The submission of the School Census returns, including a set of named pupil records, is a statutory requirement on schools under section 537A of the Education Act 1996

School Census is collected three times a year for all from all Pupil Referral Units, maintained Nursery, Primary, Middle, Secondary and Special Schools, Direct Grant Nurseries, City Technology Colleges, Academies, Non-maintained Special Schools and Service Children's Education establishments.

School Census Data Items 2017-2018

Please select the file for your type of school

EYPP Guidance

Pupils may qualify for EYPP from the term after their third birthday.

  • All pupils that Pupil Benefits notify you of as being eligible should be marked as 'Economic'
  • Looked After Pupils should be marked as 'Other'
  • Post LAC pupils should be marked as 'Other'
  • Pupils who fall into both categories should be marked as 'Economic and Other'

Childcare Q&A with the DfE

If the childcare does not take place on every day of the week should it be included? Some schools have Before or After school childcare for only a few days a week.
It should be included if it is a regular guaranteed service where the intention is to provide a service that will allow parents to work or attend training on a regular basis.

Do schools include after school clubs as childcare which might not be open to all pupils and will be dependent on staff being available to take them, so may be cancelled on the day if staff are off, such as a football club?
Only regular provision should be included - activity clubs should not be included.

Should School Special Schools include Respite Care during the holidays as Childcare?
Yes this can be included as long as it is reliable and predictable.

We have schools that host Summer Schools which are funded by "Fun Days" - Charitable Organisation for 2-3 weeks during the Summer Holidays each year - does this count as Childcare?
Yes this should be included as it would make it easier for parents to work during school holidays even if it doesn't cover the whole holiday period.

When numbers of places are being entered should this be the number of available places or the number of filled places?
The number of available places should be entered.

If it is the number of available places, what should a school put where they will happily increase the number of places as demand indicates, and so could be unlimited?
The school should base their answer on the service as it is in January 2016 - so currently available places.

If the number of places is based on availability how do schools enter the number of 0-4 places as this will be dependent on knowing if a child is doing the 9 hours or more a day?
This is not dependent on the child receiving 9 hours or more a day it is dependent on the service being available for 9 hours or more a day.

Should schools be recording childcare that is only available on census day, or should it be covering a particular time period?
We want to know about regular reliable service so census day should be typical of the offer.

If childcare was in place but the provision on site ends part way through the year, should it be included?
Schools should answer on the basis of what is happening in January 2016 - but if a provision is going to close soon it would be better to give a nil return.

When do I produce my School Census?

This applies to the January Census ONLY.

Please make sure you read all of the guidance below as the answer to your query may be in the information and may save you time at times when the helpdesk is busy.

Important Notice: The DSG funding has now moved from the January Census collection to the October Census collection, although the pupil premium is still based on the January Census.

Duplicate UPNs

From now, to help ensure fair allocation of DSG/GAG funding, the DfE will no longer double fund unresolved duplicate Pupil records. All duplicate pupil records will need to be resolved.

Duplicate pupils are where two or more schools make returns which contain the same pupil with incompatible enrolment statuses. There are numerous reasons why this occurs, but the main reasons are:

  1. When a pupil moves schools and the school the pupil leaves doesn't update their register and returns that pupil as still on roll.
  2. When a pupil is dually registered between two schools and the schools use an incorrect combination of enrolment statuses.

If you have duplicate pupils on roll when you submit your census return the Information Management team will be in contact with you to resolve this matter, and in most cases it will involve the creation of a new census return. If you do not comply with this the DfE has announced that it will withdraw funding from you.


Schools should contact their SIMS support provider for detailed SIMS guidance.

Schools supported by Schools IT should click here:

Additional guidance: Remember you can have more Hours at Setting than Funded Hours, but not the other way round. If you have no Funded Hours or Hours at Setting in then you will NOT receive any funding! Hours at Setting need to match the part time details for pupils.

Hours at Setting and Funded Hours Guidance
Checking and Updating Unique Learner Numbers in SIMS

File Submission

  • School Census produces a number of files - the pupil level file has a naming convention of 892ssss_SCn_892LL16_nnn.XML
  • The Pupil level file should be transferred to the local authority via the COLLECT website, on or before the 'Return due by' date. COLLECT is now accessed through the Secure Access website.
  • The summary file should be printed and checked by / with the head teacher. Please check all figures on this summary thoroughly as any errors may affect both funding allocations and school contextual figures (e.g. FSM%, SEN%) used in RAISEonline, Fischer Family Trust, Achievement & Attainment Tables etc.
  • There is no longer any requirement for you to send the summary sheet to the LA for census returns


Please follow the Quick Link on the right to go through Secure Access and get to COLLECT. In order to use Secure Access you must have completed the Approver Acceptance process. If you have any problems accessing the website or problems with uploading files, or need any further advice please contact the DCSF helpdesk using the links on their pages.

COLLECT School Census User Guide