Data Quality/Data Cleaning

Records Management Society Toolkit

There is an invaluable guidance document for schools, provided by the Records Management Society. It is a toolkit which covers the different types of records collected and managed by schools, information security, record retention and destruction among other topics. Please find the latest version (updated February 2016) on the following link:

Specific data items

General note

On Management Information Systems, only the data item the field is for should be recorded. Explanatory notes, questions etc. should never be recorded unless the field is a Notes field.

In other words, the Last Name field should read:         Brown

And not:        Brown (mother’s name)

The Telephone field should read:           020 8123 4567

And not:        020 8123 4567 (Grandma’s)

The same goes for all other fields. Please bear in mind that the data from your system, while being used to manage your school, is used in many other local and national systems. Those systems are designed to deal with large amounts of data but are unable to deal with exceptions like the above.

Please use the notes fields for those comments.


Double barrelled names should be recorded without white spaces on either side of the hyphen:

Last name:   Smith-Brown

and not:        Smith – Brown

This allows systems to identify both parts of the name as one unit, rather than just one part of the name.

Name fields should never contain notes.

Instead of recording John (Johnny) in the first name field, please do the following:

           First name:                John

           Preferred name:       Johnny

Please note: the second field might have a different field descriptor on your system, such as Nickname, Child Alias etc.

Phone numbers

London phone numbers should be recorded like this:

  • 020 8xxx xxxx
  • 020 7xxx xxxx
  • 020 3xxx xxx

Mobile phone numbers should be recorded like this:

  • 07xxx xxxxxx


UPNs are produced via the school’s MIS using a complex algorithm and contain information which can help schools to identify the pupil’s originating school.

Under the national formula UPNs have 13 characters as follows:

Character 1

Check Letter

Characters    2-4

LA Number of the School allocating the UPN

Characters    5-8

DCSF Establishment Number of the School

Characters    9-10

The last two digits of the academic year in which the UPN is allocated

Characters 11-13

A sequential number of three digits for UPNs allocated by the school in that year

For example:

Character Position














UPN (Example)














UPN Component

Check Letter

LA Number

DCSF Establishment Number

Year of Allocation

Sequential Number

For more information see the page regarding UPNs.

Code of Practice (COP) stage codes – when to use K and E

COP stage codes are strictly defined by the Code of Practice. Please ensure that your SENCO is familiar with the definitions.

COP Stage code: K (SEN Support):

Schools must use SEN provision code K, if a pupil receives any SEN support from the school. SEN Support is a merger of the two formerly known categories School Action (SA) and School Action plus (SA+).

COP Stage code:  E (EHC Plan)

Schools must use SEN provision code E, if a pupil has been issued a final EHC Plan by the Local Authority.

Please note: you cannot use code E for a pupil who is under EHC assessment or has received a draft EHC Plan issued by the LA.

If you are not sure about the SEN COP stage codes and need any further clarification or help, please contact the SEN team.

SEND Code of Practice guidance:

More details on the code of practice guidance for the special educational needs and disability (SEND) system for children and young people aged 0 to 25 can be found following this link:

See also code of practice advice for school governing bodies/proprietors, senior leadership teams, SENCOs and classroom staff following this link:

Last updated 1 September 2016