School Census - Summer 2021

Schools Census Thursday 20 May 2021: Preparation & Help Line

The summer school census is for all nursery, primary, secondary, special and PRS/PRU schools.  It is a statutory requirement on schools under Section 537A of the Education Act 1996 to submit a Department for Education (DFE) Schools Census return every term. The Census collects general pupil characteristic information including termly attendance/absence and exclusion data. DFE state:

‘The school census is the department’s primary source of administrative data about pupils attending schools in England.  The data collected is vital in supporting a number of the department’s strategic objectives and is widely used for the purpose of improving and promoting the education or well-being of children in England. For example, the data collected helps us to make sure we are allocating funds where they are needed and that no groups of children are missing out on the education they deserve’

Good data quality is a legal requirement for Census returns, the DFE emphasises that the data should be 'right first time, and on time'. We are confident that colleagues in schools will do everything possible to achieve the DfE target.

Schools are reminded that child records including address information should be updated on an event driven basis and for good data governance it is recommended that schools ask parents to update pupil details at least annually.  

Detailed information about the data items required can be found here

May 2021 Summer Census

Summer census does not collect Classes as taught, Pupil Reconciliation, Childcare Details, Ethnicity, SEN Need Type, Free School Meals taken on Census day (note this is a separate item from school lunches),Admission Appeals, EYPP Eligibility and EY basis for funding.

Unusual circumstances – corona virus

This has guidance around school lunches, early years funded hours and extended hours,

Early Years Information

Early Years finance have issued some additional guidance in relation to the funding for the summer term for early years pupils.  Please report accurately the Funded hours and Extended hours.

‘Funded Hours’ and ‘Hours at Setting’

Date of birth ranges for Early Years pupils

N2 between 01/09/2016 and 31/08/2017

N1 between 01/09/2017 and 31/08/2018

E2 between 01/09/2018 and 31/08/2019

E1 between 01/09/2019 and 31/08/2020

Hours at setting

Please enter the total hours spent at your establishment excluding breakfast, lunch and after school clubs, regardless of who pays.


Funded hours are collected for pupils born between 01/09/2016 and 31/03/2019 inclusive in NC Year groups N2, N1, E2 or E1 - Maximum funding will be 15 hours


Funded hours are also collected for pupils born between 01/09/2015 and 31/08/2016 with an NC year group N2, N1, E2 or E1 – Maximum funding will be 15 hours (these would normally be reception age pupils)


Eligibility for 2 year old funding must have been confirmed through the finance team. 

Pupils for whom no eligibility has been confirmed but attend your setting, please record ‘funded hours’ as zero but record the number of hours they attend your setting in ‘Hours at setting’.

Schools with governor run provision will claim through the Early Years Headcount, if these pupils are on the school MIS they will generally be recorded as guest pupils so they are not included in the Census.

Extended Entitlement to 30 hrs Free Childcare

Pupils born between 01/9/15 and 31/03/19 in NC years N2, N1, E2 or E1 with a valid 30-hour code are entitled to 15 funded free hours plus 15 extended entitlement hours.

Pupils who are in ‘Reception’ (or above) are not eligible for extended entitlement hours, as they are in full-time education.

These 30 hour codes are only required on your Census return if the children are taking some of that extended entitlement with your school.  If the hours spent at your establishment are part of the universal funded free entitlement then you will not need to include the code.

Part Time Pupils

Pupils in reception are usually full time by the summer term please check the part time status for these pupils. (Capita Sims – check the part time details box)

Pupils in NC year groups E1, E2, N1 & N2 must be marked as part time if they attend less than 10 sessions a week.  (Full time is Monday - Friday, morning and afternoon)

A query will be generated for any pupils marked as part time, with hours at setting of more than 25, if the pupil does not attend 10 sessions the query is correct and the pupil remains part time 

Class type Primary only

This is collected on each census even though ‘classes as taught’ are collected in January only.  Class type ‘Nursery’ should be used if you operate a Nursery class which consists of nursery age pupils only.  Classes with both nursery and reception age pupils are foundation stage classes and are not a nursery class, tick these as ‘Other’.

Pupil enrolment status and Dual Registrations

Early years only record an early year’s pupil as dually registered if they attend more than one maintained nursery/primary/infant school. Playgroups, childminders and private voluntary providers do not submit a Census in the same way as schools so a pupil attending this type of establishment in addition to attending your school is recorded at your school as current single registration because the pupil is attending only one mainstream school.

Secondary schools are reminded to check any pupils recorded as dual registration in January are still correctly recorded, for example pupils on a managed move or that were trying a new school may have completed the move to that school and should be off roll, or those attending PRS may now be back in school full time.

