There are 3 school census collections each year. These occur in October, January and May; the censuses are also commonly know as Autumn, Spring and Summer. The census files can be downloaded from the DfE's COLLECT portal and are provided in the xml file format.
COLLECT will close a couple of months after the census at which point an LA can download files for all schools, including academies. (You will have access to maintained schools' data as soon as the files have been submitted, and to academies' data once DfE are happy that any queries or errors have been resolved and have authorised them).
We strongly recommend that you always import your census data as soon as you have the full set of files available for that term's census, as this powers the absence reports, elements of Insight and infographics, but it is essential that you import the spring term census as this is required for populating the pupil characteristics fields in the primary assessment reports and assessment elements of Insight.
Importing the census
Census files can be downloaded from the DfE's COLLECT portal as individual XML files for each school in your LA. This includes academy data once they have been authorised by DfE. You will need to download separately academy files ("Academy export") and maintained school files ("Export all"), which will give you two ZIP files, which you can import directly into Nexus.
Log into Nexus and browse to the import screen...
Keypas > Imports > Import New File > School Census
At the bottom of the import screen you can either drag and drop your ZIP files or add related files to select them from your computer.
When you have added the files, click Upload and this will start check that the files themselves are valid.
If all the files are OK then you can confirm the upload, and you will be taken back to the import queue, where you can check that it has loaded correctly.
Because the files come directly from COLLECT, there shouldn't be too many problems with them, but sometimes they do happen. If the entire import fails then you may need to split it into smaller batches to identify which file is causing it to fail.
One of the more common ones is to have special characters that haven't been encoded correctly, particularly ampersands – any '&' in a field (eg school name, address) should be written as & – you can open the offending XML file in Notepad, search for '&' and if there are any that are not encoded correctly then fix them, save and re-upload the file.
If you are unable to resolve the problem then please contact the helpdesk at email@example.com and they will advise you what to do next.