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School Census: The Complete Guide

/ Rory Haynes

The 2022 School Census begins in October.

Ensure your school is prepared for this essential, statutory procedure with Bromcom’s Complete Guide.

Our education experts provide you with all you need to know including key dates for the 2022/23 academic year, how funding is distributed, and where your School MIS can support the process.

What is School Census?

School Census is the electronic collection of data from state-funded education providers. This includes primary schools, secondary schools, special schools, and pupil referral units.

This data covers several key student aspects including, but not limited to:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Postcode

Along with absence and exclusion data, this information is collated and analysed to determine the level of funding schools should receive. Funding is targeted through different channels, all of which are designed to improve outcomes for students.

Schools are typically given a couple of weeks to complete this data collection before processing their final returns to the DfE.

Autumn DfE School Census Deadline to submit

When is School Census?

School Census occurs three times a year, in the autumn, spring, and summer terms.

For the 2022/23 academic year, the dates you need to know are as follows:

Autumn Census

  • Census date – Thursday 06 October 2022
  • Return date – Wednesday 02 November 2022

Spring Census

  • Census date – Thursday 19 January 2023
  • Return date – Wednesday 15 February 2023

Summer Census

  • Census date – Thursday 18 May 2023
  • Return date – Wednesday 14 June 2023

Why is School Census important?

School Census allows education authorities to make sound judgements on funding for individual schools. Considering the entire school demographic and individual student characteristics means funding is divided fairly, with the bigger amounts reaching those schools and students that require it most.

How does School Census funding work?

School Census funding is segmented into the following categories:

Core funding:

Often known as GAG funding for Academies or Formula Funding for Local Authorities, this is assigned per pupil for every academy/school. Core funding incorporates several factors including, area deprivation, low prior attainment, and free school meal (FSM) allocation.

Pupil Premium funding:

Pupil Premium funding narrows the gap for disadvantaged students. Spending can be made on targeted support, additional teaching, or education on topics outside the traditional curriculum. This could include sessions on social interaction or even managing money.

The pot dedicated to Pupil Premium is controlled by the Senior Leadership Team who can distribute at their discretion within the school.

UIFSM funding (universal infant free school meals)

Available to all students in Reception, Year 1, and Year 2 who are not already entitled to FSM (free school meals). UIFSM funding is calculated by the average of school meals provided on both the October and January Census days. For Reception, the two highest Census counts are averaged to create a funding figure.

Early Years funding

Early Years funding targets children between the ages of two and four. While the spring Census decides the initial distribution of the budget, the October one confirms these numbers for the remainder of the academic year. The purpose of Early Years funding is to improve the quality of education, an initiative well documented in recent EYFS updates.

PE and Sports Premium funding

Still better known by some as Olympic Legacy funding, PE and Sports Premium funding is designed to increase the quality of PE in schools. The spring census determines the award of funding, which is based on pupils between the ages of five and ten (Year 1 to Year 6).

Post-16 funding

Post-16 funding supports the provision of further education between the ages of 16 and 19. In part, funding is determined based on subjects studied at a particular school, sixth form, or college.

For more information on how the funding formula works for post-16 education, the government have devised a helpful guide.

How your School MIS can help School Census returns

‘Bromcom’s raison d’être is School Census returns.’

Steve Smith – Census Product Owner

As School Census is a vital, mandatory component of the school calendar, Bromcom have developed a module that makes it easy to compile, assess and modify data.

We attend core supplier meetings throughout the year and work closely with our DfE Census colleagues to address any queries or discuss new features that may have been implemented.

Any changes that are necessary are introduced to Bromcom as swiftly as possible, allowing maximum accuracy when reporting.

Not only do we accommodate the three core Census’ for state-maintained schools, we also have the capability to run:

  • Independent SLASC (School Level Annual School Census)
  • Catholic Education Service Returns

School Census on Bromcom MIS dashboard

The Bromcom Census Dashboard

The Bromcom Census Dashboard allows you to manage the entire Census process from a single point of truth. This strengthens the integrity of your data, as it eradicates the need to manually transfer information from other systems or applications.

At the beginning of Census season, Bromcom’s school MIS allows you to conduct a ‘mock trial’. Here, you can triage any initial data issues and correct where necessary. Again, this process is straightforward, with all student data pulling through from the same software.

Completing this initial ‘mock trial’ gives you confidence that, if there is conflicting data, it can be easily queried and rectified from within Bromcom.

These familiar steps can then be replicated for the final Census return.

When you wish to complete the final return, your data is transmitted accurately, securely and in the appropriate format to COLLECT, the DfE portal responsible for Census returns (this only applies to the mandatory state-maintained school variation).

Have peace of mind knowing your data is in safe hands from start to finish.

Support with School Census

During each Census period, Bromcom offer dedicated Customer Service to guarantee your data is in the right place.

We are laser-focused during these months, making sure your school is providing accurate data to the DfE, meaning you are provided with the resources your need for success.

Additionally, our Bromcom online community marries experienced Bromcom users with industry experts to answer all of your questions on School Census.

If that wasn’t enough, Bromcom continues to offer training, allowing you to maximise your school MIS experience. If you want extra support with Census, this can be provided.

The future of School Census

Finally, we continue to adapt the Bromcom School Census dashboard to ensure compliance with DfE fields, while offering additional functionality for the school user.

We are currently working on introducing customisable Bromcom categories, such as gender. This gives schools more internal flexibility but does not inhibit their ability to submit Census returns with ease.

Looking to change your School MIS?

If you’re school or trust are looking for an easier way to complete Census, why not book a chat with our industry experts?

Discover how our MIS can expedite the analysis of data and ensure accurate reporting to regulatory bodies.

Get in touch today.

/ Rory Haynes