SWF - FAQs
School Workforce Census (SWF)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Updated September 2009
CHANGES MADE SINCE LAST VERSION
FAIR PROCESSING NOTICES and LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
SCOPE (WHICH STAFF AND ESTABLISHMENTS TO INCLUDE)
SNAPSHOT AND CONTINUOUS DATA
SUBMISSION OF 618G BY LAs IN SPRING 2010
TECHNICAL AND MAKING THE RETURN)
SWF - FAQs
CHANGES MADE SINCE THE LAST VERSION
Questions and answers added since the last version can be identified by the word “[NEW]” and
those that have been updated to reflect changes in the requirements can be identified by the
word “[UPDATED]”. If you use this document regularly, you might wish to just search on the
words “new” and “updated” to locate the individual questions and answers that have been
added or changed.
SWF - FAQs
Absences between collections
Question: Absence records are required for the calendar year prior to the Spring Census, and
for any absences current on the day of the Spring Census. From my experience of 618G, we
have only provided sickness absence data, only for teaching staff, and only for the preceding
calendar year, but not including the census date. If you require the absence data for the 2008
calendar year in the January 2009 pilot, plus the absence recorded on the census date, what
happens to the absence data falling in between the two dates? That is to say, the absence
recorded between a return to school on 05 January 2009 and the census date of 15 January
Answer: In the January census absence data for the preceding calendar year is collected.
This will allow us to replicate the sickness absence data for teachers currently collected in
618g. Any absence that falls between the beginning of January and the census date will be
picked up in the SWF the following January. The absent on census day was not collected in
618g and will provide a snapshot on SWF census day. It is a completely separate data item
and will not be combined to the other continuous absence data.
Absent on Census Day
Question: Absent on census day - does this include someone who is absent for only part of
Answer: If a member of staff is present for even just part of the day, they are deemed to be
present on census day.
Question: Does absent on census day apply to teachers in regular service, agency teachers in
regular service, teaching assistants, and other support staff?
Answer: It applies to teachers in regular service, agency/service agreement teachers in
regular service, teaching assistants and other support staff but not to any centrally employed
staff. It is only required in the Spring collection, not the Summer or Autumn collections.
Accompanying a child to hospital
Question: In a situation where a teaching assistant has to accompany a pupil to the hospital –
what absence category should be used.
Answer: An absence is described as any activity that takes a member of staff away from their
normal duties. If this is not considered part of the teaching assistant‟s normal duties, it should
be recorded as „other paid authorised leave‟ as long as it is for at least half a day.
Question: Absence Category: - Should adoption leave be coded as MAT (maternity/paternity
leave) or OTH (other paid authorised absence)?
Answer: Adoption leave should be recorded as OTH (if the leave is paid) or UNP (if the leave
SWF - FAQs
Question: Because we are completing absence data on the SWF does this mean we no
longer need to provide data to meet BVPI12?
Answer: BVPI's are no longer required to be reported on after 2007-08.
Question: Should there be a separate code value for career break?
Answer: Career break would be covered by UNP - unpaid authorised absence.
Question: If a teacher is under a disciplinary suspension which covers the census week how
should this be returned with regard to contracts and absences? In SIMS Personnel 7 (for
recording staff) there is a start date and end date for suspension and free text reason for
suspension - do we need an extra absence category for this type of absence ie suspension?
Answer: No extra category required - this should be recorded as authorised absent, unpaid or
paid as appropriate
Question: If the deputy headteacher is absent from the school to carry out some interviewing
does this need to be recorded?
Answer: If the absence is for half a day or more and not considered to be part of the deputy
headteacher‟s normal duties, then it should be recorded as an absence, probably “other paid
Question: Suspension in SIMS Personnel 7 can be for maternity leave. Should this be
mapped to a different absence category eg SEC or should it be mapped as MAT (Maternity)?
Answer: Use MAT if the reason for absence is Maternity, use the most appropriate of the other
available codes if the reason for absence is not maternity.
Question: If someone works only Tuesdays and Thursday and are sick both those days, the
MIS system records absence as starting Tuesday and ending Thursday. Payroll system
however records the absence as a week. How will this affect the return?
Answer: The length of the absence will be picked up from the number of working days lost
which will be two. This is manually input and is independent of the first and last day of absence
Question: If a member of staff works mornings only and is off, is the absence recorded as the
working hours lost or as a whole day?
Answer: In the instance where a staff member only works mornings and they are off sick on a
SWF - FAQs
morning, that would be recorded as 0.5 working days lost. Only absence of half a day or more
should be recorded and working days lost are only required for sickness absence. If there are
any instances where the morning and afternoon sessions are not equal, each session should
be counted as half a day.
Payroll Absence category
Question: As this data item is not used by the DCSF but is included to facilitate the passing of
data between the school and the local authority, should it be excluded from any LA generated
files? If this data is genuinely required by the LA then they should be asking for B2B, or some
other report, to be enhanced to achieve this.
Answer: This data item was included in SWF with the intention of reducing burdens at
schools/LAs by facilitating its transfer from schools to LAs. It is not required for SWF and has
been removed from the collection from Spring 2010 onwards. Schools may still use the field if it
is available in their system but it won‟t be uploaded to COLLECT as part of the collection.
Question: How should absence be recorded if a member of staff is making a phased return to
work after a period of long term sickness?
Answer: These staff should be recorded as absent for the periods when they would normally
be working. The schools will need to decide whether that is sickness absence or possibly other
paid authorised absence and this may depend on local HR policy.
PPA / Inset
Question: How should schools record teachers who are on a) PPA time or b) inset days for
the purpose of recording attendance and absences of staff.
Answer: Neither PPA time nor INSET days should be recorded as absences as they are
considered to be part of normal duties.
Question: Will we be recording 'sickness' as the absence code rather than any particular
reason for sickness?
Answer: Yes. The reason for sickness is not collected for SWF.
Staff for whom absence data is required
Question: Does absence only include staff contracted to the school or people on Service
Answer: Absence data is required for all teachers, teaching assistants and agency teachers in
regular service, except those that are centrally employed.
What needs to be recorded
Question: Recording of absence for the school‟s workforce is an issue for some schools as
they only record sickness absences, so absences such as training may not be recorded in
SWF - FAQs
Answer: Schools no longer need to record absence due to training. Feedback from LAs and
schools has indicated that this burdensome to collect and the data would be of limited use as it
would not have captured a complete picture of the amount of training undertaken. Schools and
LAs can continue to record absence due to training should they wish to, but they are not
obliged to do so. Absence should still be recorded for other activities that take teachers and
teaching assistants away from their normal duties for half a day or more under one of the
following categories: maternity/paternity leave; sickness; unauthorised absence; unpaid,
authorised absence; secondment; paid absence for public duties; other paid absence.
Question: Are absences from Jan 08 needed for the pilot in Jan 09?
