the introduction of CME files for SIMS 7  

Unfortunately, in the original SIMS Summer Release 2017 there was a mistake in the coding for selecting pupils for CME files which meant that the System Date was used where the Effective Date should have been used.  Most of you will not have experienced this problem, as Workstation Patch 1 dealt with this problem as one of the CTF pupil selection fixes.  I apologise for not making this clear earlier.

A new version of this PowerPoint demonstration was uploaded to My Account on 15/08/2017 at 12:20.

Version 2.1 corrects a mistake regarding the inclusion of Grounds for Removal in CMJ files.

Version 2.0 includes extensive improvements to the presentation, which now includes slides for each of the following areas.

  • SIMS 7 Summer Release 2017
  • SIMS 7 Autumn Release 2017
  • Changes for CTF 17 Compared CTF 16
  • Legal position for CME files
  • CME files for Independent Schools
  • CME files and Grounds for Removal
  • Using CTF, CML and CMJ to avoid CME
  • Using SIMS 7 to enter CME leavers information
  • Using SIMS 7 to create CME Leavers files
  • Structure and Content of CME for Leavers files
  • Trigger for providing CME Joiners information
  • Using SIMS 7 to enter CME joiners information
  • Using SIMS 7 to create CME Joiners files
  • Structure and Content of CME Joiners files

Added 28th July 2017 15:30 – Content of CME (Children Missing Education) Files

Unfortunately, in the original SIMS Summer Release 2017 there was a mistake in the coding for selecting pupils for CME files which meant that the System Date was used where the Effective Date should have been used.  Most of you will not have experienced this problem, as Workstation Patch 1 dealt with this problem as one of the CTF pupil selection fixes.  I apologise for not making this clear earlier.

CML File (Children Missing Education – Leavers)

  • Identification of the pupil
    • UPN
    • Surname
    • Forename
    • DOB
    • Gender
  • Current addresses of the pupil
  • Current phone numbers of the pupil
  • Email address of the pupil
  • Contacts for the pupil
    • For each contact: Relationship to the pupil, Indication of parental responsibility, Identification of the contact, Title, Surname, Forename, Gender, Current address of the contact, Current phone numbers of the contact, Current email address of the contact
  • School the pupil has left
    • Identification of school: School name, School LA, School establishment number
    • Reason for leaving the school
    • Grounds for removal from the admissions register*1
  • School the pupil is expected to join
    • Identification of school: School name, School LA, School establishment number
    • Expected date of entry

 

CMJ File (Children Missing Education – Joiners)

  • Identification of the pupil
    • UPN
    • Surname
    • Forename
    • DOB
    • Gender
  • Current addresses of the pupil
  • Current phone numbers of the pupil
  • Email address of the pupil
  • Contacts for the pupil
    • For each contact: Relationship to the pupil, Indication of parental responsibility, Identification of the contact, Title, Surname, Forename, Gender, Current address of the contact, Current phone numbers of the contact, Current email address of the contact
  • School the pupil has joined
    • Identification of school: School name, School LA, School establishment number
    • Date of entry
  • School the pupil left
    • Identification of school: School name, School LA, School establishment number
    • Date of leaving
    • Reason for leaving the school
    • Grounds for removal from the admissions register*1

*1 Will be introduced by SIMS 7 Autumn Release 2017 in line with the change to the DfE specification for CTF 17.

Product Development for Data Retention

Product Development for Data Retention

Updated with a new video of the bulk student delete process for Autumn

25/09/2018

Notification Updates

25/09/2018: After we packaged the Autumn 2018 release together for the Beta version, we continued further deep integrated testing on the last part of the student delete. This last step is to delete the central Person Record if the student role was the only role that Person had, this is explained in the video below at the point of 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Therefore, for the Autumn 2018 release of SIMS we will still include the last three data domains in the bulk student delete option, but felt it was safer to not deliver in the main customer release the last ‘Delete All Student Data’ option. We raise your awareness to this now as this option is present in the beta but will not be delivered in the release in November. If you need further clarification, please contact paul.featherstone@capita.co.uk.

28/08/2018: We have now completed the development of the bulk student delete routine in SIMS.  This builds on the initial phase which we released in the Summer version of SIMS and now allows for the complete delete of student records.

How will this work?

To help explain the process, I have recorded a video for SIMS customers to review what has been completed.  While the development is complete, we are now working on other GDPR priorities, the team would welcome feedback on the updates.  So please review the video and then provide your comments in the feedback form below.

The Video…

Additional Information

Please feel free to share this video with anyone who will benefit from knowing what new functionality will be available in the Autumn release.  The direct link is: https://youtu.be/w8sp3XFviIM

The developers are now working of some GDPR features to do with PLinks between SIMS and FMS and then will start to relax some of the rules prohibiting users to delete members of staff from SIMS.

Feedback

Knowing what you think about this routine is important, even if it is to know we are doing it right.  Please use the form below to submit your comments.