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SIMS Census Campaign

By 22nd September 2021November 23rd, 2021No Comments

Could we please draw your attention to the following important school Census information. Please forward this email to the relevant person in school who deals with your Census. We would always 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.

You must have had the latest SIMS Release 7.200 applied, imported the latest which is currently Fileset 1902 and also applied the Consolidated Workstation Patch 1 via SOLUS3. The Fileset has been released to all schools via SOLUS and is also available to download from our customer portal ( along with instructions on how to download and apply it.

For Post 16 schools we are expecting Fileset 1903, school cannot authorise the return until this has been released, we will let you know as soon as it is made available.

Census Dates

Summer Census Date: Thursday 7th October 2021

Return date for DFE: Wednesday 3rd November 2021

Free School Meal Eligibility collection period: 21/05/2021 to 07/10/2021 (NB Please ensure that all pupils have this recorded this in the Dietary Panel on the Pupil/Student record)

Attendance Collection period: 05/04/2021 to 31/07/2021

Exclusions Collection period: 01/01/2021 to 31/07/2021

Learner Support collected from: 01/08/20 to 07/10/2021 (Post 16 schools only)

Training and Guidance

We have updated all the latest guidance and it is available to download from the Customer Portal ( via Knowledge base / Categories / Census. Please keep checking the customer portal ( and the website newsfeed ( for updates on the latest fileset required for the census.

We are also running courses for those completing the census in SIMS on the following dates. If you have never run a census before we would urge you to book onto a course as school funding depends on the accuracy of the census.

Primary                   4th October AM and 27th September AM

Secondary              28th September AM and 4th October PM

Post 16                    1st, 6th & 15th October Full Day

Course Manager     29th September & 13th October

To book a place please go to If the course you wish to attend is full please send an email to to see if there is an alternative date or we can accommodate you. If we have enough interest we will schedule extra dates.

We have also created a Distance learning course for Course Manager to ensure you are ready ahead of the Post 16 Census. We highly recommend delegates have good experience of course manager before attending the post 16 course.

FREE Webinar Week

We are running Free best practice webinars part of our new webinar week coming soon. These sessions cover a range of topics on SIMS and Arbor and will last up to 1 hour. We will cover an update on the Census in SIMS on the following dates. These session will provide an update and are not a training course.

  • Primary               11th October 9.30 AM
  • Secondary          12th October 9.30 AM
  • Post-16               14th October 9.30 AM

To book a place please go to

Workstation Patch 1 

As you may know the DfE have introduced a new section in the XML return file, which they refer to as FAM (Funding and Monitoring), for collecting the funding and monitoring data required for the DfE education recovery initiative.  ESS have  provided data entry/editing in line with this DfE structure via adding a new Update Funding and Monitoring menu route in Tools | Statutory Returns Tools.

The Tools | Statutory Returns Tools | Update Funding and Monitoring menu route will provide data entry and editing functionality for the following new pupil fields.  The two post-16 fields will not be relevant to primary schools, so we are looking to hide these fields when the new menu route is used by a primary school.

  • 16-19 Tuition Fund
  • Repeating Year 13
  • School Led Tutoring
  • Cumulative Hours for School Led Tutoring as at Autumn Census
  • Cumulative Hours for School Led Tutoring as at Spring Census
  • Cumulative Hours for School Led Tutoring as at Summer Census

The list of pupils will be restricted to those who are on roll on the relevant census reference date plus pupils who left between 01/08/2021 and the relevant census reference date (inclusive).

Filters will be included to identify particular groups of pupils who are likely to be involved with particular aspects of the education recovery funding, e.g. Deprivation Pupil Premium.

The following are some screen mock-ups to give you an idea of how this will look.

Collection of School Attendance Information (Not applicable to Nursery Schools)

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)

Changes to Exclusions Terminology (Not applicable to Nursery schools)

Tools | Lookups | Maintain

The DfE is changing exclusions terminology:

·         ‘Permanent exclusion’ is remaining.

·         ‘Fixed period exclusion’ is changing to ‘Suspension’.

·         ‘Lunchtime exclusion’ is changing to ‘Lunchtime suspension’.

To accommodate this change, amendments have been made to the Exclusion Type lookup in SIMS.

One code has been added: SUSP – Suspension.

One description has been changed: RFIX – Reinstated from Fixed Period/Suspension.

Schools are required to record suspensions from September 2021 in preparation for the forthcoming returns:

·         Both fixed term exclusions and suspensions will be collected in the School Census Spring 2022 Return.

·         Suspensions only will be collected from the School Census Summer 2022 Return.

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

Change to the Student Ethnicity

Lookup Tools | Lookups | Maintain

WNIR – White – Northern Irish has been provided as an additional extended code and has been added to the student Ethnicity lookup. This new code maps to the main code of WBRI – White – British.

School Arranged Alternative Provision Placements

Focus | Pupil | Pupil Details

This new data item can be recorded in the Registration panel of the Pupil Details page from September 2021 in preparation for the first voluntary collection of data in the School Census Spring 2022 Return. The collection period for these placements is from the day after the previous census return to the ‘current’ census day inclusive. In most cases, placement information should be recorded by the school that arranged the placement. The exception to this is where the alternative provision has been arranged by the Local Authority but the pupil remains dual registered with the mainstream school and the Pupil Referral Unit/Alternative Provision school. In such cases, the mainstream school should record the required information.

Reporting School Dinner Taken on Census Day

Full DFE guidance can be obtained via under school lunches taken

SEN Resourced Provision

Detailed guidance can be found under Pupil SEN Provision

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.

Programmes of Study and Learning Aims (Applicable to All-Through and Secondary schools, and Pupil Referral Units only)

The Post-16 Programmes of Study and Learning Aims report replaces the Post-16 Programmes of Study – Programmes Report. Each programme for a student is displayed in the new report with a light yellow background. The associated learning aims are displayed below the programme.

Learning Aims Panel (Applicable to All-Through and Secondary schools, and Pupil Referral Units only)

  • The new Programme Type column displays the programme type values from the Programmes of Study screen (via Tools| Academic Management | Course Manager | Post-16 Programmes of Study). The additional column has been provided to enable the same learning aim to be reported in two different programmes and to enable users to distinguish between the two based on the programme type. This additional column is read only.
  • The Add Learning Aim wizard now provides the functionality to add a Programme Type to a new Learning Aim record (displayed in the Learning Aims panel only).

Post 16 Return 2021 (Wales Only)

WG list of providers and programmes

Two actions are needed to put in place this year’s list of WG providers and programmes.

  1. Apply database patch 26716 to add this year’s list of WG providers and programmes to the SIMS database.  This database patch was withdrawn for a short time while an issue with the names of programmes was resolved (big hyphens were being shown as question marks), but is now available again.
  2. Import Fileset 1901 to update the WG validation and summary report to take account of this year’s list of WG providers and programmes.

We recommend that both of the two actions described above are completed before authorising the Post-16 Return 2021.

Create & Validate Routine

When creating and validating the return, a message is displayed if there are permanent exclusions during the collection period without a corresponding final governor review result.

The message advises the user to check whether the permanent exclusions are ongoing and allows them to cancel or continue with the process.

If you require any assistance please contact the helpdesk on 03452226802 or