Autumn Census 2023

Important Dates

  • Collection Date: Thursday 5th October 2023
  • Deadline for returns: Deadline is Wednesday 1st November 2023
*Your local authority may have a shorter deadline if you submit to them rather than COLLECT - please contact them for details of their deadline.

Changes for the censuses

The only change this year, for Autumn, Spring and Summer censuses is that the Gender field has been replaced by Sex. Please see our guidance here: Sex, Gender and Gender Identity in ScholarPack and statutory returnsSchools can choose to record Gender Identity but this is not returned in the census.

  • For full guidance from the DfE on changes to the census, click here.
  • For further information detailing what data your school must return in the Autumn, Spring or Summer census, click here.



Where to find Autumn Census in ScholarPack?

The census module can be found via Admin > Census > Autumn Census.

You will be shown sections for -

  • Documentation - links to the DfE and ScholarPack Guidance
  • Known Issues - Information will show here on anything flagged by the DfE or any specific error or queries to be aware of.
  • Notes - Useful information needed on certain sections of this census. If the notes are in RED it means no data has been recorded for the required item.
  • Specific Data Items - Information on all the specific data items required for this particular school census and a link to the area of ScholarPack where you can view / update the information. 
  • Standard Data Items - Information on all the standard data items required for this particular school census and a link to the area of ScholarPack where you can view / update the information.

Each blue button in the View/Edit column will take you to the area of ScholarPack where you can check or update your information. 

The example below was for the Spring Census, but they will all look similar.

example census overview.png


Data items

Data Collection periods

  • Attendance data from 10th April to 31st August 2023.
  • Free School Meal Eligibility from 19th May and 5th October 2023.
  • Suspensions and permanent exclusions from 1st January to 31st August 2023.
  • National Tutoring Programme since the start of the academic year, up to and including census day.

This includes both on and off-roll students. More information can be found here: Data items 2022 to 2023

Specific data items

This table lists the specific data items for this school census, provides notes on each section and a blue button in the View/Edit column for each section.

School Lunch Taken

This area logs which Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 students took a Universal Free School Meal on Census Day. See the 'School Lunches Taken' section of the DfE Guidance for further guidance: DfE School Census Data Items

Top Tip: This area can only be filled in after morning registers have been taken on Census Day itself. This is because the attendance codes are needed to show who is in school to have a meal.

You will be presented with a list of all those students in years Reception to Year 2. The attendance code for each student will be displayed together with any meal choice if using the meals module.

  • You can choose to populate the School Lunch taken column with those students who were marked as present for the AM session (/) or late before register closed (L) as having had a UFSM on census day. 
  • Tick all students who had a school meal on census day and click Save.
  • You can bulk enter these using the Pre-Populate button at the bottom of the page, which automatically assigns meals to those with a present code that day, then untick those meals not taken (e.g. home packed lunch).

If the situation at lunchtime was in some way unusual on census day, you'll need to complete this section as if it were a different, unaffected day. More information on Unusual Circumstances can be found on the DfE's site here: Unusual circumstances


School-led Tutoring / Learner Funding and Monitoring

This data item identifies students who are in receipt of school-led tutoring support where their learning has been disrupted by COVID-19, and the cumulative number of hours tutoring they have received this academic year. Please see our guidance here: School-Led Tutoring

Clicking the Learner Funding and Monitoring button will take you to the Group Updater in ScholarPack where you can enter the number of hours a student has received up to and including on the census day. If students have not received any hours, please leave blank, do not enter 0 hours.

Standard Data Items

This table lists the standard data items for this school census and provides notes on each section and a blue button in the View/Edit column for each section.

  • Click each button to check your information before calculating your census return. Each blue button will take you to the area of ScholarPack where you can view or update your information.
  • For the majority of these standard data items, this can be updated in bulk and the system will take you to the Group Updater.

For full details on all data items, please refer to the DfE School Census Data Items

  • School - Make sure your phase and school type are correctly specified.
  • Attendance data - Clicking the 'Registers' button will take you to the Manage Register area of ScholarPack (Register > Manage Register). Here you can check your attendance codes. This may include pupils who have left the school prior to census day - to view these students ensure you tick the 'Show Former Students' box. Pupils recorded as "Guest' will not be included in your return. We recommend checking if you have any students recorded as Guest pupils. Please use the following guide - Recording A Child As A Guest Pupil Persistent absenteeism is based on a threshold of 10 percent absence codes. See ScholarPack guidance - Registration Codes
  • Ethnicity - Where the information has not yet been collected then this needs to be recorded as ‘not yet obtained’. If a student or parent has refused to give the information then ‘refused’ should be recorded and returned.
  • Free School Meal Eligibility - Clicking on the 'FSM Eligibility' button in the census area will quickly take you to the area of ScholarPack where you can check pupil's FSM eligibility periods.  You can also go via Admin > Students > Manage FSM. Ensure students don't have more than one open period of FSM eligibility. In addition, see Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM)
  • Language - You can find the list of DfE Census Codes HERE.
  • Service Child - Indicates if a child has a parent or parents who is / are Service personnel.
  • Funded Hours - The free entitlement to education hours given to students aged 2, 3 and 4 years old
  • Extended Childcare Hours - Some parents may be eligible to get an additional 15 hrs childcare for their children (giving a total of 30 hrs) and are given an 11 digit code. This is termed Extended Childcare.
  • Thirty Hour Code - the 11-digit code that is required for pupils who claim extended childcare hours.
  • Hours at Setting = Funded Hours + Extended Hours/Expanded Hours + Hours funded by other sources. 
  • Top Up Funding - those students on roll on census day for whom a school receives top-up funding from the local authority due to SEN.
  • Early Years Pupil Premium (EYPP) - You will be taken to the group updater where you can apply the appropriate EYPP status to students in bulk.
    The year group N2 (academic year -1) is displayed by default and you can use the check box to show only those students who have a date of birth between the dates specified by the DfE as being eligible for EYPP.
    Select from the drop down the reason > select the students to which this reason applies and click update.


