School workforce annual census (SWAC) frequently asked questions: school data returns
Includes advice about privacy, roles, pay and absence.
In this page
1. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Privacy Notice
1.1 How often does the Privacy Notice need to be distributed re the School Workforce?
Once a Privacy Notice 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. Privacy Notices have been placed on the Welsh Government website 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.
1.2 Can schools or individual staff refuse to participate in SWAC?
SWAC does not require individuals to provide consent in order for the information to be shared with Welsh Government. Information on members of the school workforce is collected in accordance with the Education (Supply of Information about the School Workforce) (Wales) Regulations 2017, made under section 113(2) and (3) of the Education Act 2005 and places a legal obligation on schools and local authorities to provide the information.
Under the lawful basis identified for collecting the information, individuals do have the right to:
- access a copy of your own data
- request that we rectify inaccuracies in that data
- object to or restrict processing (in certain circumstances)
- request that your data be ‘erased’ (in certain circumstances).
In the case of an individual exercising their rights as stated above, the individual would be required to submit their request to the school / local authority, and the request should be considered in line with the legal obligations of the school and local authority as laid out in the privacy notice. If the local authority is unclear about the response that should be given, they should contact the Welsh Government. Objections raised by individuals on the further processing or erasing of personal information by Welsh Government should be sent be sent to us at SWAC.CBGY@gov.wales and would be considered on its own merits against the lawful basis for collecting the information.
2. School types
2.1 Are non maintained Special Schools required to complete this Census?
Non Maintained Special Schools are not required to complete the SWAC. Only maintained school settings (including nursery, primary, middle, secondary and special schools, and pupil referral units (PRUs) in Wales are required to submit a SWAC return.
2.2 We have a school which from 1 September will be opted-out of payroll and/or HR Service Level Agreements. What is the LA’s responsibility in submitting the return?
The LA has no responsibility with respect to returning the pay, HR and absence data return for ‘opted-out’ schools. These schools will be responsible for submitting and approving their own returns. If an ‘opted-out’ school wishes to enter into data sharing arrangements with the LA then they are free to do so, but would need to inform the Welsh Government IMS mailbox.
3. Staff details
3.1 Does 'NOBT, not obtained' mean asked for but not supplied or responded to, or does it mean not requested?
Ethnicity and disability data should be requested from all members of staff. If staff refuse to supply their ethnicity then REFU, refused should be used. If however, the data has not yet been requested, supplied or entered onto the MIS then NOBT, information not yet obtained should be used.
3.2 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 headteacher, they use the same bursars, librarians etc. How should these be recorded?
We require a return for both the schools. Staff shared across the schools should be returned separately for each school and, where required, showing the Full-time Equivalents (FTE) for the time they spend working within that school. This is consistent with Pupil Level Annual Schools Census (PLASC) which returns the pupils for each school.
3.3 One of my schools is having some difficulty persuading a member of staff to provide their National Insurance Number, does this really need to be submitted?
National Insurance Number is part of the minimum dataset necessary for the matching and reconciliation process. It allows the linking of data so that a database can be built over time, enabling statistics to be produced to inform recruitment and retention issues. Therefore, every effort should be made to provide their National Insurance Number.
3.4 A member of staff does not know the exact date they were awarded their QTS. Can they enter the 1st of the relevant month?
Yes, an individual can enter the 1st of the month they obtained QTS.
3.5 A member of staff holds Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) but is not contracted to work as a teacher. Do I need to record their QTS?
QTS status must to be provided for all members of staff in regular service, regardless of whether they are employed as a teacher or not. QTS date and QTS route must be recorded for all members of staff who hold QTS. The role recorded for the individual should reflect the role they are contracted to do. The QTS field would reflect whether they hold QTS regardless of the role they are undertaking in the school.
a) Individual A is contracted as a classroom teacher and holds a QTS.
b) Individual B is contracted as a classroom teacher but does not hold QTS.
c) Individual C is contracted as a teaching assistant but also holds a QTS.
a) Individual A should be recorded with a role of ‘QT, other qualified teacher’ with the QTS box ticked.
b) Individual B should be recorded with a role of ‘OT, other teachers (not QTS status but not 'unqualified'’) or ‘UQ, unqualified teacher’ with the QTS box unticked.
c) Individual C should be recorded with a role of ‘TA, other teacher assistants/aides employed in the classroom’’ with the QTS box ticked.
