Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Answers to commonly asked questions about Get Information about Schools.


How often do I need to update and/or confirm my GIAS record?

An establishment’s record should be updated as changes occur, and at a minimum of once a month if required. This is for the details tab and the governance tab.

If establishment users have no changes to make to the establishment’s record but wish to confirm their record is up to date this can be undertaken by selecting the green confirm details button next to the edit button on the details tab and the green confirm governance information button next to the edit button on the governance tab. By selecting these buttons, establishments are confirming all their establishment’s record information is correct. The last confirmed or updated field on the details tab will then reflect todays’ date.

If you do not update one or more detail tab fields or select the confirm details button on the details tab within 60 days since the last confirm was made or field update was completed all GIAS users in your establishment, the headteacher/principal/manager, the main school email address, and the alternative school email address will receive the reminder email to review and update or confirm your establishment’s record. This message will be resent weekly until the establishment’s record is reviewed and confirmed or updated.

A confirm details notification banner will also appear at the top of your establishment’s record. This banner will remain until the confirm button is selected or an update to one or more fields is undertaken and saved. Once completed the last confirmed or updated field will show today’s date and the day count since the last confirm or update will restart.

Where is the Get Information About Schools (GIAS) guidance?

The Get Information About Schools (GIAS) guidance can be found here.

What is an online provider?

The term online provider refers to a provider of online education services which operates online-only on a permanent basis, delivering a full-time education, a full curriculum, and representing at least one child’s main source of education.

For further details please see glossary.

How do I register as an online provider?

To register as an online provider you need to register with the department and the details will be passed to the quality assurance board (QAB).

The details of the process are still to be confirmed.

What age group can attend an online provider establishment?

The online provider can have a child of any age, but they cannot register with the department for the online education accreditation scheme if they do not have a child of compulsory school age on their roll.

Who is the accreditation body for online providers?

The accreditation body for the online providers is still to be confirmed.

Where is the statutory guidance about making organisation changes to local authority maintained schools, including school closure

The statutory guidance about making organisation changes to local authority-maintained schools, including school closure can be found here.

Where is the statutory guidance about making organisation changes to academies and free schools, including school closure?

The statutory guidance about making organisation changes to academies and free schools, including school closure can be found here.

Where does the pupil number information and free school meal information on Get Information About Schools (GIAS) come from and when is it updated?

The figures for number of pupils, number of boys, number of girls, number of pupils eligible for free school meals (FSMs) and percentage of children eligible for free school meals (FSMs) are updated annually in July or August from the underlying data of the schools, pupils and their characteristics publication, usually published in July.

This is a link to the publication here.

This information comes from the January school census, the school level annual school census (SLASC), the general hospital schools (GHS) and the alternative provision (AP) data collections, respectively.

We currently have data from the January 2021 census data collections on GIAS.

When is the Ofsted rating and date of last inspection updated?

The Ofsted rating and the date of last inspection on Get Information about Schools (GIAS) is updated monthly using management information published by Ofsted reflecting the last full Ofsted inspection date and rating.

Why is my postcode not recognised?

Get Information About Schools (GIAS) uses the Ordnance Survey OS Places API to validate postcodes. There may be a delay between a new postcode being created and appearing on OS Places. If your school is a new build, please check with the local gazetteer at your local authority that the postcode has been set up.

How do I check my establishment’s unique property reference number (UPRN) value on the system?

1. Sign into your establishments GIAS record;

2. Select the 'Edit details' button on the details tab of your establishment's record;

3. Select the 'Replace this address' link;

4. Enter or re-enter your establishment's correct postcode and then select the 'Find address' button;

5. Select your establishment’s correct address from the 'Pick an address' drop-down list.
For information, this list is populated with data from the Ordinance Survey (OS). If there is no obvious match for your establishment or you are unsure of the correct choice to make please contact the service desk to seek further guidance.

6. Select the 'Replace address' button which will take you back to the main details tab page;

7. Select the 'Save details' button;

8. If prompted to confirm updates select the 'Confirm' button.

Why do some dates download with a '-' rather than a '/' as the separator?

