DFE Spring Census Update
On the 14th of January 2021 the DFE released their "Spring School Census 2021 – Readiness Bulletin Number 2" communication to all local authorities, service children education providers and school’s MIS suppliers. This document is attached and available at the bottom of this article and contains important updates. Some key items include:
- Classes - Schools should record classes as they would normally have been timetabled at the selected time on census day
- FSM/School lunches taken - Schools should record this as meals taken on a normal Thursday, however please check the guidance attached for exceptions
- UFSM - Funding arrangements will be confirmed by the DFE separate to this bulletin
- Nursery Provision - Funded hours, extended hours and hours at setting should be recorded as the number of hours the pupil would normally be expected to attend during census week, however please check the guidance attached for exceptions and full rules
- Pupil Premium Funding - It was announced in December 2020 that pupil premium allocations for most schools will now be based on data collected as part of the Autumn school census
If you have any specific questions about what data to enter, please consult your Local Authority or Trust leaders for guidance.
On the spring school census there are manual entry data items. These are in Admin > Census > Spring 2021 in a table headed Spring 2021 Census Specific Data.
If the information in the table shows in red this indicates that the information has not been completed yet.
(Please note that the information you are required to provide may differ dependant on your school phase)
To complete these areas simply click the button in the right of the table.
This data is collected in the spring census only, providing information for a school’s admission appeals against non-admission to the school for the start of the 2020/21 academic year. Please Note: appeals lodged on or after the 1 September 2020 are not be included.
For the number of admissions appeals:
Appeals Lodged = or greater than Appeals Withdrawn + Appeals Heard
Appeals Heard = Appeals Rejected + Successful Appeals
Please note: Primary admission appeals contain the subset of infant admissions appeals. As such, infant admissions appeals information will appear in both primary admissions appeals and infant admissions appeals.
Class information [Not for: Nursery schools, special or PRU / AP]
For the Spring 2021 Census schools are requested to record classes as they would normallly have been timeabled at the selected time on census day (e.g. record a normal Thursday lesson, for the time allocated by your establishment number).
The class information module requires you to input details of all classes running at a selected time on census day (21st January 2021). This time is based on the last digit of your establishment number.
For example if your establishment number is 1516; the number 6 is the last digit of your establishment number therefore your selected time is one hour after the start of afternoon school.
Primary and all-through schools with infant classes are asked to ensure that the selected period is one in which their infant classes are engaged in an ordinary teaching session. An ordinary teaching session does not include school assembly or any other school activity usually conducted with large groups of children such as:
• PE / games
• watching television
• listening to the radio
Where, at the time of the count, infant class children would be involved in such an activity, the count is deferred to the next ordinary teaching session. This change of selected time is enacted for all classes in the school, not just the infant classes.
To input this data into ScholarPack these go to Admin > Census > Spring Census > Class Details
To add class details, select Add New. You can then add details of the class, year group, the subject being taught and the number of students (including those who would have been in the class but have been registered as absent).
The DfE require information from the school if the student to TEACHER ratio exceeds 30:1. The reason for exceeding the ratio would be due to students who joined the school unexpectedly and caused an increase in student numbers. They also require information regarding teachers who were on PPA/LMT (planning and preparation time (PPA) or learning manager time (
- Exception A - children admitted outside the normal admissions round with EHC plan specifying a school
- Exception B - looked after children and previously looked after children admitted outside the normal admissions
- Exception C - children admitted, after initial allocation of places, because of a procedural error in the original application process
- Exception D - children admitted after an independent appeals panel upholds an appeal
- Exception E - children who move into the area outside the normal admissions round
- Exception F - children of UK service personnel admitted outside the normal admissions round
- Exception G - children whose twin or sibling from a multiple birth is admitted otherwise than as an excepted pupil
- Exception H - children with special educational needs who attend some infant classes within the mainstream school
To record if a teacher is on PPA/LMT then in the classes area add in the “Teachers on PPA/LMT” column the number of teachers from the class on PPA/LMT.
If the students in the class (Pupils in Class + Guest Pupil Numbers) exceeds the ratio 30:1, then for each student over the ratio, an exception must be recorded. An exception can be used more than once.
In the example below there are 32 students in the class for 1 teacher. Therefore, 2 exceptions need to be recorded.
Once the correct number of exceptions have been recorded to bring the ratio back to 30:1, you will see the following indications.
