Summer 2023 School Census Bulletin

This FAQ lists the latest information regarding the School Census. It contains information on the latest filesets, patches and errors. The latest census documentation and documentation for schools using Arbor can be viewed at the bottom of this FAQ.

Register for our Digital Learning Course (SIMS) – Here – These courses are free for Scomis customers.

Census Date: Thursday 18th May 2023

For further information please email scomis@devon.gov.uk or call 01392 385300

Current fileset: 2401

Latest Census Information

18/05/2023 It’s CENSUS DAY – hope all goes well for you – remember your dry runs.
17/05/2023 If you haven’t already done so, please carry out a dry run of this census as soon as possible. Much of the data reported in the census is dated, so making changes to such data after census day will mean backdating those changes.

Validation error 9999: Module is missing

This error message will identify the pupil and has normally been triggered by no pupil characteristic data being available for the pupil on census reference day or on the date the pupil left the school. Where this is the reason for the error, you can get a better idea of exactly what data is missing for the pupil by ensuring that first language data is present for the pupil on census reference date or on the date they left the school. Once the first language data is present for the pupil, subsequent running of DfE validation will reveal what else is missing for that pupil.

In many case the above occurs for a pupil who was on roll at the school for a very short period. In such cases a school should also consider whether they are correct in indicating that the pupil was ever on roll at the school. For example, if a pupil was expected to join the school on a specific date but did not turn up on the data or later, the school should consider if the pupil was ever on roll at the school.

13/04/2023 Teacher’s Strike

The DfE has provided the following guidance regarding the teacher’s strike.

If a school has to restrict attendance by telling some pupils not to attend school on a strike day, the Y code [Unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances – not counted in possible attendances] should be used for pupils who are told not to attend. Pupils who are required to attend should be marked in the normal way. If a pupil is required to attend school on a strike day but does not, then they must be recorded as absent. The Y code does not count towards the pupil or school’s absence record.

Handling strike action in schools (publishing.service.gov.uk)

I have asked the DfE the following question.

Schools are asking us what should happen regarding the use of a Y code where a pupil is already suspended on a strike day. I can think of reasons for replacing the E code with the Y code and other reasons for leaving the E code in place. Please let us know what the DfE policy is in this situation. Thank you for your help.

The DfE has kindly provided the following response.

As the use of the Y code is for unplanned closures, the school would still record the E code as they were not expected to be in school anyway.

13/04/2023 Changes to the DfE specification compared to School Census Summer 2022

All date spans are inclusive.

Normal annual date changes

  • Census reference data: 18/05/2023
  • Attendance data*1: 01/01/2023 – 09/04/2023
  • Suspensions and permanent exclusions data*1: 01/08/2022 – 09/04/2023
  • Alternative provision placement data*1: 19/01/2023 – 18/05/2023*2
  • Learner support*1: 01/08/2022 – 18/05/2023
  • Funding and monitory data*1: 01/08/2022 – 18/05/2023
  • Free school meal eligibility data: 20/01/2023 – 18/05/2023

*1 A pupil should be included as a leaver in the census if any of these data items are to be reported in the census for that pupil

*2 The DfE REQUIRES the end date for any AP (Alternative Provision) placement that has closed on or before the autumn census reference date but WILL NOT accept the inclusion of the end date for any AP placement that closed on the census reference date or after the census reference date. The DfE is fully aware that this means that the collection of AP placement data for one term’s school census will overlap by one day with the collection of that data in the next term’s school census.


Useful FAQ’s

Error 9999 – Module is missing

Unable to run Create and Validate on School Census

Submit Census Files from within Hosted Applications

SEN Provision in the School Census

Documentation – SIMS

School Census Validations and Resolutions

Preparing for the School Census Summer 2023 Return (English Nursery, Primary and Special phase)

Preparing for the School Census Summer 2023 Return (English Secondary phase)

Producing the School Census Summer 2023 Return (English Primary & Middle deemed Primary schools)

Producing the School Census Summer 2023 Return (English Secondary & Middle deemed Secondary schools)

Producing the School Census Summer 2023 Return (English Pupil Referral Units)

Producing the School Census Summer 2023 Return (English Special schools)

Producing the School Census Summer 2023 Return (English Nursery schools)

Producing the School Census Summer 2023 Return (English All-Through schools)


Documentation – Arbor

Important dates

  • Thursday 4th May 2023 dry run opens  
  • Thursday 18th May 2023 is census day
  • Wednesday 14th June 2023 is your census submission deadline (unless otherwise advised by your Local Authority)

Please find a link to Arbor’s main census page here and a link to Arbor errors and queries here.

Arbor have a census webinar training, please see here for more information.

Census guides – School census guides – Arbor Help Centre (arbor-education.com)

More Arbor census articles.




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