Preparing for the school census

For links to other useful guides, webinars and bookable support slots with our Support Team, click here

Changes this census

There are no changes from the last school census (spring census).

For guidance from the DfE on changes to the census, click here, or for further information detailing what data your school must return in the census, click here.

Attendance data

The DfE is collecting data from the Spring term (1/1/21 to 4/4/21) on all categories of attendance (rather than just absences) for all schools except nursery.

Only Z (Pupil Not On Roll) and # (School Closed To All Pupils) codes are not collected. For more information about the attendance codes in Arbor, see this article: Attendance codes and how they count towards statutory attendance

Exclusion and Free School Meal data

Exclusion data is collected for between 1/8/20 and 4/4/21 - see how to record this correctly here.

Free School Meal Eligibility is collected for between 22/1/21 and 20/5/21 - see how to record this correctly here.


Preparing your data

Before the Dry Run facility opens, you can start preparing for Census using these three key areas:

  1. Check your recorded School Details by going to School > School Details.
  2. Check for duplicate student profiles in the Suspected Duplicates section
  3. Add and update basic details in the Students > Identity and Students > Demographics sections. Just click a cell to add the data!
Preparing your school data

Check your recorded School Details by going to School > School Details. Ensure that your LA is filled in, Establishment Number, School telephone number and email address, Intake Gender, School phase, School type, Governance type, Intake type and URN all have information present (especially important to check if you have recently become an Academy).


Merge or delete any duplicate students

You can see a list of potential duplicate students in School > Data > Data Quality Dashboard >Suspected Duplicates > Students.

You can then merge or delete these. Take a look at this article to see how to do this.


Check data for students

To check that all students have information entered for key Census fields, go to School > Data > Data Quality Dashboard > Students.

Top Tip: You’ll need the School: General Admin: Administer permission to access this area. If you don’t have permission, ask your office team to give it to you using these instructions.

Religion, country of birth and nationality are not reported in the census, so these fields are not required.



Assign UPN - Make sure all students have a UPN. If a student has no UPN against their profile they will show up in the list here. To generate a UPN for a student, use the bulk actions. 



To assign a known UPN to a student, add this from the Identity section of their student profile.



Update Basic Details - This allows you to quickly check that you have filled in some key information regarding students. To add or change any of the information, just click on the cell you wish to edit and a slide over will appear where you can add or update the correct information. For example, to add an Ethnicity source, select the students then select Bulk Set Ethnicity to choose the source. 



For Nursery years: Update Funded Hours - Clicking on this will take you to a table that contains hours and funding information required in the School Census for Early Years and Nursery students. This data is not reported for 4-years-olds in Reception, so Reception students are not included in the table. For each individual student the number of funded hours allowed depends on the student's age and NC year.

Please note, for students that are not entitled to extended hours paid for by the government, do not enter anything into the Extended hours field. Hours paid for by the child’s parents or the school should only contribute to the Hours at setting total.

You can update an individual student’s hours by clicking on their name. You’ll need to ask the parents if you do not know a child’s code.



You can also add some information in bulk, but you will still need to add the codes in by clicking on the students. 



For students 11+: Update YSSA - If you have post-16 students whose information you are sharing with Connexions etc make sure that this is noted in the Youth Support Services Agreement section.bulk_yssa.png


If you’re not requesting this information, you can mark your students as Unsaught.


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