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Arbor Census Campaign

By 7th May 2021No Comments

Dear Arbor Colleague,

Could we please draw your attention to the following important school census information. We would always advise schools to check the Data Quality Dashboard (School/Data/Data Quality Dashboard) for errors, incomplete data and warnings prior to working on the census. We advise schools to complete a dry run of the census as early as possible to give adequate time to resolve any issues in your data.

We recommend working through Arbor validations prior to DFE Validations and regenerating your Census Dry run as these will resolve some DFE validation errors.  Occasionally there are validation errors which cannot be resolved Arbor should this occur we will inform customers.

Summer Census Date  Thursday 20th May 2021

Free School Meal Eligibility collection period: 22/01/2021 to 20/05/2021 (NB Please ensure that all pupils have this recorded this in the Dietary Panel on the Pupil/Student record )

Attendance Collection period: 01/01/2021 to 04/04/2021

Exclusions Collection period: 01/08/2020 to 04/04/2021

Learner Support collected from: 01/08/20 to 20/05/2021 (Post 16 schools only)

Documentation to assist with preparing and producing the census can be found on our customer portal ( under Knowledgebase/Categories/Census.  If you are unsure of your portal details or would like an account please give the helpdesk a call. You must be logged in to see the documents in the client area.

Collection of School Attendance Information

For schools that use Attendance, data is collected on all categories of school attendance, rather than just absence.

For schools that do not use Attendance, it is possible to record the following information:

  • Total number of sessions attending approved educational activity (This information was also collected in the School Census Spring 2021 Return)
  • Total number of sessions unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances (This information was also collected in the School Census Spring 2021 Return)
  • Total number of sessions unable to attend due to Coronavirus. (This information was also collected in the School Census Spring 2021 Return)


Reminder that for Exclusions that start on or after 01/08/2020 the DfE expects schools to cease the use of ‘other’ as a reason for exclusion.

Up to 3 reasons may be recorded per exclusion from the start of Autumn Term.

The following reasons have been added:

  • Use or threat of use of an offensive weapon or prohibited item
  • Abuse against sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Abuse relating to disability
  • Wilful and repeated transgression of protective measures in place to protect public health

De-Activation of the ‘Other’ Exclusion Reason

NOTE: Permanent exclusions are collected only if a final review exists.

Reporting School Dinner Taken on Census Day

If pupils in years R, 1 and 2 are not attending school on the School Census Summer 2021 census day, schools can now select an alternative date for reporting of school dinners taken between 05/04/2021 and 31/07/2021. In Special schools, this is also applicable to pupils aged between 4 and 6 who are not following the National Curriculum Year X, and pupils born between 1 September 2013 and 31 August 2016 inclusive.

Full DFE guidance can be obtained via–coronavirus-covid-19)

SEN Resourced Provision

Detailed guidance can be found

Schools and academies must only use this indicator where the resourced provision and SEN unit has been formally recognised as such by the local authority where the school is located. The school’s Get Information About Schools (GIAS) record should indicate if the school has resourced provision places.

On the Day Errors

Some errors will remain in your Dry Run as these relate to specific on-the-day data that can only be entered on Census Day, these errors relate to school meals.  Please refer to guidance on our customer portal for more information ( under Knowledgebase/Categories/Census

Please contact us on the helpdesk should you have further questions or require any assistance.