1st May 2018

Using HR software to simplify your School Workforce Census return

If you're struggling with your academy's school workforce census (SWF) then you're not alone. 

Academies are now responsible for the submission and approval of their own returns to the Department for Education (DfE) and have reported that they find this process difficult and hugely time consuming. To address this Civica has developed automated reporting in their HR & Payroll for Education software that covers not only the SWF but also the Staff Individualised Record (SIR) and Single Central Record (SCR), streamlining both the creation and submission of these reports. 

What is the school workforce census?

The school workforce census is a statutory data collection each autumn under sections 113 and 114 of the Education Act 2005. It collects detailed individual-level data for all teaching and support staff in regular employment, including those employed by:

  • local authorities on central contracts
  • maintained schools
  • academies
  • free schools
  • studio schools
  • university technical colleges
  • pupil referral units

Why is it done?

The SWF allows the DfE to:

  • review the success of equal opportunities policies
  • monitor the qualification levels of the workforce
  • plan headteacher succession guidelines
  • develop better staff recruitment and retention strategies
  • identify potential demand for teaching staff in schools

Who has to complete it?

Local authorities are responsible for co-ordinating the submission and approval of returns by all maintained schools within their authority, as well as submitting returns for centrally-employed school staff. Academies are responsible for the submission and approval of their own returns, and collecting all the necessary data to support it.

What information needs to be collected and how can Civica help?

The census collects individual staff data including:

  • personal details, such as ethnicity, gender and disability
  • contract or service agreements, including pay
  • qualifications
  • curriculum areas taught
  • absences
  • destination for those leaving employment during the year

Civica’s HR software for Education not only records all the information required but ensures that it is in the exact format required by DfE on the SWF (supporting the Common Basic Data Set (CBDS)). 

Making sure your data is error-free

Civica’s HR software for schools includes some nifty tools to help you validate your data. This means you can quickly identify any errors and put them right before you submit your return to the DfE. 

Submitting your data

Census data is submitted to DfE using COLLECT (Collections Online - Learners, Education, Children and Teachers), a centralised data collection and management system. Civica HR software produces a file that schools can submit directly into COLLECT.

HR & Payroll for Education

HR and payroll solutions focused on the needs of schools, academies and colleges and driven by a strong user community.

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