3.6 A member of staff is working as a teaching assistant but holds the Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA) status. How should they be recorded in SWAC?
The role recorded for the individual should reflect the role they are contracted to do. The HLTA status would reflect whether they are qualified to undertake a HLTA role regardless of the role they are undertaking in the school.
a) Individual A is contracted as a HLTA and holds HLTA status.
b) Individual B is contracted as a teaching assistant but also holds HLTA status.
c) Individual C is contracted as a Special Educational Needs Support Officer and does not hold a HLTA status.
a) Individual A should be recorded with a role of ‘HL, higher level teaching assistant’ with the HLTA status box ticked.
b) Individual B should be recorded with a role of ‘TA, other teacher assistants/aides employed in the classroom’ with the HLTA status box ticked.
c) Individual C should be recorded with a role of ‘SN, special educational needs support staff’ with the HLTA status box unticked.
3.7 A member of staff holds a National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) but is not part of the leadership team. Do they need to record their NPQH status?
The role recorded for the individual should reflect the role they are contracted to do. The NPQH status would reflect whether they hold a NPQH regardless of the role they are undertaking in the school.
a) Individual A is contracted as a head teacher and holds a NPQH.
b) Individual B is contracted as an assistant head teacher but does not hold a NPQH.
c) Individual C is contracted as a classroom teacher but also holds a NPQH.
a) Individual A should be recorded with a role of ‘HT, head teacher’ with the NPQH status box ticked.
b) Individual B should be recorded with a role of ‘AH, assistant head teacher’ with the NPQH status box unticked.
c) Individual C should be recorded with a role of ‘QT, qualified teacher’ with the NPQH status box ticked.
4.1 Many of our Advisors are paid under Soulbury Terms and Conditions and do not visit schools on a regular basis. Do they need to be included?
Advisory teachers, often qualified teachers that carry out a range of duties including training staff, helping develop and implement school policy and classroom support, should be included in the central return. However, other types of advisors would only be included if they spent the majority of their time in schools.
4.2 We have some apprentices working in our schools, should they be included in the SWAC?
Apprentices should be included if they have a contract for one month or more and are fulfilling one of the roles listed in the role code set. If they are employed on a more casual or training basis, then they would not be included.
4.3 Should staff employed in Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs be included in the SWAC return? Should staff in Children’s Centres or Early Years settings be included?
Breakfast Clubs and After School Clubs are extended services, and therefore not in scope. Children’s Centres and Early Years Settings are also out of scope.
4.4 Should we include midday supervisors?
A staff role code (‘MS’) is included to record Midday supervisors. They should be included if they have a contract for one month or more. If they are employed on a more casual or training basis, then they would not be included.
Where an individual is employed as a Teaching Assistant on a full-time basis and has a separate contract to undertake a Midday Supervisor role, their full-time equivalence should be recorded as 1.0 against the ‘TA’, teaching assistant role and the relevant ‘FTE’ recorded against the ‘MS’, midday supervisor role in addition.
4.5 Are cleaning staff and caretakers to be included in the SWAC?
No, cleaning staff and caretakers are not required to be recorded in SWAC.
4.6 Are voluntary staff to be included in the census?
No, voluntary staff should not be included.
4.7 How do we deal with the difference between peripatetic and advisory teachers? A variety of job titles are used in our schools, and they don't always correspond to the roles in the SWAC code set.
The distinction 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 best reflects what the person mostly does.
4.8 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?
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 in the ‘Pay, HR and Absence’ data return at the appropriate time.
4.9 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 the Other category?
This is about the nature of work carried out by staff, not the office hierarchy. Schools should choose the role that fits the individuals work best. Other possibilities include bursar, school secretary, finance officer and office manager.
4.10 Do we need to include clerk to governors in the return?
No, they do not need to be included.
4.11 Our Headteacher has been seconded to another school, we now have a ‘Head of School’ not a replacement headteacher. How should they be recorded in the SWAC?
How the individual should be recorded is dependent on the responsibilities they are undertaking. If the individual is covering the responsibilities of the Head Teacher then they should be recorded as the Acting Head and, if not, they should be recorded as a Deputy, e.g. to an Executive Head with responsibility for a number of schools. The individual’s contract of employment should clarify their role.
4.12 If a teacher changes role to become a member of the admin team within the same school, would their old post need to be recorded?