Universal Infant Free School Meals - School Lunch Taken

This applies to pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 only.  If a pupil is in receipt of a Universal Infant FSM (i.e. school lunch taken is TRUE) this does not mean that the pupil should also be recorded as eligible for ‘free school meals’ unless they meet the FSM eligibility criteria and have made a claim. See also Unusual circumstances

FSM Eligibility

Census will collect any period of free school meal eligibility that started on or before the 20th May 2021 where the FSM end date is not present (currently eligible) and any periods of eligibility that ended between 21 January 2021 and the 20 May 2021.  This will include any periods of eligibility prior to the pupils joining the current school if they meet the date criteria.  Please check this information carefully as the information will have transferred with the Common Transfer File (CTF).  See below information relating to transitional protection which applies to the majority of FSM eligibility

Transitional protections should be awarded as follows:

  • any claimant who is in receipt of free school meals on 31 March 2018 should continue to receive free school meals until the end of the universal credit roll out period, and then until their phase of education ends. This covers until at least Summer 2023, and applies even if their circumstances change and they would no longer meet the eligibility criteria.
  • any claimant who gains eligibility for free school meals from 1 April 2018 will continue to receive free school meals until the end of the universal credit rollout period, and then until their phase of education ends. This covers until at least Summer 2023, and applies even if their circumstances change and they would no longer meet the eligibility criteria.

Consequently, it is not expected that FSM end dates will be entered by schools during the transitional period – with the exceptions being:

  • where a parent has been informed of the FSM protection and they have still indicated that they do not wish the child to be recorded as FSM eligible and receive a free school meal. This should not be confused with a parent’s request to end a free school meal claim with a change in their circumstances which are now protected
  • where a pupil transfers from another UK country – their non-English FSM must have an FSM end date
  • claimants who qualify through support under the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999 or the guarantee element of the Pension Credit, their benefit(s) will not be replaced by universal credit and therefore the pupil’s FSM entitlement will not be protected. They will only be entitled to a free school meal as long as they retain the benefit. In such cases where the parent has notified the school that these benefits have ended an FSM end date should be recorded.

SEN provision type

Census collects the provision type only;

  • N - no special educational need,
  • K - SEN support,
  • E - Education and Health Care Plan. 

Top-up funding

Top-up funding is awarded to pupils with a Statement or an Education and Health Care plan and for those with high needs which cannot be met within the school budget.  This funding is shown as a separate item on your funding schedule.  (Element 3 high needs funding)

    • 1990Q this query indicates a pupil who does not have a statement or an EHCP has been recorded as being receipt of ‘High needs Top-up funding. Please confirm this with your bursar or Headteacher, generally pupils without a Statement or EHCP will not be in receipt of High Needs Top-up funding.
    • 1991Q this indicates you have pupils on roll with a statement or an EHCP who you have not recorded as being in receipt of ‘High needs Top-up funding’.  Please confirm this with your bursar or Headteacher

Post Looked After Arrangements (PLAA) Previously Adopted from Care

Census collects information on any pupils that have left local authority care in England and Wales through adoption, a special guardianship order, a residence order or a child arrangement order.  Please ensure any pupils who you have confirmed meet the criteria are included in the return and should be shown in Table 9 of your School Census Summary document.  These should be recorded in each census.

  • N - Not declared
  • A - Ceased to be looked after through adoption
  • G - Ceased to be looked after through a special guardianship order (SGO)
  • R - Ceased to be looked after through a residence order (RO)
  • C - Ceased to be looked after through a child arrangement order (CAO)

Note about adoptions – when you are notified about a pupil ceasing to be looked after through adoption it is important that a pupil is given a new UPN and a new record.  There are exceptions to this where the adoption creates no safeguarding risks to the individual pupil – for example, where the child has remained within the same school before, and after, adoption and has undergone *no material change* in identity as a result of the adoption, it is permissible to retain previous UPN information for the adopted pupil where express permission has been granted by both the pupil’s adopted parents and the designated manager of the local authority’s adoption service. If this is the case there is no requirement to create a new record.


All schools (excluding Nurseries) are required to provide individual attendance data including absences by reason; for all non-boarder pupils aged 4 to 15 as at 31/08/2020 with DOB between 1 Sep 2004 and 31 Aug 2016 (incl. reception pupils)who were on roll for at least one session during the Spring term.

Spring Term Attendance dates 01/01/2021 and Easter Sunday 04/04/2021.


N – Reason not yet obtained This is an unauthorised absence code.  Use of this code should be temporary and should be amended as soon as possible to an appropriate absence code, if a reason has not been obtained for absences in the spring term the code should be amended to Code O unauthorised absence.

Please remember persistent absence rates for 20/21 academic year remain at 10%.  

Warning messages may appear in the summary attendance section regarding high absence rates. These may be caused by data errors that need to be eliminated before submitting the Census returns.

School attendance: guidance for schools - GOV.UK (

Recording non-attendance related to coronavirus (


These are required for all exclusions where the start date for the exclusions is between 01/08/2020 and 04/04/2021.  Please ensure any permanent exclusion is correctly recorded as these form part of the published statistics and impact performance figures

Learner Support Code (Not Nursery or Primary)

This is collected, in the spring and summer Census only, for secondary, special and PRS and pupils aged 16-18 as at 31/08/2020.  This indicates the type of financial support awarded to pupils beyond compulsory school leaving age at any point in the academic year of the schools census and collects information on two types of financial support awarded via the 16-19 bursary funds.

