Conceptualisations of disability that emphasise the contextual and cultural nature of disability and the embodiment of these within a national system of data collection present a number of challenges especially where this process is devolved to schools. The requirement for measures based on contextual and subjective experiences gives rise to particular difficulties in achieving parity in the way data is analysed and reported. This paper presents an account of the testing of a tool intended for use by schools as they collect data from parents to identify children who meet the criteria of disability established in Disability Discrimination Acts (DDAs). Data were validated through interviews with parents and teachers and observations of children and highlighted the pivotal role of the criterion of impact. The findings are set in the context of schools meeting their legal duties to identify disabled children and their support needs in a way that captures the complexity of disabled children’s school lives and provides useful and useable data.