If a teacher has moved into a support or admin staff role, a retention record would need to be returned with a destination of ‘Employed in a non-teaching capacity within the education system’ (introduced in SWAC phase 2 in 2021). A full ’School’ data record would need to be returned for the individual reflecting their new role.
4.13 Are students that are on teacher training placements to be included in SWAC?
Yes, they should be recorded as staff role ‘TT’, trainees on initial teacher training courses.
4.14 How do we record cover supervisors?
Cover supervisor is listed as an additional role for which FTE is not recorded, as we are expecting in many cases for it to be part of another role. If cover supervisor role is a contracted role, the main role of ‘OS, other support Staff’ should be selected and the FTE recorded against it, with ‘CS, cover supervisor’ also selected as an additional role.
4.15 We have a special school who have a few residential pupils and therefore residential staff. These staff are paid for by the school. Should they be recorded in the SWAC return?
Yes, residential staff should be included in the return as long as they come under one of the roles listed in the Staff Roles code set. If a residential staff member is a teacher in the school, they should be returned as a teacher, perhaps with Welfare officer/assistant as a secondary role if they perform these duties after normal school hours. Other residential staff may be recorded as Pastoral support staff if this is their primary role. I’d advise the school to look at the Staff Roles code set to check if the staff member should be included.
4.16 Should teachers on a sabbatical be included in SWAC?
Staff on sabbatical should be treated the same as individuals on absence. ‘Sabbatical Leave’ should be selected in the ‘Status’ field for the individual. A corresponding absence record from the ‘Pay, HR and Absence’ return would identify the individual as being on paid / unpaid absence.
4.17 Are staff on maternity and paternity leave to be included in SWAC?
Yes, staff on maternity and paternity leave should be included. They should have 0.00 recorded for their FTE in the ‘School’ return and ‘Maternity/Paternity/Adoption leave’ recorded against the ‘Status’ data item.
4.18 Should we include the person covering the maternity leave?
It depends on how the maternity is covered. The individual covering should be included if they are on a contract or formal agreement for a continuous period of 1 month or more. Do not include individuals who are covering on an ad hoc or short term basis covering a period of less than 1 month.
4.19 What about individuals who are on secondment, should they be included?
As for individuals on maternity leave, individuals who have been seconded out should be recorded by their original school with a 0.00 recorded for their FTE and ‘Secondment Out’ recorded against the ‘Status’ data item. The school which they have been seconded to would submit a record for the individual too but with the relevant FTE recorded against them.
4.20 How do I record Childcare officers in SWAC as there isn’t a role for them?
They should be recorded as ‘Pastoral support staff’ or ‘Other support staff’ (depending the role which best describes the role the childcare officer undertakes) with the FTE recorded against them. An additional role of ‘Welfare officer/assistant’ should also be selected (no FTE are required against this ‘additional’ role).
4.21 How do I record Literacy and Numeracy Framework trainers in SWAC as there isn’t a ‘main’ role for them?
The school should record the main role (e.g. teacher, other support staff, administration staff) which best describes the role undertaken by the individual. An additional role of ‘Literacy co-ordinator’ and/or ‘Numeracy co-ordinator’ can be selected as appropriate.
4.22 The headteacher in our school is also the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo) for the school. How should their SENCo role be recorded?
The list of staff role codes includes 2 separate codes for SENCO’s, one as a ‘Main’ role and a second as an ‘Optional’ role. The code ‘SP’ (SEN Co-ordinator (for individuals where it is their primary role)) should be selected if the SENCO is the individuals primary role within the school and the relevant ‘FTE’ value for the role should be entered.
The code ‘SC’ (SEN Co-ordinator (as an additional role to main responsibilities)) should be selected where the SENCO role is undertaken by an individual in addition to their main day-to-day role. For example, a headteacher who is also the schools’ SEN co-ordinator. In this example, the role ‘HT’ would be selected as the individuals ‘Main’ role and the relevant FTE value entered, and an ‘Additional’ role of ‘SC’ recorded.
If a specific role cannot be found in the list provided then the role which best describes the work undertaken should be selected. Schools may wish to check with and local authorities that the individual does not need to be included in SWAC.
5.1 Can Curriculum data be collected for support staff? For example, technicians will contribute to teaching different subjects (e.g. art/design, ICT, technology, science, etc.) to the different year groups and for the different subjects.
Curriculum data is required for teachers with teaching responsibility in the classroom. Schools may return curriculum information for teaching assistants if their timetabling and management information systems allows them to record the relevant information. SIMS can be used to record timetabling information for other support staff, however the data extraction process will not pull through this data for the SWAC return, and we do not require it.
