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Data Definitions

Data definitions


All National Statistics collections involve data from a management information system e.g. data collected directly from the school attendance & absence records.

The data definitions are agreed nationally amongst partners to meet the practical requirements of schools, LAs and central government.

Accessing data definitions

You can access data definitions using the following steps

  • First use the link below to access the ScotXed data exchange page
  • From here you can access the individual home page of each survey by selecting the link on the left hand side for the survey of interest e.g. school pupil census
  • Next, on the right hand side of the survey home page there is a section headed supporting information. Under this heading there is a list of documents including the data specification for the survey. You will also find an archive of previous survey information, along with a basic description of the survey and a broad timetable for data collection.
  • Open the relevant document. The document provides tables which define whether particular information is mandatory, is represented in the collection by a code, has set values, etc.
  • Each data definition page provides information detailing changes to the specification and when these have been made. This information can explain why the appearance of a data item collected in the past is not exactly the same as the most recent entry for that item.

Changes to data collections

Data collections are changed through the ScotXed Change Control System Changes to the large-scale XML collections (pupil & teacher censuses, attendance, exclusions, leavers) are agreed through an online consultation process, with a final meeting of LA representatives. Changes to other collections are made through e-mail consultation. Details of changes are available on the ScotXed website. See point 5 above.

Contact for further information


Ailie Clarkson

ScotXed Unit


T: 0131 244 0307