Answer: No. For those returning for the first time in Jan 09 ONLY, the requirement is for
absences to be reported for the previous term. For Jan 2010 absence data is required for the
previous calendar year, except for academies for which absence data is required for the
Question: Will absence be collected in January and will it be recorded for the whole of the
Answer: Absences will be collected in January for the whole of the previous calendar year (1
January to 31 December), except for those making their first return in January 09 which will only
be from the previous September. Absences from academies collected in January 2010 will be
for the previous term, ie since 1 September 2009.
Question: Do we need to report absences that are still current, or have started on the census
day in the Spring?
Answer: Absence should be recorded on an on-going basis. It will be collected each January
for the previous calendar year (1 January to 31 December) so it will be important to ensure that
data is up to date before submitting the January census return. Absent on census day will also
be collected in the January census so it will be important to ensure any absence occurring on
the census day itself is recorded before submitting the return. Any absence that falls between
the beginning of January and the census date will be picked up in the SWF the following
Question: If a school becomes an academy in the autumn but retains the original staff, what
absence data are you expecting for those staff from the academy?
Answer: We would only expect absence data from the academy from the time the academy
opened, ie from the Autumn. We would not expect the academy to return data for absence
taken by staff when they were at the establishment when it was a school. We accept that we
will miss any absence taken from the school between the Spring and Autumn collections.
SWF - FAQs
Working days lost
Question: Are working days lost required for all types of absence?
Answer: No, working days lost are only required for sickness absence. If schools or LAs wish
to record working days lost for other types of absence, and their systems allow it, then they are
free to do so. However, they are not required to do so for the purposes of SWF and they
should be aware that the working days lost for other types of absences may be uploaded from
their systems to COLLECT as part of the Spring collection.
Question: If an employee is supposed to work 6 hrs and only works 4 missing the afternoon
session is she considered to be absent for the whole afternoon?
Answer: Yes as a session is classed as half a day.
SWF - FAQs
Question: If an agency teacher works for two different agencies might she be paid different
Answer: Yes, it is possible. But no salary details are required if a daily rate is being paid so
this shouldn't be a problem.
Question: If agency staff are paid on some other basis (eg lump sum for a project, hourly rate
or annual contract) are the rules different again? It seems highly unlikely that agencies will
provide details of how their staff are paid.
Answer: If a teacher has been provided by an agency (or the LA acting like a supply agency)
and they are paid on the basis of a daily rate, then the daily rate field should be set to yes and
then there is no need to provide any pay details.
Continuous data - Absences and Contract history
Question: Guidance states that data should be extracted for contracts where there was a
change of information at any time since the start of the previous term (except where the school
/ LA is completing its first SWF return). Is it enough to say that we will include any services
where the end date is after the last Census date (or start of the previous term)? I don‟t think we
have to worry about looking at the date other data items were changed – since if we are already
including current/recently terminated contracts isn‟t that enough? Does the DCSF mean if a
contract were open and then was given an end date this needs to be recorded OR ANY
changes trigger the record to be sent again (all data items) : this is quite significant work for us
to record all changes in this way.
Answer: The information required is staff details and non-pay items for contracts/agreements
which have a start or end date in the preceding term. Changes to other data items should not
trigger extraction of 'continuous' data.
Question: How do we treat changes in contracts. For example, if we are doing a spring return
and an employee has had additional hours or a new allowance or an increment between 1st
Sep and 31st Dec what are you expecting to be reported? Is it the situation as at the end of
December? Or are you expecting one set of contract records for each change to the terms and
conditions of employment? One-off payments also present a problem. For example, in a
spring return when we are returning contracts for everyone, would you expect to get details of
any one-off payments which were made in the previous term, or the previous year. How do we
decide what is a „current‟ one-off payment? By definition it will already be in the past and will
not form part of the employee‟s current contract.
Answer: All contract items (including pay) are collected as a snapshot at the Spring census.
Additionally, staff details and non-pay items are collected at each census but only for contracts
which have a start or end date during the previous term (for the spring census, this is only for
contracts not already included in the snapshot, ie which are no longer current). The pay details
required for the Spring census include the annual amount of all allowances paid.
SWF - FAQs
Contracts linked to Statemented Pupils
Question: Where do we record contracts linked to Statemented Pupils? We record an end
date for administrative purposes and call the contract 'Fixed Term'. Should they be counted as
Answer: “Temporary” is used for all short term contracts without a fixed end date. “Fixed
term” is used for contracts with a definite span and a fixed end date.” Since in your example
the contract has an end date and is called „fixed term‟, then the advice is to return it as such.
Date of Arrival in School
Question: If the MIS happens to record 'Date of Arrival in School' for non-teaching support
staff is it OK to return it anyway or should it be filtered out?
Answer: Date of arrival in school is not required for other support staff in SWF but it is up to
schools what information they store on their management information systems. So schools can
record this information if they wish and the data extraction process should filter out any data
that is not required for SWF.
Question: What should schools enter if they are not given the next destination of Agency
Answer: Destination is an optional field for agency staff so schools are not required to enter
this information. Should schools wish to enter this they can always select the code for Not
Question: When reporting on staff whose contract terminated last term, we‟ll need to pick up
anyone where the End Date is after the last Census Date that returned staff contract
information. Should the DCSF guidance mention this specifically so that the MIS knows it
needs to retain last census date that returned staff contract information?
Answer: The requirement is to return information on staff whose contract terminated in the last
term (between 1 September and 31 December for the Spring collection, 1 January and 30 April
for the Summer collection and 1 May and 31 August for the Autumn collection), not since the
Extensions to contacts
Question: We have a member of staff whose contract was due to finish on the 12 April
however this has been extended to September should we set up a new contract or can we just
change the end date of the current contract
Answer: SWF would not see this as a new contract, merely an extension. Therefore the end
date just needs to be changed on the MIS – there is no need to set up as a new contract.
SWF - FAQs
Hours worked per week
Question: How should a school record the situation where an individual is employed on a
contract which has no fixed hours? In the case I am enquiring about the individual works as a
classroom teacher as and when the school needs them. They are then paid on a daily rate
which is (loosely?) based upon a main scale spine point. It is much like a standard supply
agency arrangement but the contract lies with the school. The school also pays the individual
the annual GTC fee.
Answer: If supplier systems can accommodate, we propose that average hours per week over
the previous term should be used, or if length of service under this contract is less than a term,
average hours per week since the start of the contract.
Question: Guidance states that the number of hours in a normal week is required for each role
for Teachers, Agency Teachers and Teaching Assistants. This is inconsistent with the Schema
which clearly allows hours to be set against the post. We record hours against the contract and
can not support this without a lot of additional work or restricting each contract to a single role.
This has been raised many times with DCSF. I propose no change to our system.
Answer: The specification allows hours to be set against either a contract or a role, but not
both. The Guidance Notes for hours per week in Section 2.2.2 also states this. Some systems
offer their users a choice, others associate hours at either one level or the other. The
Department is happy with either approach, as long as schools and LAs are able to enter data
for all of their school workforce members.
Question: This may seem like stating the obvious but what do we count as the definition of a
month for the workforce return. This is required for contracts greater than and less than a
month. For example shall we say 30 days?
