Ready for the Post-16 Census? What You Need to Know

The Post-16 Census forms part of the Autumn School Census, which takes place in the first week of October each year.


The data that is returned is used by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (EFSA) to calculate Post-16 Funding for your school. It is therefore crucial that the data is accurate, as mistakes or omissions can have a significant effect.


The majority of the Post-16 data comes from SIMS Course Manager, comprising the Learning Aim (course membership) records of each Post-16 student in the previous and current academic year. The previous year data is used to inform the retention measures which drive Sixth Form Funding, the current year data provides the EFSA and DfE with provision information which will form the basis of policy decisions in the future.


As well as including course records, schools also need to identify the number of Planned Hours that make up each student programme, prior attainment for Maths & English at Key Stage 4, as well as dealing with any students who are on a traineeship or work part-time.


Within SIMS, the information recorded in Exams Organiser, Nova-T6 (the timetable) and Academic Management, plays a critical part in supporting the accuracy of Post-16 data. It is vital that schools ensure that Course Manager and these modules are managed effectively.


The EFSA Funding Formula for 16-19 and the DfE School Census Technical Specifications are both very complex in nature, and schools need to ensure they understand the implications of the data recorded in SIMS. A significant amount of manual checking of data is required, involving a range of different roles in school – schools should not underestimate this task, which will generally take around 2 weeks to complete.


EIS offers a full day training course – E344- SIMS: Course Manager & Post 16 Learning Aims in the School – which covers the use of Course Manager as well as the Post-16 Census itself.


We also deliver a series of Seminars – S371: Post-16 Learning Aims in the School Census – which go over the Census requirements and the data-checking activities that are required to ensure the submission is correct. These seminars are free to existing EIS customers. 


We also publish a wide range of support documentation and information notices on our Support Portal, which customers can access. These include notification of key issues, background reference materials and useful how-to guides.