In the example 2 Exceptions A have been selected (children admitted outside the normal admissions round with EHC plan specifying a school).
Note: Do not record unusual situations (such as class amalgamation or school closure) which may have occurred on census day due, for example, to staff training or absence, severe weather conditions or religious observances.
The purpose of this reconciliation is to check that the number of registered pupils for whom the return contains individual pupil data is consistent with the number of pupils reported in classes as taught. This allows for the fact that some registered pupils may not have been in class at the selected time.
The amount of pupils on roll should add up to the amount of children that are manually entered in the class information area as being taught at the specified time, plus any part time students (e.g. nursery pupils) that are on roll, but not expected in school at the specified time.
The reconciliation consists of the following calculation:
Number of pupils on roll on census day for whom individual pupil data have been provided (not including any guest pupils).
- number of pupils from this school scheduled to be in the class at the selected time summed over all classes as taught (including any absent children that should be in class)
- plus pupils engaged in private study at the selected time
- plus pupils from this school who were part time pupils not scheduled to be in attendance at the school at the selected time (Nursery students for example)
- plus pupils attending another school at the selected time
Add students through the classes area plus against each of the additional areas to total the number of students on roll. If the final figure is 0, then your reconciliation is correct.
This information is included in the class details area on the left.
Schools must provide information on the provision of – or signposting to – childcare together with the nature of the childcare provided / signposted. The school must provide an answer to whether there is on-site provision (and any related information) and whether the school signposts off-site provision for each of the 4 types of childcare.
Where opening / closing times are required, these are provided using the 24-hour clock format (03:00 = 3 am 15:00 = 3 pm). It is best to click on the clock icon to select the opening and closing times.
The minimum return from a school which does not provide on-site childcare and also does not signpost off-site provision would be for each type of childcare a ‘No’ for on-site and an ‘No’ of signposting.
You can go to the data items section of the DfE census guidance here and click on School Childcare for further details.
Childcare for children aged between 0 to 4 years (Under 5): By this, the DfE means a service that parents can use for at least 9 hours a day if they choose to. Do not include provision that is only available during school hours or where children can only attend for a morning or afternoon session.
Most schools therefore will record No for Under 5 childcare provision.
This is a manual entry which can be found in Admin > Census > Spring Census > Childcare details.
Free School Meals Taken
For the Spring 2021 Census the school is requested to record the number of FSM students having a meal on census day on a normal Thursday. If any FSM students attending during lockdown (vulnerable/keyworkers) are absent for reasons other than Covid, or opt for a packed lunch rather than school meal on Census day, then their count is to be removed from the total FSM meals on census day. Please check the guidance attached at the base of this article for full details.
Pupils are recorded as FSM eligible where they meet the FSM eligibility criteria- for these children this area requires a manual entry of the total number of pupils who had a free school meal at lunchtime on census day. Pupils who are in receipt of a free school lunch due only to the infant pupil universal entitlement are not recorded as ‘FSM’ and not included in the free school meals taken record.
This can be found in ScholarPack via Admin > Census > Spring Census > Free School Meals Taken.
School Lunch Taken
For the Spring 2021 Census the school is requested to record the number of UFSM meals taken on a normal Thursday. If any UFSM students attending during lockdown (vulnerable/keyworkers) are absent for reasons other than Covid, or opt for a packed lunch rather than school meal on Census day, then their count is to be removed from the total meals taken that day. Please check the guidance attached at the base of this article for full details.
School lunch taken should be recorded for all students in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 on Census day (Thursday 21st January 2021). To enter this data, go to Admin > Census > Spring Census > School Lunch Taken.
Once selected you will be presented with a list of all those students in years Reception to Year 2. If you have taken the register in ScholarPack for 21st January then the attendance code for each student will be displayed together with any meal choice if using the meals module. You can then choose to pre-populate the School Lunch taken column with those students who were marked as present for the AM session (/) or late before register closed (L) or as absent due to Government Restrictions/Local Lockdown (X) as having had a UFSM on census day. Remove meals for those who usually have a home packed lunch.
Note: pupils in school on census day must be recorded as not having taken a school lunch if they are absent for other reasons not connected to coronavirus.
Alternatively you can manually tick the students who had a school lunch in this area. The exceptional situation this Spring census with most students learning remotely, means you select an alternative day to record UFSM meal numbers. If you use the meals module on Scholarpack, you can check numbers for UFSM and FSM on various dates in the Admin > Meals > Dinner Numbers by Week report.