Children’s Commissioner’s information request

Education status of looked after children: Frequently Asked Questions

The Children’s Commissioner for England has written to all Directors of Children’s Services (DCSs) to request information about the education status of children who were looked after by the local authority as of 31 March 2022.  

The deadline for providing this information is 9 December 2022. 

The following questions have been submitted by local authorities. To support the completion of the request these questions and the answers are being shared. If you are unsure of any details of the request or require additional information please contact the Head of Data Collection [[email protected]] who will be able to assist.  

How to record the education status of children going through the adoption process whose school records have been closed by the LA?

Example: children for whom the adoption process was underway as of 31/03/2022, and whose pre-adoption records have effectively been ended and who have had their school ended in the system to ensure there is no link between their old and new identities.  

Answer: These children should have their UPN and Child Identifier included in the return, but the variables ENROL_STAT and URN should be left blank.  

Do we need to provide additional entries where a child is receiving additional 1:1 tuition on top of their full-time education?

Example: If a child is receiving extra maths tuition after school 

Answer: No, 1:1 or small group tuition only needs to be recorded where it is part of the child’s full-time education provision. It does not need to be recorded where it is in addition to full-time education provision.  

Are you only requesting the data item returns for those children who were captured on the SSDA903 return on 31.03.2022 but do not appear on the school census national pupil database?

Answer: No, we are requesting that the education provision be provided as specified in the Information Pack for all children who were recorded on the SSDA903 return on 31/03/2022 who: 

  • Had been in care for at least four weeks 
  • Were of statutory school age (see Information Pack for definition) 

With regard to children missing from care, is the data item for any child who may have been recorded as missing from care on 31/03/2022 to be “not receiving any education provision” even if they were enrolled full-time at a registered education setting?

Answer: Yes 

Should the type of reference number used for the settings be the same, or, for instance, could both UKPRN and DfE URN be used?

Answer: This column provides a linking variable for linking to the ‘Get Information About Schools’ database so the same type of reference number should be used wherever possible. If it is not possible to provide the same type of reference number for each setting, please inform us when submitting the data and let us know what types of reference number have been used.  

If a child is on a temporary part-time timetable as of 31/03/22 but is recorded on the school census with a school coded as their sole or main provision and with FALSE against part-time do you record the child as enrolled full-time or part-time for 31/03/2022.

Answer: If, from the LA perspective, the child was only receiving a part-time timetable as of 31/03/22 please record them as enrolled part-time.  

If a child is in full-time enrolment at a school and recorded by them on the attendance register (as absent) and tuition has been put in place as the child refuses to attend the school, do we record one line as full-time enrolment at the school and a second line for the child recording the tuition?

Answer: Yes, two lines would be entered recording their enrolment in a school and the provision of tutoring (or some other education arrangement).   

If a child is not attending school but is enrolled in one and the LA is NOT providing any additional education provision this does not need to be recorded as an additional line for ‘not receiving any education provision’. However, we will explore children’s attendance in the School Census, if a child has under 50% attendance for the term and no additional education provision was recorded, we may follow-up with you to explore those cases in more detail in terms of any actions taken to support the child.