Pupil data: required for funding fields in school census 2016-17

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Education,
with reference to the School Census Guide 2016-17 version 1.3 I would like to better understand the workings of the data entry in the school census, and how the data is needed and stored in perpetuity for use at the Department national level.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

Some items in the census guide indicate [used for funding] after the description.
Where the following fields do not, I would like to know whether or not they are required (at national level only) or to confirm these fields are not required for Departmental funding purposes.

Please can you confirm whether or not the following fields are required returns and whether or not they are required fields to determine a school's receipt of funding:

2.44 School Identifier
4.23 School name

5.24 - 5.28 Pupil name (Pupil surname, pupil forename, prefered name, middle name, former name).

5.34 Country of Birth
5.35 Pupil Nationality
5.7 Home information module (address) All items 5.7 - 5.7.14

"these fields can be left blank or a partial address can be supplied and the validation errors ignored" would indicate that the field cannot be left blank but need not return a valid address.
Is that correct?

Please can you also confirm whether a submission of data in the adddress field 5.71 in the spring 2017 census will overwrite history and the field data already submitted in say spring 2016 at local level, or whether it is date limited and therefore past address data can be interrogated even if a different return is made in the most recent entry?

Thank you for your time and support.

Sincerely,
Jen Persson

Department for Education

Dear Ms Persson

 

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information; the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your
correspondence has been allocated reference number 2016-0048054.

 

Thank
you                                                                     

 

Department for Education

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

Tel: 0370 000 2288

Department for Education

Dear Ms Persson

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 15 October. You requested:

With reference to the School Census Guide 2016-17 version 1.3 I would like to better understand the workings of the data entry in the school census, and how the data is needed and stored in perpetuity for use at the Department national level.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

Some items in the census guide indicate [used for funding] after the description.
Where the following fields do not, I would like to know whether or not they are required (at national level only) or to confirm these fields are not required for Departmental funding purposes.

Please can you confirm whether or not the following fields are required returns and whether or not they are required fields to determine a school's receipt of funding:

• 2.44 School Identifier
• 4.23 School name
• 5.24 - 5.28 Pupil name (Pupil surname, pupil forename, prefered name, middle name, former name).
• 5.34 Country of Birth
• 5.35 Pupil Nationality
• 5.7 Home information module (address) All items 5.7 - 5.7.14 - "these fields can be left blank or a partial address can be supplied and the validation errors ignored" would indicate that the field cannot be left blank but need not return a valid address. Is that correct?

Please can you also confirm whether a submission of data in the adddress field 5.71 in the spring 2017 census will overwrite history and the field data already submitted in say spring 2016 at local level, or whether it is date limited and therefore past address data can be interrogated even if a different return is made in the most recent entry?

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”).

Provided below are answers to each of the questions you have raised in your original request for information.

Q1 - Some items in the census guide indicate [used for funding] after the description. Where the following fields do not, I would like to know whether or not they are required (at national level only) or to confirm these fields are not required for Departmental funding purposes.

The school census is the department’s primary source of administrative data about pupils attending schools in England. The data collected is vital in supporting a number of the Department’s strategic objectives and is widely used for the purpose of improving, and promoting, the education or well-being of children in England. The analysis of individual pupil records by the Department:
• Supports the drive to increase accountability and raise standards - e.g. through the school performance tables
• Provides accurate targeting of funding - approximately £40 billion of funding is allocated based on the pupil level data returned via the school census
• Allows the Department to identify where individuals who share particular characteristics experience educational challenges and put in place policies to advance equality of opportunity for those individuals; and
• Provides a robust evidence base to support the development and evaluation of wider government policy relating to education

The published school census guide<https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...> contains details of all the information required by the Department as part of the census and where a data item is directly used for the purposes of school funding that is indicated as such within the guide. Where a required data item is not directly used for school funding, the data will still be required as part of the census (unless indicated otherwise within the guide) and will support one of the other purposes listed above.

Q2 - Please can you confirm whether or not the following fields are required returns and whether or not they are required fields to determine a school's receipt of funding:

a.) 2.4.4 School Identifiers and b.) 4.23 School name

School identifiers (including local authority number, departmental establishment number and school name) are required data items and are used for funding purposes. Without school identifiers we would not know who the returned data belongs to and would not be able to ensure that the correct funding allocation is made to the correct school.

c.) 5.24 - 5.28 Pupil name (pupil surname, pupil forename, prefered name, middle name, former name)

The names of individual pupils are required data items but are not, currently, directly used for allocating school funding; but the information is required to match the pupil’s attainment information from awarding bodies which feeds into performance tables at school level.

d.) 5.34 Country of Birth and e.) Pupil Nationality

Parents /guardians (or the child) are able to decline to provide pupil country of birth and / or pupil nationality. In such situations schools must return this information as refused within the school census. Country of birth and nationality are not currently used for allocating school funding.

f.) Home information module

Pupil address is a required data item and are used for funding purposes. Local authorities are required to use a deprivation factor within their local funding formula and many use a factor based on the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) which is dependent on addresses.

Whilst address is a required data item, we do recognise that in some cases either the address cannot be provided or only a partial address can be returned (for example, children at risk or children whose current abode may not have a full address (e.g. canal boats, caravans)). Hence, as stated in the school census guide, in ‘exceptional circumstances’ a partial address or no address may be accepted.

Q3 - Please can you also confirm whether a submission of data in the adddress field 5.71 in the spring 2017 census will overwrite history and the field data already submitted in say spring 2016 at local level, or whether it is date limited and therefore past address data can be interrogated even if a different return is made in the most recent entry?

The data collected via each termly school census is held in the national pupil database. As the national pupil database is a longitudinal database, no data is replaced, which includes address details; all modules of the census are retained.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can be also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by a government department or agency will be protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be re-used under the Open Government Licence (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives website -http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor... .

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining permission from a third party see the Intellectual Property Office’s website at www.ipo.gov.uk<http://www.ipo.gov.uk/>.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Regards

Melanie Armstrong
Data Development Unit (DDU)
Education Data Division (Operations)
01325 340419

Department for Education
2nd Floor Riverside
Bishopgate House
Darlington
DL1 5QE

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