A guide for local authorities and schools, and technical documents for software suppliers, to use the 2019 common transfer file (CTF).


Common transfer file guide 2019

Ref: DfE-00145-2019PDF, 390KB, 48 pages

Common transfer file 19: specification

Ref: DFE-00063-2019PDF, 1.1MB, 62 pages

Common transfer file 19: schema

ZIP, 24.9KB

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need aversion of this document in a more accessible format, please email [email protected] .Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


This guide is for local authorities and schools to help them use common transfer file (CTF) 2019 to transfer pupil data. The CTF is valid for use from September 2019.

The guide includes information on:

  • the statutory obligations to use CTF when transferring pupil data
  • when to send CTFs and partial data transfers
  • how to send CTFs and partial data transfers
  • filename structure
  • receiving CTF information

This technical specification and xml schema are for software suppliers developing and maintaining CTF files in school and local authority management information systems (MIS).

Schools and local authorities use the CTF to send pupil data when a pupil transfers from one school to another.

You should also refer to the common basic data set (CBDS). This defines common data items that schools and local authorities use in MIS software, and that we use in our data collections.

Published 18 March 2019
Last updated 9 July 2019 + show all updates

  1. Added new guidance on how to use common transfer file (CTF) to transfer pupil data.
  2. XML schema added.
  3. First published.