Roll out User Defined Fields (UDFs) from Group MIS

User Defined Fields let you track that little bit of extra information on student, staff or guardian profiles. In this article, you’ll find out how to standardise your UDFs across your trust, while saving lots of set-up time. You can find out more about how UDFs work at a school level here: Using User Defined Fields (UDFs)

We're always looking for ways we can improve on our new features. If you have any feedback on Group UDFs, please submit it here: Group-specific UDFs


You'll need the Group User Defined Fields: Administer permission to be able to roll out UDFs across all your schools. This permission has been given to anyone with the COO, Data manager, Executive head and Senior Management Team business roles, so if someone needs the ability to define UDFs across your MAT you should give them one of these roles.


Before setting up UDFs across your schools

Check all of your schools have agreed to share data at the DfE Data, MIS Data & Group Actions level. You can see how to set this up here



Rolling out UDFs to your schools

The Administration > User Defined Fields page lists all of the UDFs you've already rolled out from the Group MIS. It will not show any UDFs that are only set up on a school site.



Click the Add User Defined Field button to add a new UDF. In the slide over, choose your settings, then click Create.

  • Identifier - An optional field that lets you set an identifier for the field that is different to the name used for the field.
  • Relates to - Select the type of record the user-defined field should be associated with. Select if you would like this field to show on Students, Staff or Guardian profiles, or Educational Institutions.  This cannot be changed once the field has been created.
  • Field Type - Allows you to choose the type of options the field will allow. For example, choose Boolean to set answers to Yes or No. Your options are String, Long text or Boolean. This cannot be changed once the field has been created.
  • Institutions - Which schools would you like to roll the UDF out to?



The UDF will then be set up on the school's sites.



You'll be able to see it on school sites once you log in from System > User Defined Fields.



Editing a User Defined Field on the Group MIS

Click into a User Defined field and click Edit.

  • Change the Field Name or Identifier and click Save Changes to change these values in the UDFs on your school sites.
  • Click Delete to remove the UDF from the Group MIS and from all school sites. Please note this will also delete all the data for this field on school sites and this cannot be restored.



Changing the institutions:

  • If you add a new school to the list then click Save Changes, this will set up the UDF on the school site.
  • If you click the X on a school name to remove it from the list, then click Save Changes, this will remove the UDF from these school sites. Please note this will also delete all the data for this field on these school sites and this cannot be restored.



Click Archive to mark the UDF as not Active on the Group MIS.



When you do this, the UDF will no longer show on school sites. You will no longer be able to view the values on the Group MIS by clicking into the UDF, but you can still report on it in the Custom Report Writer (shown below).



Reporting on UDFs

Exporting UDF values

Once schools have recorded data into the UDFs, click into a UDF from the Administration > User Defined Fields page to Download your data to export to a 3rd party if needed.



Using the Custom Report Writer

You can create a report on your UDFs by going to Analytics > Custom Report Writer and clicking to create a new report.

When choosing your columns, type in the name of a UDF to drag and drop it over into your report.




Can schools edit the UDFs we've rolled out?

No, schools won't be able to edit or delete the UDFs you've rolled out on the school site. They can only fill in the fields for them.



Can we report on UDFs our schools have set up in the Custom Report Writer? 

No, you can only report on UDFs you've set up at Grup MIS and rolled out to your schools in the Group MIS Custom Report Writer.


Our schools set up their own UDFs. Can we merge them together or copy data from one to another to standardise them?

When you roll out UDFs from your Group MIS, they will be set up on school sites alongside any existing school UDFs, even if they have the same name. We recommend being careful not to name your UDFs the same thing to be able to distinguish old from new.

Although there isn't a migrator, you could download the data from one UDF, copy it over to the UDF import spreadsheet then import it into the Group-defined UDF. You can then delete the old ones from school sites.

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