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Autumn Census update from ESS

By 21st October 2022No Comments
Dear Colleague,

Please find below the latest Autumn Census update from ESS. If the census is not your area of responsibility please forward onto the relevant person in school.

We have had the unfortunate news that consolidated Patch 2 27613 for the Autumn Census in SIMS has been delayed with the following statement from ESS:

Updated 19/10/2022 18:00 CDP (Consolidated Database Patch) 2 for SIMS Summer Release 2022 (Patch 27613) – Not yet available
An aspect of this patch is proving to take longer than we predicted to finalise, so that it now looks likely that the release date will be next week (week beginning 24/10/2022). We will provide a more precise estimate for the release date as soon as this is available.

We appreciate this is not the news we were all hoping for with most of the school will be on the half term break.  As soon as the patch is out we will release to all schools.

What does the patch do?

The Patch is not required for all schools but will be required if you are experiencing any of the following issues with your census validation:

  1. Where a student has a missing reason for withdrawing from one or more of their learning aims, clicking on Calculate Programme of Study will fail with a ‘Subquery returned more than 1 value ..’ error message. This will also happen if Calculate Programme of Study is clicked when multiple students have been selected and one or more of them has one or more instances of missing reason for withdrawal. (England)

Solution: This patch will ensure that clicking on Calculate Programme of study will not fail when one of more pupils have one or more learning aim withdrawals with a missing reason for withdrawal.

  1. Where a leaver has nothing to report in School Census Autumn 2022 except suspension data for the spring term, they should still be included in the census return file, but they are not. (England). This is triggering validation error TONT14C when uploading to COLLECT

Solution: This patch ensures that leavers with nothing to report in School Census Autumn 2022 except suspension data for the spring term are included in the census return file.

  1. Where a student who had repeated year 13 during academic year 2021/22 and left the school at the end of that academic year, some of the relevant learning aims data was not being included in the return file. This triggers DfE validation error 1887. (England)

The software assumes that when a post-16 year is to be ‘repeated’, it has previously been ‘completed’. Although this is true in most cases, it is not true in all cases. In some cases, the student left the school when previously taught in the year, with both the programme of study and its learning aims set to ‘withdrawn’. In such cases, it is not necessary to ‘split’ the programme and its learning aims and the software’s attempt to do so can cause anomalies. (England)

However, ESS now understand that schools are allowing students to repeat a year for COVID-19 reasons when the student has been re-admitted to the school having left the previous year. In these circumstances the programmes and learning aims will be naturally ‘discontinuous’ between the ‘normal’ and ‘repeated’ years and the ‘splitting’ procedure should not be applied.

ESS are now creating a fix that will ensure that where a ‘repeater’ left the year they were/are repeating before that year was ‘completed’, they are reported as having previous programmes and learning aims with a finish date in line with the date they left and a completion status of ‘withdrawn’.

This fix will be helpful for avoiding several validation errors, including 1887, 2760 and 2761.
They are hoping to be able to include this fix in Consolidated Database Patch 2, but we may have to provide the fix in a Consolidated Database Patch 3, if including the patch in Consolidated Database Patch 2 endangers its planned release
Solution: This patch ensures that all relevant learning aims data is included for leavers who repeated year 13 and thereby avoids the triggering of validation error 1887 (and any related validation).
Solution: Where a post-16 year is ‘repeated’ and the programme and its learning aims are already separated from the programme and its learning aims from the original year, we no longer make any attempt to ‘split’ the programme and its learning aims, thereby avoiding several possible validation errors, including 1887, 2760 and 2761
ESS have also outlined below:-
”Please note that we are dealing with a number of cases where schools have set the end date for post-16 classes in August or September. This is very unwise, as it is likely to lead to learning aims and programmes being expected to end in August or September. As has been the case since learning aim data was added to School Census in 2007, providing end dates in August or September indicates an additional year for a programme, with the distinct risk of reduced DfE funding.  In addition, for School Census Autumn 2022, end dates in August and September are making it very difficult for our software to cope with the complex task of reporting COVID-19 related repeating of years in the way specified by the DfE.
As I understand it, class end dates in August or September are easily avoided by setting the working academic year to finish in July when allocating students to classes.”

The final deadline for submission to the DfE is Wednesday 2nd November 2022. If you feel you are unable to meet this deadline we would urge you to contact the DfE as soon as possible in order to ask for an extension.