5.2 Are special schools required to submit curriculum data?
No. Special schools, as well as nursery schools and PRUs, are not required to return curriculum information.
5.3 Some of our schools are on a 10 day timetable, but provide Welsh Baccalaureate, PSE and other subjects once a term. These subjects wouldn’t show in the SWAC return, however, they form a significant part of the curriculum delivered by the school. Can the school add records for these subjects to the curriculum return?
The school software allows for additional rows to be added manually to the curriculum module. Additional subjects should only be included if they make up a reasonable number of classroom hours throughout the year.
5.4 Our school has Learning Resource Bases where one teacher covers a number of year groups within 1 class. How should this be recorded?
Where a teacher or teaching assistant teaches/supports a lesson with a combination of reception, nursery and year group 1 to 6 pupils record the year group as M (for mixed).
6. Recruitment and retention
6.1 Do I need to return recruitment and retention data?
Yes, recruitment and retention data has been collected since the November 2021 collection. The information collected will cover all vacancies and leavers in the previous academic year (i.e. 1st September 2021 to 31 August 2022).
6.2 What should schools enter if they are not given the next destination of leavers?
If a school does not know the destination of a leaver they should record ‘UNK, unknown’.
6.3 A post was first advertised before the start of the last academic year but was filled during the last academic year. Does this post need to be included in the recruitment data?
Yes, the recruitment data should include vacancies that opened or closed in the period 1 September 2021 to 31 August 2022 of the academic year prior to census date, including vacancies that were not filled.
7.1 In our school we have supply staff providing cover, either on an ad hoc basis, or on a longer term agreement. How do we record each of these?
Individual level data is required from those that are in regular service, ie employed on a contract or service agreement for a continuous period of one month or more.
No individual level information should be returned for a supply teacher employed on an ad hoc basis or short term basis covering a period of less than 1 month. Aggregated information on the number of days and total cost of supply cover commissioned directly from commercial agencies must be included in the supply module which will be collected as part of phase 2 from November 2021.
7.2 What information needs to be included about supply teachers provided by the Local Authority to a school?
In this situation the LA is acting like a supply agency. 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 school data return record for the individual with a staff role of ‘LS, Contracted Supply Teacher (Non-Agency)’ . (For the purposes of SWAC, one month is defined to be a period of 28 days.) If they do not have a contract of one month or more, then they should be included in the aggregated supply module.
The LA must also provide a contract record for all supply teachers where they are acting like a supply agency and recorded with a post of ‘SPL, supply teacher employed centrally by local authority’.
7.3 Some cover Supervisors are employed by schools on contracts and cover sickness and training, meetings etc. When collecting costs for supply for the return, how do we record this?
Cover supervisors should be included on the school return at an individual level if they have a contract of 28 days or over.
Cover supervisors which are employed through agencies should be included in the supply costs in the school return, regardless of how long they are working at the school for. They should be recorded under the Teaching Assistant (TA) code in the supply module.
7.4 For the aggregated supply data returned, can you confirm if this is just for teaching staff only, or does it include supply cover for support staff too (including TAs, admin, technicians etc)?
The supply module for phase 2 of SWAC includes 3 categories of staff to record information against: TCHR, teacher; HLTA, Higher Level Teaching Assistant; LSWK, Learning Support Worker.
Teaching Assistants and technicians (as well as other supply staff who provide support in the classroom) should be recorded against LSWK (Learning Support Worker). Higher Level Teaching Assistants who are employed through supply agencies should be recorded against HLTA accordingly.
7.5 Should schools be recording the Gross or Net costs for the Supply module? Should they include the VAT?
Schools should record supply costs on a Net basis and excluding VAT.
7.6 Where should I record supply data for teaching assistants in the supply data module?
Supply information for teaching assistants should be recorded against staff category ‘LSWK’, Learning Support Worker. We will review the terminology used for the staff categories and amend as necessary for future collections.
7.7 What is defined as ‘long term’ for the purposes of completing the supply data module?
For the supply data module, “long term” cover is defined in line with the Agency Workers regulations 2010, where the “agency worker must work in the same role with the same hirer for 12 continuous calendar weeks, during one or more assignments”.
8. Submitting SWAC returns
8.1 Is the Data Exchange Wales initiative (DEWi) the only way to submit the returns to the Welsh Government?
Yes it is.