Check your data

Department For Education

February 18
12:55 2020

When you submit your school census data on COLLECT, the system runs a number of validation checks against the data. It will highlight any errors or queries in red against the relevant data item.

Youll get an error when data rules are broken, for example:

  • the return contains an illegal character
  • a value may be out of range
  • data is missing

You must correct all errors.

You will get a query where the data is unusual or unexpected which could mean an inaccuracy or omission in the data, for example where:

  • no pupils are reported as having special educational needs
  • there is a probability of data being omitted such as permanent exclusions

You must investigate all queries and either:

  • amend the data
  • provide suitable notepad explanations in COLLECT

Your software may contain data checks, which will help you to identify and correct errors and inconsistencies in your data before it generates your school census return.

Along with the school summary, errors and queries, there are a number of reports in COLLECT which you should use to check your data.

Viewing your errors and queries

You can view the errors and queries from within (or once youve opened) the school census return in COLLECT.

  1. Click on all errors at the top of the screen to see a list of all errors and queries relating to your return.

  2. Click on the details button to see which data items the validation is checking. If you click on one of the underlined fields, you will see the corresponding data item in the return.

There are 2 levels of errors, return level and data item level. Return level errors relate to your whole return rather than an individual data item.

Correcting errors

You can identify which data contains the incorrect value by clicking on the field value in the details section in COLLECT.

To resolve errors we recommend that schools correct the data in their management information system (MIS), then reload their data collection file to COLLECT, overwriting the incorrect one.

Adding explanation notes for queries

You need to provide explanatory information for individual queries as a note on COLLECT. All queries need an explanation but you can enter one note to cover numerous queries.

You can add notes in the return level notes section. COLLECT guides for schools and local authorities are available for assistance.

  1. To add a return level note double click on the pen or notepad (where there is already a note present) icon in the return level notes section.

  2. Click add new note.

  3. Type the error or query number along with your explanation in the box provided, ensuring you provide an explanation for all of your unresolvable errors and queries.

  4. Click create to save your notes. Once saved, you are unable to edit the note however, you can add further notes to supplement throughout the collection.

List of COLLECT queries and explanatory notes to help you complete the school census

COLLECT reports

The school census data will be used to finalise 2020 to 2021 funding allocations. It is important that you check the accuracy of your schools returns before you submit them.

There are a number of reports in COLLECT which you should use to check your data.

You can access your reports using the launch reports button on the school source page of COLLECT. Some reports only get updated overnight.

Find out how to run these reports in the COLLECT guides for schools and local authorities.

Available COLLECT reports

Pupil number report

Provides a headcount of your pupils by NC year group, headcount of your pupils minus subsidiary registrations and the number of pupils that will be used in numerous funding streams and therefore will account for funded and extended hours and unresolved duplicate UPNs.

Duplicate unique pupil number (UPN) and duplicate pupil report

The duplicate UPN report shows any pupils appearing on your census and that of another school where there is an invalid combination of enrolment statuses. Your funding may be affected if these remain unresolved at database closure.

The duplicate pupil report identifies pupils whose personal details are the same but the UPN differs.

Free school meals (FSM) report

Allows schools to check the FSM eligibility data submitted in their census return. This report only refers to FSM eligibility reported in the current census and not the FSM ever measure used to allocate the pupil premium.

Universal infant free school meals

Provides a breakdown of the infant pupils that we will use in the universal infant free school meals funding calculation.

Zero funded hours

Highlights the number of early years pupils who have zero funded hours recorded on the school census return. We use funded hours to calculate the early years block of the dedicated schools grant.

Pupil premium

Allows schools to check and verify the data in their spring school census, which will feed into the deprivation, service child and post looked after children report elements of the pupil premium allocation.

Early years pupil premium

Allows schools to check and verify the data in their spring school census, which we use for the early years pupil premium allocations.

Post-16 funding reports

Schools will also be able to access a series of ESFA funding reports in the autumn census. These reports show schools the data we will use for our post-16 funding calculations:

  • funded student summary report
  • student detail report
  • 16 to 19 maths and English GCSE status by student

Duplicate report guidance

Duplicate reports indicate pupils who are registered at more than one school.

These reports look for duplicates across all pupils on roll in the current school census only. Reports will not look for duplicates between the school census and any other pupil level collections, such as the alternative provision census and early years census.

Duplicate report: same UPN

A unique pupil number (UPN) identifies each individual learner in England. Learners UPNs are intended to remain with them throughout their school career regardless of any change in school or local authority.

A duplicate UPN is one where more than one pupil registration shares the same UPN and the registrations sharing the UPN have an invalid combination of enrolment statuses.


A pupil where the same UPN is recorded against 2 registrations with a main registration (M) at one school and a subsidiary registration (S) at another school is not a duplicate UPN. This is because it is a valid combination of enrolment status for dual registered pupils.

M and S is the only valid combinations of pupil enrolment status codes for pairs of duplicate UPNs.

As unresolved duplicates will impact on funding allocations such as the dedicated schools grant and pupil premium, we expect local authorities, non-maintained special schools, academies and CTCs to work together to determine whether the pupils identified in this report are indeed the same pupil.

Find a code to indicate pupil enrolment status.

Reports available

Local authority reports

Local authorities can access reports through COLLECT showing:

  • all pupils where a duplicate UPN has been identified within your own authority only
  • all pupils where a duplicate UPN has been identified within your authority and also in another authority

School reports

Each individual school will be able to run a duplicate report showing all pupils within their school where a duplicate

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