Answer: The definition of a month would be a calendar month. ie the same day of the month
where possible (eg 15 Jan to 14 Feb). Where this is not possible at the end of the month, use
the last day of the month, eg one month forward from 31 Jan is 28 Feb. We know that some
software suppliers have interpreted a month to be 28 days and utilised this in their systems.
We are currently reviewing whether or not we could move to that definition. In the meantime,
we are not overly concerned which definition schools, LAs and software suppliers use as we do
not think it will have much impact on the statistics produced from the collection.
Old Style Contracts
Question: How do we record people who are not on the 32.5 hours a week contracts?
Answer: As the old-type contracts which are 27 hours per week instead of the normal 32.5
hours, you should record what actually happens, ie under FTE Hours per Week you should
record 27 hours, and the actual directed hours against Hours Worked per Week. The detail of
this is explained in section 2.2.2 (Contract/Agreement Module) in the guidance published on
Teachernet. The ready reckoner shown there to help conversion of contracted to directed
hours per week will need to be adjusted in this instance, of course.
Question: Should there be advice that in the case of LA staff visiting the school (eg peripatetic
teachers or advisory teachers) that the DCSF would not expect the school to returns the Hours
SWF - FAQs
data group since this would conflict with the LA returning the total hours worked by the
Answer: Schools are no longer required to provide service agreement records for centrally
employed staff visiting them regularly. This is therefore no longer an issue.
Question: If a teacher has a permanent full time appointment at school A but is seconded on a
full time basis as temporary head of school B for one term (Jan to March), which school returns
which information and how?
Answer: The teacher is recorded as seconded in the absence module for school A and is
returned as a head teacher in school B.
Question: How do you record staff who are self-employed and in regular service?
Answer: This would depend on the type of staff. If they are teachers, then we would require a
full service agreement record from the school. If they are support staff, including teaching
assistants, we would only require them to be included in the headcount of third party support
staff if they are in school on the Spring Census Day. [NEW]
Question: When we have contracts starting in August but the employee does not start in
school until September, which census should the new starter be included on? eg for some
employees their contract will start in August but they are not required to attend school until the
first pupil day in September.
Answer: This depends on what the contract says – it is the contract start date which matters,
not when they start actual work. If the contract start date is in August then the change will be
reported in the Autumn census, if in September, then it will appear in the return in the following
Temporarily acting up
Question: If a teacher is temporarily acting as a head teacher, how should the contract
records be treated? For example, if there is one contract as Head of Year with a suspension
record and a concurrent contract record for the same teacher as a head teacher. If the initial
contract is suspended, there is a possibility that the HOY contract is not returned if this contract
falls on Census Day. Is this correct?
Answer: In the Head of Year contract record absence should be recorded as seconded, and
the teacher should be returned as head teacher on the contract they are acting up in.
Weeks per year
Question: Is 'Weeks per year' the weeks actually worked as opposed to full time weeks? (For
Part time staff?)
Answer: The 'weeks per year' is the number of weeks for which a person is paid, including any
paid holiday. For example, a full-time teacher would be paid for 52 weeks per year whereas a
SWF - FAQs
full-time term time only teacher would be 39 weeks per year.
Which contracts to include
Question: Am I right in thinking that if a contract lasts for 4 weeks full time (i.e. less than one
month but 104 hours) it doesn't count, whereas one based on an hour a fortnight for a term
(more than one month but only 7 hours) does count.
Answer: Given the answer to “month definition” above, it may be that at some point in the
future contracts lasting 4 weeks, rather than one month, will be included in SWF. However,
based on the current definition of one month, you are correct.
Question: What constitutes a contract? Does it have to be a written formal contract or should
staff on verbal contracts also be included?
Answer: Staff with verbal contracts are considered to be casual staff and so not in regular
employment. Individual records are therefore not expected for them.
SWF - FAQs
Centrally employed staff
Question: Is curriculum data required for centrally employed staff?
Answer: Only if they are teachers or teaching assistants that appear in a school‟s timetable.
Question: Can Curriculum data be collected for support staff? For example, technicians will
contribute to teaching different subjects (eg art/design, ICT, technology, science, etc) to the
different year groups and for the different subjects.
Answer: Curriculum data is only required for teachers and teaching assistants but it is up to
schools what information they store on their timetabling and management information systems.
So schools can include other support staff in their timetabling software and the data extraction
process should filter out any data that is not required for SWF.
When will the data be collected
Question: When will the January 09 Pilot schools return Curriculum data?
Answer: They will return it in October 09.
Which schools need to return curriculum data
Question: My understanding is that these data items are only required from secondary schools
that have a MIS system that has the functionality to build a school timetable. Is this correct?
Also, am I correct in understanding that this will first be collected in September 2009, based on
the 2009/2010 curriculum timetable?
Answer: A return is only required from secondary (or middle-deemed secondary) schools that
use a computerised timetabling system that interfaces with their MI system. Data is only
collected in each autumn census, based on the current school year, the first full collection being
Autumn 2009 (2008 pilots will be collecting in Autumn 2008).
Question: Are special schools required to submit curriculum data?
Answer: No. Special schools are not in scope for curriculum data.
Question: Is the curriculum data to be collected ONLY for maintained secondary schools and
not for maintained special schools who teacher 11 to 16 year olds?
Question: One secondary school uses SERCO for its timetable module and SIMS for its
personnel module. Do I need to upload two files for the same school or would I need to do a
Answer: We only expect curriculum data from schools that have timetabling software that
interfaces with its MIS. Give that the timetabling software in SERCO does not interface with
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SIMS we would not expect this secondary school to return curriculum data.
SWF - FAQs
FAIR PROCESSING NOTICES and LEGAL OBLIGATIONS
Question: How often do the Fair Processing Notice has to be distributed re the School
Answer: Once an FPN has been issued to a member of staff a further one only needs to be
reissued if there are changes to the data collected, the uses to which the data will be put and/or
the organisations it will be shared with. The FPN issued for the Jan 08 pilots should suffice for
those in 2009. Privacy Notices (replacing FPNs) have now been placed on TeacherNet and
these should be used for any new staff coming into the collection. Please remember these are
suggested texts and we recommend that your own legal advisors should review them so that
they can be amended to suit local needs. [UPDATED]
Question: Can schools or individual staff refuse to participate in SWF?
Answer: The Department cannot offer any individual or blanket dispensation from participation
in the SWF collection. Neither heads nor governing bodies can decide not to participate in
SWF as it is a statutory requirement and it is not possible to opt out of it. However, the duty to
provide the data is the governing body's and therefore if the data are not provided then it is the
governing body that is legally in breach of the duty. The head has a statutory duty, however,
under the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document, to assist the governing body in the
exercise of their functions, and if a head is not doing so then this may be an employment
matter. In most cases, the LA is the employer of the head and therefore if the head is not doing
something they should, then the LA will be able to take its own advice on this on handling this
as an employment issue.
SWF - FAQs
Question: How are Additional payments to be returned? Do the payments have to be shown in
the period they were paid? Can we aggregate the payments into a total for the year?
Answer: Additional Payments should be shown as part of the contract details. If the payments
situation subsequently changes, then the next Spring Census will show that change. More than
one additional payment can be recorded against a contract, so they should not be aggregated.
Question: Is the additional payment amount included only if the additional payment is active
on the census date when it comes to one-off payments?
Answer: All additional payment amounts should be included if the associated contract is active
on the Spring Census date and the payment was made during the previous calendar year.
Question: How should the Allowance Proportion be considered? The proportion of the
allowance (Allowance FTE) is stored as a separate value from the Contract Hours FTE since
this can be set to a different value. For example, a part-timer on Contract FTE of 0.5 may be
eligible to receive a full allowance amount (allowance FTE of 1.0) or just 0.5 of it. A full-timer
may share an allowance with another member of staff so may only be entitled to 0.5 of it. In the
Annual Service Return, the following rules apply to returning the Full Time Salary: For full-
timers if the Allowance FTE is < 1 then the proportioned allowance amount is added to the
Annual Salary Rate. For Part-timers then full allowance amount (not taking into account the
Allowance FTE) is added to the Annual Salary Rate. What should be returned for School
Answer: All allowances should be included as the actual annual amount of the payment made,
so if two people shared an allowance equally then the amount to be included for each would be
half of the allowance, i.e. what they actually received.
Benefits in kind
Question: How are benefits in kind to be treated?
Answer: Benefits in kind are not included.
Daily rate for agency staff
Question: How do schools find the salary/ daily rate paid to Agency teachers? The school will
be invoiced for the teacher, but will not know how much the teacher has been paid?
Answer: If an agency teacher is being paid on a daily rate, then the Daily Rate field in the
contract/agreement module should record a value of Y („Yes‟). If Daily Rate is Y then no salary
details need to be provided.
SWF - FAQs
Out of Service Learning Activity Payments
Question: Can DCSF confirm that Out of School Learning Activity payments (OSLA) should be
treated as any other allowance in calculating the salary rate. i.e. only include if they are active
on the census date itself. I ask because there are very specific rules for grossing them up for
the period when reporting them in the ASR – since there is no „period‟ here I guess that these
do not apply.
Answer: Treat as other additional payment amounts, ie include if the associated contract is
active on the Spring Census date and the payment was made during the previous calendar
Question: Currently there are three pay scales that don't have matching Spine Points, NJC,
Soulbury and Other. DCSF advice previously has been that they don't have matching spines or
information is not known, but if this is a required field do we need an 'OTHER' when NJC,
Soulbury or Other is the Pay Scale?
Answer: There is no requirement to collect spine points for the NJC and Soulbury pay scales,
and hence the Spine Point code set does not give values for these scales. No entry is required
in these cases.
Salary Rate/Total Pay
Question: Is a snapshot of the annual salary rate on the census date itself required, or a salary
rate history as is returned in the Annual Service Return?
Answer: SWF census only requires a snapshot at present. Please note that this field is being
renamed Total Pay for the Spring 2010 collection to better describe the information that is being
Question: Is it correct that no payment data is required for any support staff (other than TAs)?
Answer: Yes that is correct. However, it is up to schools what information they store on their
management information systems. So schools can record this information if they wish for other
support staff and the data extraction process should filter out any data that is not required for
SWF - FAQs
Centrally employed staff
Question: Are qualifications required for centrally employed staff?
Answer: Qualifications are required for centrally employed teachers, together with any teaching
assistants who are mainly working in the mathematics or science areas. No distinction is made
in the requirement for qualifications information from school based or centrally employed staff.
Question: Will teacher qualification data be provided by the GTC?
Answer: The GTC provided qualifications data to LAs as a one off exercise and this has
finished. The GTC has now launched a free online service for providing employers with
information relating to teachers they employ or wish to recruit. All schools in England, including
independent schools, can have access to this service which allows them to view data relating to
an individual teacher‟s qualifications, initial teacher training, induction status, registration status
and any active restrictions held on record. LAs can view the same information and also details
on all schools in their LA area.
Contact details for the Employer Access team:
General Teaching Council for England
Victoria Square House
Telephone: 0370 0014 823
Question: Should NPQH be in the list of qualifications? Also CSBM and DSBM for support
staff - all of these are delivered through the NCSL
Answer: We will obtain information on holders of NPQH, CSBM and DSBM direct from NCSL
and so these qualifications are not required for SWF.
Recording of old qualifications
Question: If a teacher has been in post for many years and their teaching qualification says
they have a teaching certificate, how should this be recorded?
Answer: For the purposes of SWF, “certificate in education or equivalent” should be selected
from the qualification code set. [NEW]
Question: If a teacher gained their degree some time ago and there isn‟t a subject code to
match the subject of that degree, what should I record?
Answer: Please leave the subject code blank, don‟t try to find a “best fit”. The appropriate
qualification for the qualification code to show the type of qualification that has been gained
should still be selected but do not enter a subject code. The Department is proposing to move
SWF - FAQs
to a much smaller set of broad subject areas in 2011, with a mapping from the existing code
set, which should prove easier for schools and LAs to use. We are aware that some software
systems do not allow a qualification to be entered without a subject code, and in this situation
a) Enter the qualification and find a "best fit" for the subject code or
b) Don't enter the qualification at all until 2011 when the smaller set of broad subject areas
has been introduced in software systems. [NEW]
Question: What about all the support staff? Surely schools will want to record their
qualifications as well, if only to support their decision to employ them.
Answer: Qualifications are not currently required for other support staff in SWF but it is up to
schools what information they store on their management information systems. So schools can
record this information if they wish and the data extraction process should filter out any data
that is not required for SWF
Question: Support staff qualifications could be extensive and some very old but there is no
facility to enter the date of a qualification.
Answer: We do not require the date that the qualification was obtained, and we only require
qualification data for TAs working in maths and science.
Question: In Census we have to identify whether a TA is qualified or not, but can't find any
mention of this in the SWF guidance. Do we need to collect TA qualifications?
Answer: In SWF the only qualifications we are seeking from support staff at present are (a) at
level 4 and above on the National Qualifications Framework which can be found on the QCA
website and only for those staff working in maths and science areas and (b) HLTA status
recorded in the Staff Details module.
Question: I am collecting data for the qualifications for teaching assistants which I understand
should only be collected for those who specialise in maths and science. What about primary
schools teaching assistants working in those subjects as well as others?
Answer: If they cover those and all other subjects then they are not maths or science
specialists. Therefore it is not necessary to return qualifications for them, but schools may
record and return them if they wish. [NEW]
Question: Do centrally employed staff who are qualified teachers but not based in school ie
Specialist Teachers, Music Teachers for example need to enter the QTS?
Answer: Yes QTS status needs to be provided for all teachers and teaching assistants in
regular service, regardless of whether they are employed by a school, the LA or a third party
provider. However, note that QTS route only needs to be returned for staff currently in schools
working towards achieving QTS status. This does not have to be back filled for staff who
already have QTS.
SWF - FAQs
Question: With regard to the QTS route, the guidance indicates that this should only be
submitted for staff currently in schools on route to achieving QTS. Does that mean we do not
have to enter data for centrally employed staff?
Answer: QTS route means any member of staff on the following training programmes:
Overseas Trained Teacher Programme, Registered Teacher Programme, Graduate Teacher
Programme, Teach First Programme and Flexible Routes. It is unlikely that someone on a
training programme would be centrally employed and not in a school as part of the training.
However, note that QTS route only needs to be returned for staff currently in schools working
towards achieving QTS status. This does not have to be back filled for staff who already have
Question: HR providers will only have checked that a teacher is qualified. The risk here is that
schools may or may not ask teachers for their qualifications (and this would represent quite a bit
of additional work in a school). Consequently data will almost certainly be partial and un-
Answer: GTC should hold qualification data post 1986, so it is only qualifications acquired
before this date, or post-training qualifications acquired after that date which have not been
reported to the GTC that we should need. There may be gaps in the GTC data so schools
should check the data provided and add/correct data as appropriate.
Question: Which qualifications should be recorded, the one that qualifies them to teach or the
highest qualification they hold?
Answer: All qualifications relevant to their engagement as a teacher, achieved at a level 4 or
higher on the National Qualifications Framework, should be recorded.
SWF - FAQs
Question: What role should be used for Admin Officers? Administrator is lumped with a clerk
and seeing as there are about 3 or 4 grades different between these, this would not reflect the
true workforce of a school - should we use other?
Answer: This is about the nature of work carried out by staff, not the office hierarchy - choose
whichever role fits best. Other possibilities include bursar, school secretary, finance officer and
SWF - FAQs
SCOPE (which staff and establishments to include)
Question: The Local Authority has no control over some of the Academies in their area. The
guidelines clearly state that they are in scope for the SWF but what the legal requirements are
in terms of the LA submitting a return on behalf of these schools, or is it the responsibility of the
academy to submit their return directly to the DCSF.
Answer: Academies and CTCs are responsible for their own returns. Academies and CTCs
may negotiate locally and the LA may submit on their behalf, but this purely at the discretion of
Question: Many of our Advisors are are paid under Soulbury Terms and Conditions and do not
visit schools on a regular basis. Do they need to be included?
Answer: Only centrally employed staff employed on Soulbury that visit schools regularly
should be included. The LA would return a contract record for these.
Question: Do we count staff employed in Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs? Staff in
Children‟s Centres as some of these may be on the school personnel system and some of them
will be staff employed by the LA? Do we count Outreach Workers who are employed by Health
Answer: Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs – staff involved exclusively in these are not in
scope, unless the activities are seen as an integral part of the standard curriculum. In most
cases these are extended services, and therefore not in scope. Children‟s Centres – CCs and
Early years Settings are out of scope. Health workers – the general rule is to look for a „best-fit‟
to the roles in the Role Codeset in Appendix 2 of the Guidance on Teachernet. If you can‟t find
a best fit, then the role is probably out of scope (but ask us with specific examples if in doubt).
In the table, there are health worker roles for Nurse, Nursery Nurse and Therapist.
Centrally employed staff
Question: Will the DCSF be producing a comprehensive list of staff to be included in the
return? Whilst it's easy to establish school based staff to be included, I would like to know
which, particularly centrally employed, staff should be included. Do we, for example, include
educational welfare officer's, school nurses, LA advisors who can also teach, Officers who
support schools with data and or other issues. Whilst I realise this list could be quite extensive,
none of the guidance I've seen so far has included this type of information.
Answer: Centrally employed staff should be included in the return if they are in regular service
and are: (a) teachers employed directly by the LA eg peripatetic teachers or teachers working in
establishments such as PRUs that aren‟t currently in scope of SWF; (b) support staff that visit
schools regularly and their role is one of those listed in the role code set, eg advisory teachers,
cleaners, educational welfare officers, catering staff; or (c) educational psychologists,
regardless of whether or not they visit schools regularly. Regularly is defined as a minimum of
at least once every four weeks. The complete list of roles can be found in Annex 2 of the
Guidance. You will see that this includes EWOs, nurses and advisory teachers.
SWF - FAQs
Question: The guidelines say that for centrally employed staff to be in scope they must be in
schools regularly – in theory most of our education service staff could visit a school regularly –
are they really all in scope?
Answer: Generally we are interested in staff who are an integral part of the school workforce
and who spend a significant proportion of their working time based on school premises. It isn't
enough that the LA employee could visit schools regularly but its not that they have to directly
affect pupils either, rather that the school couldn't function properly without the school based
activity of these staff (eg cleaning staff, IT technicians). We are still working on expressing the
requirements in a way that makes sense both in terms of the regulations and in how centrally
employed staff are deployed, but unfortunately this may take some time to resolve and won‟t be
in time for the next version of the Guidance Notes. We appreciate this is difficult for LAs
and means there is a risk to the consistency and coverage of the information collected on
centrally employed staff in the pilots. Our advice would be to focus on the centrally employed
staff that included in 618g so that it is possible in Spring 2010 to replicate the statistics that are
produced from that source.
Question: Are Children‟s Centres are in scope for SWF
Answer: Surestart, day care centres and children's centres are not in scope. LA maintained
nurseries are in scope. If staff work across these establishments they are in scope for the
portion of time they are working in the LA maintained nursery schools. For example, a teacher
working 0.5 FTE in a LA maintained nursery and 0.5 FTE in a surestart or children's centre
would only count as a 0.5 FTE member of staff for SWF purposes.
Question: Most Children's Centres operate on school premises although the staff are not paid
for by the schools. Staff don‟t appear on the staffing part of the Pupil Census and are not
usually involved in teaching/supporting pupils in the LA's maintained schools. Are they in scope
Answer: If staff working at the Children‟s Centres are not involved in teaching or working with
pupils at the maintained school and are not paid for by the school then they are not in scope for
SWF. The fact that the centres are physically situated on school premises is immaterial.
Question: Are cleaning staff to be headcount only at census date?
Answer: If the member of cleaning staff concerned is in regular service and employed direct
by the school then a contract record should be returned from them by the school. If they are
employed by the LA and provided to the school under a service agreement or other
arrangement, then the LA should provide a contract record for them in their central return., See
the column „Other Support Staff‟ in the table of data items in section 1.7.4 of the Guidance
Notes for the required data items. If the cleaner is provided by a third party, eg contract
cleaners, and they are in the school on the Spring Census Day then they should be included in
the third party support staff headcount. Third party support staff are those not employed directly
by schools or Local Authorities.
Question: Do we need to include cleaners that work outside of the normal school day in any of
SWF - FAQs
Answer: Yes. Cleaners should not be excluded just because they work outside of the normal
school day. Our current advice is that staff with roles in extended schools‟ activities, eg
breakfast or after school clubs should not be included in the SWF for those roles. But staff
engaged in the normal running of the school such as cleaners should be included provided they
are in regular service regardless of when they work. We apologise for conflicting advice about
Question: I am bit confused about what is now required in relation to cleaners.
Answer: Cleaners could be included in SWF returns in one of the following three ways:
(i) if a cleaner is employed direct by a school then they would be included in the school
(ii) if a cleaner is employed by the LA then they would be included in the LA return
(iii) if a cleaner is employed by a third party provider (ie not a school or LA) then they would
be included in the third party support staff headcount in the school return
Some cleaners work for business units as part of the LA and an argument could be made that
they are either (ii) or (iii) above. As long as LAs make it clear to their schools the way in which
the LA classifies the cleaners then data should be returned on all cleaners.
Question: Some schools are cleaned by an external company from whom they buy cleaning
services. Whilst a cleaner will attend a school on a regular / daily basis, it may not be the same
cleaner, so the cleaner may not be in what we class as regular service but the post / role is.
How would we collect this data?
Answer: A headcount by role is required for all support staff that are in school on census day
and are not directly employed by the LA or a school, eg contract cleaners, nurses employed by
a PCT, outsourced IT technicians. The role should be taken from the general role code set.
Individual level data for these support staff is not required.
Closing and amalgamating schools
Question: We have a school that is closing on 31 August 2009 and reopening on 1 September
2009 as an Academy. Will we need to make a return for this school?
Answer: The closing school does not need to provide a return in the Autumn, but if the
academy were ready to make one with its new staff in the Autumn we'd be happy to receive it.
If they weren't ready to participate in the Autumn pilot, we would urge them to test and clean
their data using the Spring 2010 blade on the familiarisation site during December and January
so they are ready to make a good return in the Spring 2010 collection. Absence data should be
submitted as part of the Spring 2010 return, from September 2009 when the academy opened.
Question: We have two schools which are merging in September creating a new school. This
will be a very large secondary schools with lots of data to input and they will not be in a position
to have this in place in time for the October Census. I am hoping that in cases such as these
the Department will waive the requirement for them to do the dry run so that they can
concentrate on getting everything ready for January.
Answer: The Department will waive the requirement for this school to participate in the
Autumn pilot. However, we would urge the school to upload their data to the Spring 2010 blade
on the familiarisation site to test and clean its data well in advance of the Spring 2010 collection
SWF - FAQs
Educational Welfare Officers (EWOs)
Question: Do we need to include a EWO who is based at one school but works in other
schools as well? Do all the schools they work in include them on the return?
Answer: In the example provided of a EWO, the contracting school (or LA) would be
responsible for making the return for this person. However, if the EWO was providing a regular
timetabled service to other schools, each of those schools would need to include the EWO on
Question: We currently have a federation of two schools that are under one governance but
have two establishment numbers. They share teachers and have the same head teacher, they
use the same bursars, librarians etc. How should these be recorded?
Answer: We must have a return for both the schools. Staff shared across the schools should
be returned separately for each school and, where required, showing the appropriate hours
worked and fte hours per week for the time they spend working within that school. This is
consistent with Schools Census which returns the pupils for each school.
Home-to-school transport / escorts
Question: Are home-to-school transport people in scope?
Answer: There is a role code for "escort", however, drivers are not. What we are after is
people who provide support to children eg with SEN, escorting them between various activities
Question: Is an instructor who is paid according to teachers‟ Pay and conditions to be recorded
as a teacher or support staff
Answer: The instructor should be recorded as support staff as they are carrying out a support
staff role. It is the role we are interested in.
Question: We need additional guidance on how schools and LAs should return peripatetic
teachers‟ data. This implies DCSF wants to know which peripatetic teachers are visiting which
schools (rather than just the LA returning details on employed peripatetic teachers)
Answer: We just require a contract record from the LA. The requirements for information on
centrally employed staff visiting schools regularly changed in April 2009. In the light of
feedback from schools and LAs, the Department has recognised that the burden of schools
providing service agreement records for centrally employed staff that visited them regularly was
just too great at this time. The Department had proposed to introduce a headcount from
schools of these centrally employed staff but has decided not to pursue that either. Schools do
not therefore need to record this information on their management information systems unless
they wish to hold it for their own use. Nor do LAs need to provide information on the schools
which centrally employed staff visit regularly.
SWF - FAQs
Peripatetic and Advisory Teachers
Question: How do we deal with the difference between peripatetic and advisory teachers? A
variety of job titles is used in our schools, and they don't always correspond to the roles in the
Answer: The distinction really lies in the function rather than the strict job title that is being
used in any one instance – essentially whether the focus of the role is on direct support for
pupils (peripatetic teacher), or on providing advice to the school or LA (advisory teacher). Use
the role code that reflects what the person mostly does.
Question: Engaging Primary Care Trust staff and others could be an issue. We suggest the
DCSF let their DOH colleagues know (about SWF) and ask them to filter it down to local level.
Answer: We are unsure what influence we could have speaking with DOH. We have provided
a suggested FPN which we think will assist when employees are provided with this by the
school. Further information is needed on what we can do to help with this. Individual data is no
longer required on these members of staff only Headcount.
“Regularly” - definition
Question: Could you provide a definition of what 'regularly work' includes? For example, once
a week, or once a month if it happens every week / month could be classified as regularly.
Answer: Regularly means a minimum of once every four weeks. This definition was originally
once a term but was changed in response to feedback from LAs.
Question: A digital teacher has a contract of employment with a primary school within the LA
and schools buy back his time in the form of lessons via video conference. How will this
teacher be recorded, by the schools they teach or by the school that holds the contract? What
is the case when a similar digital teacher is based in another authority and the schools buy the
lessons off the authority?
Answer: In this scenario the digital teacher is employed by the "primary school" and the other
schools would have to include them in the SWF as they would any other agency/service
agreement teachers. The authority based digital teacher should be recorded and a contract
record returned by the LA and if they are in regular service with any schools, then those
schools would provide service agreement records.
School crossing patrols and centrally employed catering staff
Question: Do school crossing patrols and centrally employed catering staff need to be
included on the return?
Answer: School crossing patrols do not need to be included, however centrally employed
catering staff would need to be (providing they met the criteria of „regular service‟ and are in
school regularly as described in the guidance document).
SWF - FAQs
SIPS (School Improvement Partners)
Question: Do SIPs need to be included on the return?
Answer: SIPs do not need to be included. There is not a separate role code for them and it is
unlikely that they meet the other criteria for inclusion – in regular service as SIPs and in schools
Question: A school has two security guards that patrol the school perimeter. They don‟t enter
the school, or its grounds, nor do the school pay them (they‟re employed and paid by a private
Answer: No, security guards acting in the way described above are not in scope for SWF.
Question: How do you record staff who are self-employed and in regular service.
Answer: This would depend on the role of the member of staff, if they are a teacher then we
would require a full record. If they are support staff, they would only be included if they were in
school on the Spring Census Day in the third party support staff headcount.
Special Schools and PRUs
Question: When will special schools and PRUs be completing a School Workforce return?
Answer: Maintained special schools are in scope. PRUs are not in scope and there is
currently no time frame for when they will come into scope. Centrally employed teachers in
regular service and who work in PRUs should be included in the LA return.
Question: Are non maintained Special Schools required to complete this Census?
Answer: Non Maintained Special Schools are not required to complete the SWF.
Question: If a teacher was a full time music teacher at school A and then becomes part time at
school A and part time Peripatetic (with LA at school B), how is this returned?
Answer: There should be returns for the part time contract from school A and the peripatetic
duties from the LA. There should also be a closure record for the full time contract with school
A at the appropriate time.
Question: If a teacher has a permanent full time appointment at school 1 but then becomes a
part time teacher at school 1 AND a part time acting head at school 2, how is this returned?
Answer: Assuming the full time contract hasn't been closed, a contract record should returned
from school 1 with absence of secondment. The two part time contracts should also be
returned with the appropriate hours etc on each. So in this particular example, the teacher will
have 3 contract records returned: two from school 1 and one from school 2.
SWF - FAQs
Staff employed between collections
Question: Do schools/LAs need to capture data on regular workforce members who were
contracted during the period between a census if not employed on Census day?
Answer: Data on these would be captured as part of the 'continuous' data collection in the
census following the contract termination.
Staff not employed by schools
Question: Are staff employed other than by the School / LA and who work in schools on an ad
hoc basis included in the absent on Census Day count? For example, would an occupational
therapist employed by the Health Authority who occasionally visits schools be counted?
Answer: If someone is in scope for the SWF and due to attend on census day (ie this would
not include part-timers who wouldn't normally work that day), and then they should be counted
as absent if absent on census day. The health worker in this case is out of scope because
he/she is not in school regularly so would not be counted.
Staff over 70 years old
Question: Validation on age only allows up to age 70. Teachers pension allow membership up
to age 75. Do we ignore those people between 70 and 75?
Answer: No, people aged between 70 and 75 should be recorded – COLLECT will return a
query rather than an error in these circumstances, and you/the school will then be able to
resolve the query locally
Question: On 618g we have not included supply teachers, as the schools themselves reported
any actually in schools on census day. Will the same apply, or do we have to go to the trouble
of finding out details of all those who were in any schools that month? If so, there'll be a delay,
as we won't have this information until after the pay run for the relevant month.
Answer: If a teacher is in regular service, ie any period of continuous service that lasts one
calendar month or more, then they are within scope of the SWF and we would expect to receive
the information highlighted in the column 'agency/SA teachers in regular service' in the table in
section 1.9 of the Guidance Notes. Note that for agency teachers if the daily rate field is set to
yes then there is no need to provide the salary rate and other salary details, however, if it set to
no, then the salary details should be provided. For occasional teachers, those that are in
schools but not deemed to be in regular service because they have a contract for less than a
month, a simple headcount of those in school on Spring census day is required.
Supply teachers provided by the Local Authority
Question: What information needs to be included about supply teachers provided by the Local
Authority to a school?
Answer: In this situation the LA is acting like a supply agency and so the school should return
the information required for an agency teacher. If the supply teacher is in regular service in the
school, ie has a contract for one month or more, then the school should return a service
agreement record for that teacher. If they do not have a contract of one month or more but are
in school on the Spring Census day, then they should be included in the occasional teacher
SWF - FAQs
headcount. The LA should also provide a contract record for all those teachers in regular
service or have been in regular service during the census period. We appreciate that for some
LAs this is difficult to provide as the information may not be easily accessible. The Department
is interested in the pay and deployment of these teachers and if LAs are having real difficulty
providing this information please let us know via the DSG Helpdesk,
Question: Why is the Department still collecting information from schools on supply teachers
provided by LAs, where the LA is acting like a supply agency, when it has dropped the
requirement for schools to provide information on centrally employed staff visiting them
Answer: Ideally we would still like to collect data on all staff working in schools but we have
listened to feedback from the pilot collections. The suspension of some of the requirements is
in direct response to the problems that some schools/LAs have encountered in submitting this
data. Supply teachers form a distinct group that impact directly on the education of children but
it is a group that the Department currently knows little about. Therefore we wish to maintain
current efforts to collect school deployment data.
Question: We have a school which is going to become a trust school in the September this
year. Can you advise who is now responsible for the collection, compliance and approval of the
Answer: The LA will still be responsible for ensuring collection of the SWF census. Only
academies fall outside of the responsibility of LAs for SWF.
Type of staff
Question: The Rules in 3.1 of the Technical Specification are used to determine the TYPE of
person e.g. whether they are Teacher in Regular Service, Agency/Service Agreement Teacher
in Regular Service OR Teaching Assistant OR Other Support Staff. However, if I am a
Teaching Assistant, does this mean that I am included regardless of when my contract
starts/ends as none of the usual checks eg less than a month etc. exist for that category of
Answer: Section 3.1 of the Technical Specification defines rules for assessing the 'Type' of
person. These rules apply to all staff in scope as defined in Section 2.1.5, which states that staff
on continuous service of more than a month are in scope.
Which contracts to include
Question: Guidance states that staff in scope are all staff employed by or attached to the
school during the week of the census - should that be on Census Day?
Answer: This definition matches existing practice (School Census and 618G) and gives a
broader snapshot picture. If the snapshot was just for Census Day, part time staff that do not
work on a Thursday would be missing from the overall headcount. This applies to the individual
level data only. For the school level data the definitions relate to those in school on Spring
Census day to avoid counting more than once staff working in several schools during Census
SWF - FAQs
Which data should be included in the Spring 09 collection
Question: In January as part of the pilot are we able to return just basic data sets and
absence? Or will we need to ask the schools to complete the staff details module and contract
module, curriculum module and qualification module?
Answer: In January 2009 you will need to return staff details, absence and contract modules
together with vacancy information and headcounts of occasional teachers and third party
support staff. Curriculum and qualification modules are returned as part of the Autumn Census.
Which schools should be included in the pilots
Question: What kind of schools are best for the first time we do the SWF?
Answer: Those LAs who are returning data for the first time in Jan 2009 need a minimum of 10
or 10% of schools (which ever is the greater) to take part in the January and May 2009
censuses, and all your schools in Autumn 2009. The choice of pilot schools is up to you,
though you might be well advised to include a spread of phases and sizes, so as to throw up
likely problems earlier rather than later. You will be best placed to decide whether there are
other local parameters for a decision on pilot selection.
Question: Are „volunteers‟ to be included or excluded in the School Workforce Census – as
our Data Protection Officer has suggested that we may need to make a few amendments to our
Fair Processing Notice if volunteers are included
Answer: Volunteers are not included in the School Workforce Census.
SWF - FAQs
SNAPSHOT AND CONTINUOUS DATA
Snapshot information on Census Day
Question: Does the snapshot include staff whose contract was terminated in the previous
term, ie the end date is later than the end of the last appropriate census? This assumes that the
school maintains contracts.
Answer: Snapshot data collected in the Spring collection only includes staff with a current
contract/agreement; data on staff whose contract terminated during the previous term will be
collected as part of the 'continuous' data. The collection of data is reliant on the maintenance of
the data and in order for schools and LAs to submit complete data in the Spring 2010 collection,
they will need to ensure contract data for the previous term (1 September to 31 December) and
absence data for the previous calendar year is up to date.
SWF - FAQs
Question: Does 'NOBT - Not Obtained' mean asked for but not supplied or responded to, or
does it mean not requested?
