No-one likes rushing around like a headless chicken. Not least when trying to pull data from various sources to hastily stuff into a report to satisfy the DfE! As the School Workforce Census (SWC) swings its way around again, let us give you a lesson in how to make the process as easy as 1, 2, 3. (Yes, really, that easy.)
A million members of staff later
Since 2010, the Census has been helping the DfE inform bureaucratic policy on pay, monitor the effectiveness of the school workforce, and measures its diversity. Theoretically speaking, this should help those working in the sector experience some long-term benefits, like salary reviews or more active movements towards equality. But, in the short-term, the effects are rather underwhelming. And instead, the task generally feels of little direct benefit to schools. That’s probably why most education professionals simply see it as a burden; arduous and time-consuming.
At Every, we recognised the problem, so we sought a solution. Granted, we can’t make it the most exciting activity in the book, but we can make it far less likely to induce a headache.
Data: the goldmine
So, what truly lies at the core of flawless Census data collection? Access to reliable and accurate up-to-date information, of course! Every HR stores data in one single central location. It also ensures this data is current by integrating it with our employee self-service portal. Staff members are given responsibility to keep their own details updated, whether they’ve recently been on-boarded or they’re a long-serving team member. Ranging from address details to achieved qualifications to ethnicity, self-input helps to mitigate opportunity for incorrect data entry.
What’s more, users can set up automated alerts to ensure that any data the system flags as ‘old’ is reviewed. This reduces the chance of outdated details slipping through the net and into the Census. Automating features significantly reduces precious administrative time that could otherwise be spent on more pressing tasks. Time is of the essence, after all.
Once you’ve populated the Census with employee data, our software runs a data check. Data that is missing or requires amends is flagged, and then filtered by errors and queries. This means that you have full visibility over the state of your data, knowing where the gaps are. Once this data input is complete, a re-check can be ran to ensure all information is watertight. After you’ve established that your data is 100%, property information can be easily retrieved and pulled across from your central Every portal.
It then takes just a few clicks to transport this data from our software solution to the DfE’s COLLECT platform. And that’s about that. We really meant it when we said it was as easy as 1, 2, 3. Time to get back to the day job!
Having such a coherent and complete collection of staff data doesn’t just lend itself to the Census. Changes to details are tracked in an audit trail that is of great benefit and use to other compliance procedures. For example, ensuring a concrete Single Central Record. It can be surprising how many gaps you come across that need plugging for this critical component of an OFSTED inspection. That’s why our software clearly displays and alerts users as to where the holes in data are, not just at inspection time.
We’re pretty confident that you’ve got the dates in your diary already, but just in case, here’s your reminder to mark the following:
- Thursday 4th November 2021: School Workforce Census Day
- Friday 3rd December 2021: Data-submission deadline
We know first-hand that there’s no feeling quite like pressing ‘submit’ on your School Workforce Census with peace of mind. And so do the wide range of schools and multi-academy trusts that we service nationwide.