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Preparing for the Commonwealth Census

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

Each year in August, Australian Non Government Schools complete a Census for the Commonwealth Government, from which many schools derive the biggest amount of income they receive from any one source.

Given the Commonwealth Census determines the single biggest income line in many school accounts, getting the census right just seems like common sense!

Resolve has undertaken over 300 reviews of Census Returns for many years on behalf of the Commonwealth Government and have found many errors – many of which have fairly significant financial negative impacts on schools.

It seems that the majority of schools would seem to make mistakes in the completion of their census – most of these are silly errors that would indicate that the preparation of the census is either rushed or the requirements are not properly understood.

We decided this year we should share some of the areas that schools need to make sure they are looking at as they get ready for Census:

  1. Make sure your attendance rolls and admin system numbers all add up – sounds obvious but every now and again the system does not reflect who is in class!

  2. Make sure you actually read the Census Guidelines – there is actually some helpful info in here!

  3. Have you looked for Students who are born overseas, or where both Mother and Father were born overseas? Are they Local Students or are they actually on a Visa? Just because a Student has an Australian Birth Certificate does not automatically mean they are a Local Student.

  4. Do you have paperwork back up for students in different classifications – this is especially relevant for Students With Disabilities (is there documentation that meets the required definitions) and Students on Visas (do we have copies of current visas on file?)

  5. Are any students absent for the 4 weeks prior to census date (Friday 5 August 2016)? If so you need to apply for Special Consideration for them (whatever the reason they are away)

  6. Do you have any Year 1 Minus 1 (ie Prep, Kindergarten, Reception, etc) students who will repeat next year or have repeated from last year? You can only count them in one Commonwealth Census for funding purposes, so they may need to be excluded.

  7. At census day print off all your work papers and keep them together – especially if your system cannot go backwards and you need proof of what you have included!

If you would like a review done of your school’s census related data (before you submit the census!) or perhaps a training session with key staff please give Resolve a call. As time is pressing before the August Census the sooner you contact Resolve the better!

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