  • 2-year-old basis for funding - 2-year-old children may meet more than one criterion for funded provision when taking up a place in the school and each relevant criterion is returned in the census. The reason(s) for receipt of 2 Year Old Funding must be recorded and returned.  This data item is not required for 3 and 4- year-olds.
  • Post Looked After Arrangements - Edit this in the individual Student Profile > Extended, the default is "No". Please refer to - Recording Post Looked After Arrangements
  • Enrolment Status
  • Entry Date
  • Part Time
  • NC Year Actual - The National Curriculum year group in which the student is taught for the majority of their time, regardless of their chronological age.
  • Type of Class - Primary schools only. For most students it should be set to "Other Class (Not a special class or unit)". Nursery classes should be set to "Nursery Class (Not a special class or unit)".
  • SEN Provision - Clicking on the 'SEN' button will run the SEN report usually found via Reporting > Reports > Support tab.  Here you can view your SEN data and check it correct.
    If you need to add or amend an SEN Provision this can be done via the individual student's profile in the Support tab (the SENCO user role is needed to access this resource). 
  • Disability Access Fund Indicator - This is a true / false flag to indicate those pupils on roll for whom the school receives, on census day, top-up funding - either from a local authority or, in the case of a PRU / AP, a local authority or another school.
    This can be recorded in ScholarPack via the child's profile within the 'Extended' tab, under Support Information. Please refer to the following guidance - Record students as in receipt of top-up funding
  • Suspensions and Permanent Exclusions - Clicking on the 'Exclusions' button will run the Exclusions report usually found via Reporting > Reports > Conduct tab.
    Information on all types of pupil exclusions is collected for the previous 2 terms. For both permanent and fixed period exclusions, the exclusion start date and exclusion reason(s) are collected. Up to three reasons may be provided, but schools should only select more than one reason where it is appropriate.
  • Address


Completing your census

Calculate Your Census Return

Once you have worked your way through all the blue buttons in the tables you can click the Calculate button on the right side of your screen.

This will take you to a validation page where any queries or errors can be viewed.  
calculate census.png


You must ensure that you have fully entered into your system all data required by the DfE specification.

  • Although the data checks are very important, do not assume that successful completion guarantees that all the necessary data is present and that your school census return is correct.
  • The absence of any validation errors or queries also does not guarantee a successful return.

Data submitted to the department should be authorised by the head of school.


Solve errors and queries

Click the Error Details button to be taken to our Help Centre where you will find a guidance document on that particular error.

Where possible, the 'Fix' query or error button will take you to the area in ScholarPack where you can resolve the issue.

The example below was for the Spring Census, but they will all look similar.

example validation report.png


Please contact your Support Team if you are still unsure how to resolve your errors or queries:
  • If your school is supported by ScholarPack directly, click the 'Contact Us' button in the top right of the Help Centre
  • If your school uses a Support Partner, please contact them. Click their name in the top right of your ScholarPack above the search box, for their contact details.


Generate School Summary

Once you have resolved all of your errors on the validation page, you can click on the button labelled 'ScholarPack Summary'.

census summary.png


This will display all data entered into ScholarPack that is ready to be submitted.  

The ScholarPack summary differs from the Official summary by giving you the option to see which students are behind all the figures (via their UPN) in most tables either by using the 'Show All Data' button along the top or the 'Show Data' button on individual tables - 

show all data.png


If you're looking at a particular census table, you can expand this further to show the student names after clicking either 'Show All Data' or 'Show Data'.

Click the 'Show/Hide Names' button at the top and this add the student names under their UPN for easier viewing.

all names.png  

Please thoroughly check the separate tables with a colleague/headteacher to ensure that you are confident with your data before sending the return.

If you wish to print or save this page, please click on Print in the top of this screen.

When you click Print a pop up box will appear.  You can either select the blue print button or 'Change' (in the destination section). Clicking 'Change' will allow you to choose Save as PDF instead of printing.


Download Your Census Return

Once you have validated your census return and checked your school summary you can select the Download census file button. This will allow you to download your xml file (CTF) with all necessary information.

If you want to check the information in your census file, please use the ScholarPack Summary instead. The Census CTF is meant for COLLECT and will be in code so is not easy to read.

download census file.png

You will then need to access COLLECT to upload your completed file. You can log into COLLECT here or create a DfE sign in with a link on the same page. If you need guidance on how to use COLLECT the DfE have produced guides here.

Some local authorities may require schools to submit their census return to the LA instead of sending to the COLLECT website. Please check with your local authority.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful