Autumn 2021 School Census Bulletin

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

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Census Date: 7th October 2021

Latest Census Information

Date Description
18/10/2021  Fileset 1907

This fileset has been released by ESS and more information can be found on this FAQ.

18/10/2021 English Consolidated Database Patch 1 (Patch 26794)

This patch has been made available by ESS and more information can be found on this FAQ.

If you require this patch please email scomis@devon.gov.uk

14/10/2021 Post-16 prior attainment by year taught in on census day or when previously on-roll

 

13/10/2021 Validate error 1897 (Only previous year’s planned hours and attainment data is required for a pupil who left during the previous term)

ESS have posted the following update:

‘Some schools have found that validation rule 1897 is triggered on upload to DfE COLLECT when it was not triggered for DfE school validation.  The initial response from our contact at the DfE was that she was not aware of any deliberate difference between the DfE rule 1897 for DfE COLLECT validation compared to DfE school validation.  However, she asked her colleagues to check if there are any unintended differences.

The latest response from the DfE is that the coding of validation rule 1897 is different for DfE COLLECT compared to the DfE school validation and that it is their coding for DfE school validation that is incorrect.

As things stand schools with sixth forms are likely to find that validation error 1897 will be triggered in COLLECT for all students who left the school in academic year 2020/21 when taught in year 12.

We now understand that the DfE cannot allow this non-required data to be included in the return file, as the ESFA use it when calculating the funding for schools.  With this in mind we are now looking into providing Fileset 1907 to deal with this.

12/10/2021 Calculate programme of study

Where the menu route Tools | Academic Management | Course Manager | Post-16 Programme of Study has been used for an academic year before fundament changes are made to a post-16 student who intended to join that academic year, e.g. the student does not turned up for year twelve and is made a leaver for the previous academic when they were in year 11, the Calculate Programmes of Study routine may not be successful for that student.  This is due to the various protections we have put in place to protect existing data from being overwritten by the Calculate Programmes of Study routine.

You can avoid such ‘protection’ issues by blanking out existing data for such a student, saving the programmes and then running the Calculate Programmes of Study routine for that student.  Where there are a large number of students involved and you are dealing with the programme for the current academic year, you might also consider running the Reset All Programmes of Study routine, saving the programmes and then running the Calculate Programmes of Study routine for all the students listed.

12/10/2021 Table 26 of the DfE validation summary report

The DfE is looking into why this table is showing 0 for all items.  If the DfE are able to identify a mistake on their part any update will be made on the DfE COLLECT version and not the DfE school version.

 

12/10/2021 DfE validation error 2710 (Qualification number has invalid characters or is incorrectly formatted)

ESS have posted the following update regarding error 2710:

‘We have examined the DfE coding for this validation and believe that it will always trigger where a learning aim with the QN code ZTLOS006 is included in the return file.  This is one of a set of QN codes that the DfE has introduced for Technical Levels that does not follow the normal rules for QN format.  The DfE coding for validation error 2710 makes use of a list of these ‘special’ Technical Level QNs that should not trigger validation error 2710, but has not included QN code ZTLOS006 on the list.

We suggest that a note on COLLECT will suffice where validation error 2710 is triggered for QN code ZTLOS006.’

11/10/2021 Attendance for pupils who ‘did not have to attend’ any session for the whole of the attendance collection period (validation rules 2500, 2510 and 2575)

ESS have released the following update:

‘Currently our autumn census application is not providing an attendance container for pupils who were marked as not needing to attend for the whole of the collection period.  We now understand that the DfE expects an attendance container for such pupils and that this container should indicate a possible attendance of 0.  For pupils who are on roll on census reference day or leavers who have other data required for the census, this issue will trigger one of more of the following validation rules: 2500, 2510 and 2575.  Where a leaver would have no reason other than attendance for inclusion in the census return, none of these validation rules would be triggered.

With the above in mind we recommend that schools check if they have any leavers who had X or Y codes for the whole of the summer term 2021 and are not appearing in the return.

Where one of more pupils in a school are subject to the issue described above, we recommend that the census return file is not authorised until we provide a solution to this issue.

We expect to be able to provide database patch 26794 to deal with this issue before the end of the day on Thursday 14 October..’

11/10/2021 Post-16 Programme of Study display issue

The ‘Other Courses’ column in the Post-16 Programme of Study table should only be displaying the pupils’ courses when taught in year 12 or above, but in some cases is also displaying courses from the pupils were taught in year 11.  This is a display only issue and has no impact on the data made available to the autumn census.  However, the display issue can cause confusion, so have have made database patch 26779 available to correct this.

08/10/2021 Validation queries 2485Q  and 2588Q

ESS has released the following information below regarding queries 2485Q and 2588Q:

2485Q (Pupil attendance indicates they are excluded but no exclusion is recorded)

The DfE has not found any issue with their coding of validation query 2485Q, so please contact your help desk if you cannot account for it being triggered.

R2588Q (Pupil attendance for second half of summer term indicates they are suspended or permanently excluded but no suspension or permanent exclusion is recorded)

The DfE have acknowledged that validation query 2588Q is being triggered where a suspension (fixed term exclusion) includes a holiday period.  The DfE will accept an appropriate note on COLLECT.

 

07/10/2021  Post-16 pupils who have left the school this academic year

Update from ESS: ‘Having consulted with the DfE, we now understand that, although the DfE does not want to receive highest prior attainment grades for post-16 pupils who left the school in the previous academic, it does want to receive this data for post-16 pupils who left the school this academic year.  In this area our software is currently treating post-16 pupils who left the school this academic year in the same way as it treats post-16 pupils who left the schools in the previous academic year.  This results in validation errors 3000 and 3010 being triggered for post-16 pupils who left the school this academic year.

Fileset 1905 deals with this issue by updating our rules for filling the XML return, so that the highest prior attainment grade is included for post-16 pupils who have left the school this academic year, but continues to be excluded for post-16 pupils who left the school during the previous academic year.’

07/10/2021 Attendance for pupils who did not have to attend for the whole of the attendance collection period

ESS has released the following update: ‘Currently our autumn census application is not providing an attendance container for pupils who were marked as not needing to attend for the whole of the collection period.  We now understand that the DfE expects an attendance container for such pupils and that this container should indicate a possible attendance of 0.  For pupils who are on roll on census reference day or leavers who have other data required for the census, this issue will trigger one of more of the following validation rules: 2500, 2510 and 2575.  Where a leaver would have no reason other than attendance for inclusion in the census return, none of these validation rules would be triggered.

With the above in mind we recommend that schools check if they have any leavers who had X or Y codes for the whole of the summer term 2021 and are not appearing in the return.

Where one of more pupils in a school are subject to the issue described above, we recommend that the census return file is not authorised until we provide a solution to this issue.

We are looking into this issue as a matter of urgency and I will get back to you with a further update once we have decided on a suitable way forward.’

07/10/2021 DfE validation query 4007Q (No pupils on roll are in receipt of School Led Tutoring)

Update from ESS: ‘We have examined the DfE coding of this validation rule and we believe that it is working as expected.  We understand that the DfE has introduced this query to alert schools to the complete absence of School Led Tutoring and provide schools with the opportunity to explain this unusual position via a note on COLLECT.  Although the spending of this extra COVID-19 catch-up funding can be spread over the whole academic year, it will be unusual not to have spent at least part of it on or before the census reference date (07/10/2021).’

 

07/10/2021 Fileset 1905

Fileset 1905 has been released by ESS. For more information on this please see this FAQ

This will be applied to hosted schools – date TBC.

07/10/2021 Update Funding and Monitoring

ESS have released the following information for schools experiencing an error when opening the ‘Funding and Monitoring’ page:

‘When menu route Tools | Statutory Return Tools | Update Funding and Monitoring was introduced via Workstation Patch 1 for the SIMS Summer Release 2021, there was an issue in the database coding that results in a fall over where an unusually long name has been assigned for a year group. This issue is dealt with via database patch 26778.  This patch will only run on a system where Workstation Patch 1 has already been applied.’

If you require this patch please email the service desk – scomis@devon.gov.uk

06/10/2021 Issues in Table 15 of the DfE’s school summary report

The DfE has designed table 15 to summaries the attendance data in the XML return file, but schools should note the following when making use of this table.

  1. The totals for code O (Unauthorised absence as pupil missed sessions for an unauthorised absence not covered by any other code/description) are correct.
  2. The totals for code N (Unauthorised absence as pupil missed sessions for a reason that has not yet been provided) are likely to be incorrect, as they are actually a repeat of the totals for code O
  3. The overall totals for attendance sessions are likely to be incorrect as they include for total for code N which is likely to be incorrect.
  4. The table cannot be used to reliable deduce the totals for code N or the overall totals.
  5. The DfE will not be providing an update of their summary report file for school MIS, but will be updating the equivalent table provided by COLLECT following upload of a school’s XML return file.

These mistakes in the DfE coding of their attendance summary report have no impact on the SIMS detail reports for attendance, which continue to report exactly what is found in the XML return file.

 

06/10/2021 Validation rules 2903 and 2795 for schools with sixth forms

ESS has posted the following update regarding these errors:

‘Please note that we are investigating the situation regarding the triggering of these two validation rules. Our initial investigations suggest that the DfE coding of the validation rules is correct.  We advise schools not to attempt any action to resolve these validation failures until we able to provide further advice.  Our initial investigations also suggest that triggering of these two validation rules will take place in a limited number of schools with sixth forms.’

 

06/10/2021 Fileset 1905

ESS have confirmed Fileset 1905 is being produced, this bulletin will be updated when we know more. It contains the changes below:

School Census Autumn 2021 (State Schools in England)

  • Version 2122.1.1 of the DfE validation files – no change
  • Version 2122.1.1 of the DfE summary report files – no change
  • SIMS resolutions file – updated to take account of the two new validations rules introduces in version 2122.1.1 of the DfE validation files – no change
  • SIMS XML content file – updated to ensure that the following two prior attainment tags are provided in the census return for pupils who left the school during the current academic, when being taught in year 12 or above.
    • Highest prior attainment achieved for Maths GCSE.
    • Highest prior attainment achieved for English GCSE.
06/10/2021 Attendance for pupils who did not have to attend for the whole of the attendance collection period

Please see update from ESS: ‘Currently our autumn census application is not providing an attendance container for pupils who were marked as not needing to attend for the whole of the collection period.  We now understand that the DfE expects an attendance container for such pupils and that this container should indicate a possible attendance of 0.  This issue will trigger one of more of the following validation rules, depending on other aspects of the data included for the pupil: 2500, 2510 and 2575

We are looking into this issue and I will get back to you with a further update once we have decided on a suitable way forward.’

 

06/10/2021 Post-16 pupils who have left the school this academic year

Please see update from ESS:

‘Having consulted with the DfE, we now understand that, although the DfE does not want to receive highest prior attainment grades for post-16 pupils who left the school in the previous academic, it does want to receive this data for post-16 pupils who left the school this academic year.  In this area our software is currently treating post-16 pupils who left the school this academic year in the same way as it treats post-16 pupils who left the schools in the previous academic year.  This results in validation errors 3000 and 3010 being triggered for post-16 pupils who left the school this academic year.

Fileset 1905 will deal with this issue by updating our rules for filling the XML return, so that the highest prior attainment grade is included for post-16 pupils who have left the school this academic year, but continues to be excluded for post-16 pupils who left the school during the previous academic year.’

 

06/10/2021 Update Funding and Monitoring

Please see update from ESS:

‘Menu route Tools | Statutory Return Tools | Update Funding and Monitoring should become available for all schools except nurseries as soon as Workstation Patch 1 for the SIMS Summer Release 2021 has been applied.  The menu route will only be available for users with Returns Manager permission.

We are currently looking into a number of cases where schools with hosted access to SIMS have found that they don’t have this menu route available, even though this workstation patch seems to have been applied successfully.

I will update this newsfeed item as soon as any further news is available regarding this issue.’

 

06/10/2021 Post-16 Programme of Study display issue

Update from ESS: ‘The ‘Other Courses’ column in the Post-16 Programme of Study table should only be displaying the pupils’ courses when taught in year 12 or above, but in some cases is also displaying courses from the pupils were taught in year 11.  This is a display only issue and has no impact on the data made available to the autumn census.  However, the display issue can cause confusion, so we are developing a patch to exclude the year 11 courses and will make the patch available on request.’

 

06/10/2021 Validation queries 2485Q and 2588Q

ESS have released updated on these errors: ‘These two validation queries are being triggered where a suspension (fixed term exclusion) includes a holiday period.  Obviously, we suspect that this is due to some fault in the DfE’s coding of these two validation queries, but we won’t know for sure until our technical people complete their investigations using a customer dataset.’

 

06/10/2021 Inferring the programme of study withdrawal reason from the learning aims withdrawal reason

‘When the programme of study was extended to cover the same sort of data as previously covered by learning aims, the link between programmes of study and learning aims was relatively weak in comparison to the much stronger structural link introduced for this year’s autumn school census.  When the link was relatively weak we believed that it was unwise for the software to infer programme of study withdrawal reason from the learning aims withdrawal reason.  However, now that the stronger structural link has been introduced by the DfE and backed by extensions to its validation, we believe that some inference would be OK, e.g. if all of a programmes learning aims indicate the same reason for withdrawal it is safe to infer this reason as the reason for withdrawal from the programme.

With the very late and quite large and complex changes introduced by the DfE, we were not able to add this ‘inference’ for this years autumn census.  However, it is certainly something we intend to introduce for next year’s autumn census.’

 

04/10/2021 Validation error 5130: Postcode is not required for off roll pupils without programme aims

The most likely reason for this validation being triggered is that a post-16 leaver has not been assigned a Post-16 Programme of Study.  The absence of a Post-16 Programme of Study can be checked via the Programme of Study and Learnings Aims detail report.

The most likely reason for this validation being triggered for all post-16 leavers is that menu route Tools | Academic Management | Course Manager | Post-16 Programme of Study had not been used to identify Post-16 Programmes of Study.

 

04/10/2021 Populate from Exams in Update Prior Attainment

ESS have posted the following:

‘As you probably know, where GCSE Maths and or GSCE English Language results are only available as ‘external’ results, there are not enough details available for ‘Populate from Exams’ to calculate whether the necessary attainment was achieved by the end of year 11.  As in previous autumn censuses, the school will need to manually enter this achievement for each pupil in this position.

However, some schools have pointed out that, where this achievement was entered in last year’s census, it would be helpful for the software to bring through the achievement data entered last year, as it would only have changed for this year if it was entered incorrectly in last year’s census.  We are looking into the possibility of providing a patch to bring through the achievement data from last year, where appropriate.’

 

04/10/2021  No Learning Aims reported in the Learning Aims Details report

ESS have released the following information regarding learning aims not pulling through to the ‘Learning Aims Details report’:

‘When the DfE added programmes of study to the autumn census, post-16 programmes of study were recorded separately to learning aims, along with an identifier in each learning aims to identify its post-16 programme.  This meant the learning aims could continue to be recorded in the census, even if this programme identifier was missing.  For this year’s autumn census the DfE has moved learning aims so they are recorded directly as part of the pupil’s post-16 programme of study.

This means that where a school has not set the post-16 programme of study for a pupil that pupil’s learning aims cannot be included in the census.  Hence, if no pupils’ post-16 programmes of study have been set, no learning will be included in the census and the learning aims detail reports will reflect this by reporting no learning aims.

The solution to ‘no learning aims reported in the learning aims details report’ is to set post-16 programmes of study via menu route Tools | Academic Management | Course Manager | Post-16 Programme of Study and then re-run Create and Validation in the census application.’

 

30/09/2021 Fileset 1904

Fileset 1904 has been released by ESS. This has been applied to hosted schools.

Please see this FAQ for more information.

29/09/2021 Validation rules 3005 and 3015

ESS have released the following guidance regarding these errors and fileset 1904.

‘Having contacted the DfE about these validation rules, we now understand that they are being triggered for pupils who left in the previous academic year, when taught in year 12 or above, because the DfE still require the attainment in year 11 for such pupils.  So the problem can be resolved by the adding back in two of the fields we previously removed via Fileset 1903 to be in line with the original version of DfE validation rule 1897.

Although the situation is difficult to describe, it can be fully resolved via Fileset 1904 without any significant delay in our provision of Fileset 1904.  The only impact for customers is that schools with sixth forms must import Fileset 1904 before creating an authorised return for upload to the DfE.

As is always the case, it makes no difference what fileset in the 1900 series has previously been imported by a school, as long as schools with sixth form import Fileset 1904 when it becomes available.

28/09/2021 Fileset 1904 – ESS have released the following information about this new fileset. This bulletin will be updated when this is released.

Fileset 1904 will include version 2122.1.1 of the DfE validation files.  These updates validation files from the DfE provide the following changes to validation.

Validation rule 4010 has been added and will provide the following message if triggered.

Post 16 learner funding and monitoring information should not be provided from schools which do not have a phase of ‘AT’, ‘SS’ or ‘PR’

Although we believe that the SIMS software could never trigger this validation error, we will be providing some suitable solution text.

Validation rule 4011 has been added and will provide the following message if triggered.

Due to the pupil’s age they are not eligible for repeat year funding

We will be providing some suitable solution text.

Validation rule 4007 has been amended to include all phases where it should be applied and to ensure that it is always identified as a query.

Validation rule 4008 has been amended to ensure that it is always identified as a query.

Validation rule 1897 has been amended so that it is is only triggered where one of the following tags has been included for a pupil who left during academic year 2020/21 when taught in year 12 or above.  In our census application this will mean that the validation error is no longer incorrectly triggered for all pupils who left during academic year 2020/21 when taught in year 12 or above.

  • Qualification hours for the current year
  • Non qualification hours for the current year
  • Current highest prior attainment in GCSE Maths
  • Current highest prior attainment in GCSE English
  • Current funding exemption for GCSE Maths
  • Current funding exemption for GCSE English

 

27/09/2021 Fileset 1903

Fileset 1903 has been released by ESS, this will be applied across all hosted schools tonight, more information can be found here.

24/09/2021  DfE validation rule 1897

ESS has examined the DfE coding for their latest validation files (version 2122.1.1) and believe that the revised 1897 rule can now be described as follows.

Where post-16 pupils are included in the return file who left the school before 31/07/2021, the following tags should not be reported for them.

    • Qualification hours for the current year
    • Non qualification hours for the current year
    • Current highest prior attainment in GCSE Maths
    • Current highest prior attainment in GCSE English
    • Current funding exemption for GCSE Maths
    • Current funding exemption for GCSE English

Version 2122.1.1 of the DfE validation and summary report files will be made available to schools via Fileset 1904, which will be provided ASAP after providing  Fileset 1903.  Secondary schools may well opt for moving directly to Fileset 1904 rather than importing both Fileset 1903 and Fileset 1904.

23/09/2021 Fileset 1903 – release date TBA

ESS have released the following information:

‘Fileset 1901 is not suitable for authorising School Census Autumn 2021 as it includes last academic year’s validation and summary report files.

Fileset 1902 will be suitable for authoring School Census Autumn 2021, except for schools with pupils taught in year 12 or above. Now that this year’s DfE validation is included, you will find that validation error 1897 will be triggered for pupils who leave before census reference date when taught in year 12 or above.  This is because we are including prior attainment for pupils in year 12 of above who left the school before the census reference date, which is incorrect.

Fileset 1903 will be suitable for authorising School Census Autumn 2021 in all cases, including where pupils left when taught in year 12 or above.

Please note: We understand that the DfE is in the final stages of creating revised validation files and we are likely either to delay Fileset 1903, so we can include the revised DfE validation files, or provide Fileset 1903 without the revised DfE validation files and create Fileset 1904 to provide the revised DfE validation files.  Each of these two possible approaches has advantages and disadvantages, but the final decision is likely to be determined by when the DfE can provide the new version of its validation files to suppliers.’

22/09/2021 Fileset 1902

Fileset 1902 has been released by ESS and this has been applied across the hosted platform. For more information please see our FAQ

 

16/9/2021 Updating Funding and Monitoring

The pupil level Update Funding and Monitoring functionality is provided to enable schools to record aspects of the Education Recovery Package required by the DfE.

The data is collected for the first time in the School Census Autumn 2021 Return.

For more information on this please see our FAQ

16/09/2021 Fileset 1902

ESS have released information about fileset 1902:

‘As you know, Fileset 1901 will provide the SIMS files needed for our updated version of the School Census Autumn 2021 application, but will not contain the updated baseline version of the DfE validation and summary report files, as they have not been provided by the DfE in time for inclusion.  Our plan is to provide these updated DfE baseline files via Fileset 1902 on 22nd September, but this release date is contingent on the DfE providing the baseline files today (10/09/2021).  The DfE has provided files today and has referred to them as the baseline files, but when we open the files we find that they indicate a beta version.  We have therefore asked the DfE to confirm that they are the baselines and. if they are the baseline files, to modify them to indicate baseline rather than beta. If the DfE can deal with this anomaly quickly, we can remain on course to provide Fileset 1902 on the 22nd of September.’

16/09/2021 Workstation Patch 1 – for Autumn 2021 Census

Due to late changes by the Department for Education to the Common Basic Data Set for the School Census.  ESS have issued Workstation Patch 1 which will need to be applied to all schools SIMS databases prior to completion of the Autumn 2021 Census. The patch is also reliant on importing Fileset 1901 immediately after applying the patch.

Scomis will apply this workstation patch and import the 1901 fileset to all SIMS databases held on our Hosted Platform on 17th September 2021. Please log out of SIMS by 6:30pm.

We will also make Workstation Patch 1 and fileset 1901 available to all locally hosted SIMS Schools through Solus3 at 4pm on 17th September, 2021.  As always we remind all locally hosted schools to ensure a full back up is taken prior to applying the patch.

More information about the workstation patch can be found here.

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

Update Funding and Monitoring

Useful Documentation

DfE Validations and SIMS Solutions

Preparing for the School Census Autumn 2021 Return (English Nursery, Primary and Special phase)

Preparing for the School Census Autumn 2021 Return (English Secondary phase schools) (scomis.org)

Preparing Post 16 Data for the School Census Autumn 2021 Return (scomis.org)

Producing the School Census Autumn 2021 Return (English Primary/Middle deemed Primary schools)

Producing the School Census Autumn 2021 Return (English Secondary/Middle deemed Secondary Schools) (scomis.org)

Producing the School Census Autumn 2021 Return (English All-Through Schools) (scomis.org)

Producing the School Census Autumn 2021 Return (English Special schools)

Producing the School Census Autumn 2021 Return (English Pupil Referral Units) (scomis.org)

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