This is the result of a known issue with the way in which MS Excel processes dates prior to 1900.

For further information about date formats in MS Excel please see the Microsoft support website here.

Why have I received a governance role term of office expiry email telling me that a governance role term of office at my establishment is coming to an end?

GIAS issues two alert warning emails for the governance role term of office expiry date. The first is sent 180 days before the term of office expiry date and the second is sent on the day the term of office expires.

Why has our establishment record not been updated?

If a particular field or fields on your establishment record have not been updated it is because when an establishment updates it's Get Information About Schools (GIAS) establishment record some fields require local authority or departmental approval (establishment type dependent). Once these change requests are approved the record will automatically be updated.

If the change requests are not approved your establishment may need to provide supplementary evidence to the relevant local authority approver or departmental policy team.

Why is there is no edit button and therefore why am I unable to amend my record?

If your establishment is due to close within 28 days, you will not be able to edit the record. In this scenario you should send a service request here and the GIAS Support team will liaise with the relevant departmental colleagues to make the changes on your behalf if we have sufficient evidence.

How do I get access to Get Information About Schools (GIAS) through DfE Sign-in (DSI)?

Information on how you can get access to Get Information About Schools (GIAS) and any other relevant DfE Sign-in (DSI) service can be found here.

How do I contact the DfE Sign-in (DSI) service desk?

To contact the DfE Sign-in (DSI) service desk please submit a service request

Why is our establishment’s Get Information about Schools (GIAS) information not present on Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Tax-Free Childcare (TFC) service?

The Tax-Free Childcare service uses the open registered establishment information from the GIAS service to ensure only those establishments can sign-up for TFC. This enables parents to instruct for payments to be made to their childcare provider when it is an open registered establishment.

If your establishment (subject to GIAS being the place of registration) is not registered on GIAS as open or open, but proposed to close, if your establishment address and contact details are not completed or up-to-date, and if your headteacher, principal or manager details, including email address, are not completed or up-to-date this will prevent you from being able to sign-up for TFC.

If the details noted above change between the provision of data from GIAS to the TFC service this will also prevent you from being able to sign-up for TFC or access your existing account on the TFC service.

The data is provided by GIAS to the TFC service just after the beginning of each academic term to give establishment’s time to make any required changes to their GIAS records at the start of each term. Please see below for details:

• first week of February;
• first week of May;
• first week of October.
If you have not updated your establishment record prior to the data being transferred your information will be updated on the TFC service after the next data transfer. Please make sure your GIAS record is always up-to-date and correct.
Contact points and further details about the TFC service and how tax free childcare providers can access their account can be found here

Personal data and security

What personal data is held in Get Information about Schools (GIAS)?

The majority of the data held on GIAS is non-personal. However educational establishments collect data on their governance roles which is stored in a secure part of the service and can only be viewed by authorised users with a DfE Sign-in (DSI) account. The department provides education establishments with model privacy notices which can be used to inform anyone in a governance role how the data they collect will be used. This will also provide a list of the type of governance roles data collected.

How does DfE ensure that governance roles personal data is kept secure?

Access to governance roles personal data is restricted to authorised DfE and education establishment users with a DfE Sign-in (DSI) account. The data is stored in a secure, encrypted database. We have set up systems and processes to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure of this data.

Do educational establishments need consent to collect governance roles personal data?

Yes, further information can be found in the model privacy notice developed for use by educational establishments.

Is the GIAS site secure?

There are several security management protocols in place to ensure the site is secure, including data encryption, system security checks, audit trails of user actions and processes to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure of the data.

Who can access a governance role personal data?

As public appointees, all governance roles name and appointment date are available via the public site on GIAS. All other personal information is held securely, and access can only be obtained by authorised users.

What does DfE do with the data

Holding this data enables DfE to meet their statutory requirements. The section, ‘How Government Uses Your Data’ within the model privacy notice explains how DfE uses governance roles data.

Contact details are used to help us to improve the site by monitoring how you use it and respond to any feedback you send us. They are also used to send important messaging from the department.

Back to top