School Workforce Census 2021

We are approaching yet another census, this time it is the School Workforce Census. This will take place on Thursday 4th November 2021.
At a desk in the school office, a man points at the computer, whilst a woman looks at the screen.
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School Workforce Census Updates

Well done if you have survived the last school census, it has been a hectic one with last minute validation rules and patches to fix patches!

We are approaching yet another census, this time it is the School Workforce Census. This will take place on Thursday 4th November 2021.

In this blog, we will discuss the key data required for this census. This year, schools are expected to submit the SWC, with data that was not necessary last year, reinstated.

  • Staff Absence data: required for teachers and teaching assistants employed directly by schools, for the previous academic year (1st September 2020 – 31st August 2021).
  • Qualification data – Information is required on the type and subject specialism(s) of certain qualifications held by all teachers and by support staff in regular service.
  • Date of last pay review – Latest Pay Review for teaching staff ONLY
  • Vacancies – On census day, you need to add in the vacancies that are currently open at your school. All fields, including the Subject and Tenure fields, are being collected this year.
  • Third-party support staff headcount – On census day, you need to add in headcount numbers for occasional teaching staff and third party support staff are both required.

A flow diagram to help schools decide which staff should be included in the School Workforce Census.


Most schools have one or more designated SENDCOs, you will need to define them in the ‘Role field’ . If this is left blank it will trigger 6550Q (At least one staff record in this school’s return should show a role of SENCO (SEN Co-ordinator) under a current contract)

(1) If SENCO shared across more than one establishment, please provide note recording DfE number of school where SENCO has reported.

(2) OR (2) Please add the role of SENCO to the appropriate open teacher contract. (Please note, you may need to add an additional role to do this.)

(3) OR (3) Special schools should add a note to advise they are a special school (and a single post of SENCO is therefore inappropriate).

Newly Qualified Teachers

Schools are required to return the Newly Qualified Teacher field for all contracted teachers and agency or service agreement teachers. It is not required for teaching assistants, non teaching staff or other support staff.

This field will be used to allocate funding to teachers who are in the second year of induction. Only teachers with QTS, rather than QTLS or EYTS, should be regarded as Newly Qualified Teachers for this field

This field is intended to identify Early Career Teachers in the first or second year of their induction, so is not expected to be returned for staff without a teaching post.

Three values are available for entering in this field:

  • ‘NQT1’, indicating a teacher in the first year of induction
  • ‘NQT2’, indicating a teacher in the second year of induction
  • ‘NotNQT’, indicating all other teachers SIMS will default this field to ‘Not an NQT’ and for schools to need to manually set the field to ‘NQ T1’ or ‘NQT2’ if necessary.

A screenshot of the submission of the school workforce census.

The submission of the school workforce census return, including a set of individual staff records, is a statutory requirement on schools and LAs by virtue of regulations SI2007/1264 and amendment SI2009/2266 made under sections 113 and 114 of the Education Act 2005.

We know how busy it is, this time of the year for all school administrators and Business managers, we offer remote consultancy to ensure that the preparation of the school’s census return runs smoothly. This will include preparation and creation of the School Census return.

  • A SIMS consultant will help you to prepare SIMS for the School
  • During the service you will receive immediate expert guidance and support tailored to your specific school’s census return
  • Save administration time and costs.
  • Timely completion of the statutory return.
  • Any software issues can be identified and addressed early.
  • If you are new to school you can be confident that the correct procedures are being followed.

Please contact our SIMS helpdesk to book a one off school census consultancy or add all School Census and School workforce Census for the year to your SLA. A date and time convenient to school will be scheduled and an allocated member of our SIMS team will guide you through the complexities of any user fixable errors and submitting the return to the DfE.

One Education ICT Helpdesk: 0161 276 0101

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