Answer: Ethnicity data should be requested from all members of staff. If staff refuse to supply
their ethnicity then "REFU - did not wish to be recorded" should be used. If however, the data
has not yet been requested, supplied or entered onto the MIS then "NOBT - not obtained"
should be used.
Former Family Names
Question: For schools not storing contract information on their MIS it may be difficult to
automatically decide whether to populate Former Family Names or not. If the school does
happen to store former family names for non-teaching support staff already in their database, is
there a problem if they do return this data?
Answer: Former family name is not required in SWF for other support staff (all support staff
except teaching assistants) or agency teachers so schools and LAs are not required to record
this information. It is up to schools what information they store on their management
information systems and data that is not required in SWF should be filtered out in the extraction
Question: We don‟t understand how values other than male or female can be allowed. Surely
the school should not be allowed to submit not known or not specified?
Answer: This set of codes complies with e-GIF. There are some cases where a person does
not know their own gender, albeit rare, hence the 'not known' value.
Name – known as
Question: Is there a 'known as' name option for staff?
Answer: No - e-GIF does allow a Person Requested Name, and suppliers and users are
welcome to use it locally. We're not collecting it because standardising on legal name gives us
a firm basis for identity matching.
National Insurance numbers
Question: One of my schools is having some difficulty persuading a supply teacher to provide
their National Insurance Number, does this really need to be submitted?
Answer: National Insurance Number is part of the minimum dataset necessary for
the matching and reconciliation process and also the identification of individuals so that a
database can be built over time, enabling statistics to be produced to inform recruitment and
retention issues. However, given that records provided by schools for agency / service
agreement teachers are unlikely to need to be matched and reconciled with records from the
LA, as long at Teacher Number is provided for these teachers, the Department will accept
records for agency / service agreement teachers without National Insurance Numbers. Schools
SWF - FAQs
or LAs submitting such records without National Insurance numbers will need to be aware that
errors will be generated when the data is uploaded to COLLECT and will need to add notes
against those errors to explain why NI number has not been submitted. Please be aware that
NI number is essential for other types of staff, eg where records from schools and LAs are to be
matched and reconciled and for support staff for whom NI number is the only unique identifier
QTS Route - Newly Qualified Teachers
Question: Is it right that QTS route was only required for newly qualified teachers?
Answer: No this is only to be returned for staff currently in schools en route to achieving QTS.
This does not have to be back filled for staff that already have QTS.
SWF - FAQs
SUBMISSION OF 618G IN SPRING 2010
Question: I understand that if I make a complete SWF return form my LA in Spring 2010 I won‟t
have to submit 618g. What do you mean by a complete return?
Answer: All data for all schools, including absence for the whole calendar year, and the central
return, where all records have been approved by the LA and all authorised by the Department.
Question: What do you mean by authorised by the Department?
Answer: If a return has been approved by the LA, and it is considered “clean” by the Helpdesk
then it can be authorised. Credibility checks will be applied to the data and if issues cannot be
resolved then the Department reserves the right to ask the LA to complete 618g.
Question: What if all the schools can provide their data but the LA can‟t provide the central
Answer: Then in Spring 2010, I‟m afraid you will also need to complete 618g. The Department
needs 618g to continue the National Statistics time series where we are not getting full data
Question: It is unfair on our schools if they can return their data for SWF and the LA cannot –
they are being penalised by having to do 618g as well. Is there no way that the LA can be
exempted from 618g in this situation?
Answer: The fact that if your LA can make a complete SWF return then you can drop 618g
could be a good carrot to engage your HR. You might also wish to explore the possibility of
aggregating data provided schools in SWF to produce their elements of 618g rather than them
having to provide the data twice. Members of the LA Support Team would be happy to come
and meet with your HR colleagues if that would help.
Question: What if one of my schools can‟t return SWF data, does that mean I will have to
complete 618g too?
Answer: Yes, 618g will be required. This could be a good way of putting pressure on the
school to comply with the requirements of SWF.
Question: What if we can‟t provide complete data for all schools and/or a complete central
return will we really have to do 618g as well as SWF?
Question: We don‟t have sufficient resource in the LA to do SWF and 618g also – what should
Answer: You should work towards making a good SWF return, because in Autumn 2010 SWF
will be our only source of school workforce data for the 2010/2011 academic year (618g will not
be run in Spring 2011 nor will the staffing elements of School Census be collected) but if you
can‟t make a complete SWF return you will need to do 618g too in Spring 2010.
SWF - FAQs
TECHNICAL AND MAKING THE RETURN
Question: I am puzzled as to why „Yes‟ and „No‟ have been used for Boolean fields (eg
QTStatus) in the amended version of the SWF spec when „true‟ and „false‟ are the standard
elsewhere, for example in the School Census spec for 2008.
Answer: This was due to concerns raised by suppliers about whether Boolean fields could
have NULL values or whether they would default to false.
Question: I have created the central return but the file will not upload to COLLECT. Error
message: - “An error occurred uploading the file. Please contact your system administrator.
FileName: 357_SWF09_001.xml Details: The Organisation has not been found in the Expected
Answer: The file still includes the Estab tag. The file needs to be opened in a word or text pad
and Estab tag completely removed. [NEW]
CSV to XML conversion tool
Question: For the AP Census DCSF provided a conversion tool to convert csv files to XML will
the same be provided for SWF?
Answer: The Department provided a conversion tool for the Spring and Summer 2009
collections and is committed to providing similar tools for the Autumn 2009 and Spring 2010
Resubmissions to COLLECT
Question: With XML files, will a second submission to COLLECT overwrite the first?
Answer: Yes a second XML file will overwrite the data already submitted if the LA Number,
Estab, Software Code and Source Level in the file header are the same as that already
submitted to COLLECT.
Returning data via COLLECT
Question: Is COLLECT the only way to submit the returns to DCSF?
Answer: Yes it is.
Question: We are an academy and have completed the SWF and submitted the data on
COLLECT. We understand that we are responsible for approving this data, however there is no
Answer: You need to go back to the main screen and instead of selecting Source you need to
select Agent then you will be able to click the approve button.
SWF - FAQs
Role items/contract items
Question: Some of the validations say that the check should be applied to the Role items as
well as Contract items, as the fields exist on both tables. However, I believe that you are only
allowed either a Contract or Role details but not both and there does not appear to be any
checks that look for both existing.
Answer: These rules are available in version 2.1 of the specifications (4555, 4565 and 4785).
Question: Rule 4750 - says must be in the format nn.nn. Field involved is hours per week so
is validation really that the value must be in a particular range? Also, is the decimal part of the
value supposed to be a number of minutes rather than a true decimal fraction?
Answer: Description of the field in the specification tables includes "e.g. 19.5 hours for a
teacher working three days per week." This is a true decimal and 30 minutes is represented as
0.5. No range check is required only a format check is needed here.
Question: Rule 4770 - says must be format nn. Field is Weeks per Year so is check really that
it must be between 1 and 52?
Answer: No range check is required only a format check is needed here, however COLLECT
only allows values 1 to 53.