School SMS Roll Returns 2016

The approvals given here are specific to the school roll returns functionality.

On this page

Approved SMS

The Ministry has approved the Student Management Systems (SMS) versions below for 2016 roll returns.

SMS Name SMS Version Approved For
Assembly 1.2.41-b3 All Schools
eTap 16.m All Schools
KAMAR 912.25 All Schools
MUSAC Classic (Student Manager) To be advised All Schools
MUSAC edge To be advised All Schools
PCSchool Ver 2016 All Schools
Synergetic V66.71 Private Schools
LINC-ED 2.9.6 Primary Schools


Make sure your SMS version is up-to-date. Use a version above or a more recent version if available. Web-based SMS should update your versions automatically.

A SMS makes it easier for you to send roll returns to the Ministry. All approved SMS have the eReturns function that sends the student data file (moe file) directly to us.

Electronic Roll Returns

This year we're improving the School Roll Return process, making it easier and faster for schools to complete. The changes are summarised below:

  • Completing audit class lists will be optional.
  • We're separating the school roll data from other supplementary information we usually collect in March.
  • We're moving to only electronic data supply of roll returns, eliminating paper-based roll return forms.
  • We'll be letting you know by email that we've received your electronic roll return.
  • We'll be getting back to you sooner with any questions we have with your submission.

The new process is described below.  If you have any questions or you would like more information, please feel free to contact us at school.returns@education.govt.nz

Which Schools can send Electronic Roll Returns?

Any school using a Ministry approved SMS will only need to send an Electronic Roll Return from their SMS. This means no more paper-based roll return forms.

How do schools complete their Electronic Roll Returns?

The main difference from previous years is schools will not need to send paper-based returns. Running roll returns in the SMSs remains unchanged, except schools with SMSs that have the Electronic Approval function will need their principals to approve the return on screen before it can be sent.

What is Electronic Approval?

Electronic Approval is a new SMS function that allows principals to check and approve their returns before they can be sent to the Ministry. This replaces the declaration principals used to sign on the paper-based forms. The following SMS have implemented Electronic Approval:

  • KAMAR
  • MUSAC Classic and Edge
  • eTAP

Schools with SMSs that don't have Electronic Approval yet will be sent a declaration to confirm their roll file is true and correct. There is more information about this below.

What is in the Electronic Roll Return?

The Electronic Roll Return (or .moe file) is part of a stable and reliable system that has been steadily improved over many years. It will remain largely unchanged from previous years, except we have added the following data fields:

  • Approver name.
  • Approver role.
  • Approval date.
  • The same summary data that shows on the roll return table printouts.

For a full list of fields in the .moe file refer to the Student Management System Roll Return Specifications.

What if my SMS doesn't have the Electronic Approval function?

We will be able to tell immediately which schools are missing the approval data and we will email a declaration form to the principals of these schools. These principals will need to sign this declaration and scan and email it back to the Ministry. As the remaining SMS vendors implement Electronic Approval we will phase out the use of this declaration form.

What if my school doesn't use an SMS?

For schools not using an SMS you will need to complete a roll return spreadsheet and submit that using the Ministry's secure online portal. The Excel spreadsheet will be available here.

What are the benefits of electronic roll returns?

Electronic Roll Returns will reduce compliance burden on schools. Schools have been able to send electronic roll returns for many years, but have also been required to print summary data tables, attach these to a paper form and have the principal sign the form. Electronic Roll Returns combines the student-level data, the summary data and the sign-off into a single electronic return. This will make the returns easier and faster to complete.

In addition, we will be able to send schools earlier notification of receipt of the electronic return and earlier notification of potential issues in the return.

What about the other questions that were on the roll return form?

The Ministry is developing electronic web forms for collecting data that isn't in the Student Management Systems (SMS). The first of these web forms will be used to collect non-funding data previously collected in the March return. The web form will be sent to schools mid-March after most schools will have completed the Electronic Roll Return. The question areas include:

  • Non-NQF qualifications provided
  • Teaching staff at private schools
  • Peak rolls
  • Off-site class, unit or activity centres
  • Vacancies for full-time permanent teachers
  • Limited term appointments

These questions provide a perfect opportunity to pilot a new collection system since this information does not affect school funding or staffing. The new collection system will be easier and faster to complete and will over time eliminate the many paper forms the Ministry has used in the past. We will provide you with more information on these new web forms closer to the time.

What records should schools keep?

Schools will still need to print their audit lists and keep these on-site for audit purposes. Note that completing audit class lists will be optional.

Schools should also print their roll return tables so they can review their roll summaries. Schools should keep these on-site for their records and for tabling at their next BOT meeting.

We value your feedback

Do you have any other ideas that would reduce the time and effort it takes to send data and information to the Ministry?  We'd like to hear more.  Please contact us at school.returns@education.govt.nz with your ideas and suggestions.

Key dates for March 2016 roll returns

Put  these dates in your diary:

  • Tuesday March 1:       roll count date
  • Monday March 14:      roll return deadline.

Roll Return Guidelines and Queries

The 2016 Roll Return Guidelines will be on the Guidelines page of Education Counts.

For any queries about the roll returns process please email the Ministry: School Returns Mailbox or alternatively you can phone us on: 04 463 8070.

Contact Us

School Roll Returns
For any questions about the School Roll Returns please contact:
Phone:  +64 4 463 0915
Email:    School Returns Mailbox

All Other Queries
For all other queries about the reporting, publication and use of data please email: Information Officer Mailbox