    • 55 Vulnerable group bursary
    • 56 Discretionary bursary


Language is collected for all pupils and records the language as stated by the parent/guardian or child.  Where a pupil’s first language is other than English – that where the pupil has been exposed to a language other than the English during early development and continues to be exposed to this language in the home or in the community, schools may record specific languages using either the short or extended codeset.  These are are provided as an appendix in the DFE Guidance notes.  Schools must not ascribe a specific language to a pupil.  Codes ENB and OTB are only appropriate to use where all of the following conditions apply;

  • Pupil’s first language is not known with absolute certainty
  • Parents have not responded to enquiries
  • School is able to judge with a high degree of confidence whether the pupil’s language is English or not

Note: Schools are reminded that a parent/guardian/pupil can refuse to provide Ethnicity and Language.  Where a parent refuses the code ‘REF’ must be used. 

Privacy Notices

Privacy notices must be issued/published by schools/LA’s to parents advising them of their (or their child’s) right to instruct the school, by opting in, to provide information beyond name, address and date of birth.  If the values ‘No’, ‘SNR’, or ‘UNS’ are recorded, information beyond name address and date of birth cannot be shared with the Youth support service. 

Suggested wording for privacy notices will have been provided by your Data Protection Officer, the

DFE provide a template which schools can use to create a Privacy Notice for their school.  Data protection: privacy notice model documents - GOV.UK (

Schools that are using Veritau as their Data Protection officer will be able to get support from them with the production of their Privacy notice. For schools using Veritau that need any information please email

Data protection guidance from the ICO

Statutory requirement, data sharing and regulations - Complete the school census - Guidance - GOV.UK (

Guide to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) | ICO

Right to be informed | ICO


How the DFE use and share Schools


Youth Support Services Agreement (YSSA)

This item is returned for all pupils who are aged 12 and above (as at 31 August 2020). If it is not completed the system will default to ‘unsought’. The census mechanism is used to transfer this data item from schools to their local authorities who pass on the data to the youth support service.

There is a legal requirement under the Education and Skills Act 2008 for schools to pass information on request to the youth support service for pupils in or approaching the age of 13. Privacy notices need to be issued to parents advising them of their (or their child’s) right to instruct the school, by opting in, to provide information beyond name, address and date of birth.

UNS - The default code Unsought. School has not sent out privacy notices, data can be shared with youth support services.

SNR – Sought no reply. School has sent out privacy notices but received no reply, data can be shared with youth support services.

No Information, other than name address and date of birth will not be passed to the Youth Support service

Yes – Permission has been given by the parent, guardian or pupil.

IMPORTANT Secondary Schools must ensure that this information is correctly on your school MIS system, please ensure that pupils that are recorded with a value of Yes are those that have responded to awareness of the new privacy notice under the new UK GDPR guidelines.

Changes To your Census after submission

Schools are reminded changes can be made to your Census after submission, please contact us and we can advise the best course of action. This may be a resubmission or amendment on Collect, which we can assist with. In most cases you will still need to make the change on your MIS and we recommend that you make a note of any changes and date these were agreed with the LA on the printed copy of the school census summary.

Print and retain a copy of the School Census Summary so that it is readily available when required by auditors or Ofsted.  We recommend that any changes made to your Census following submission are noted on the original printed summary or if you resubmit then we recommend you re-print the Summary.

Some maintained schools are still able to submit their summer 2021 Census returns to the LA using Anycomms.  Other schools will need to use COLLECT to submit their Census return.


  • Anycoms - After authorising the return, using the Anycoms Client icon on your desktop, click on ‘Start Call’ the system will then start the process to transfer your files.  At the end of the process a notepad will display a list of the files that have been transferred.
  • COLLECT – Schools using COLLECT please remember that the files need to be uploaded, validated, the school then needs to click on the ‘Submit Return’ button.  Additionally if you make any changes to your return on COLLECT you will need to click the ‘Submit Return’ button again after completing any changes. Please use the link below to download the latest version of the COLLECT guide.  (This is currently 2016)

COLLECT guides for schools and local authorities - GOV.UK (

The Schools Census helpline number is 01609 536086 (4 extensions).

The LA again will provide a dedicated Census telephone helpline. Capita SIMS rigorously date-stamps some data, alterations after the Census date may require amendment to the 'history' of the data item(s). To minimise effort, schools are advised to submit their Census return on the Census day itself.

The Census helpline will operate on Census day only:

Thursday 20 May from 9.00am to 4.30pm

For support before and after Census day please contact:


Performance and Intelligence,

Alison Busby 01609 532324

Mark Grosvenor 01609 532956                                                


Main SICTS customer services helpdesk number is 01609 536086

Instructions for the production of Census return are available on the NY Schools ICT Services website at . Schools need to login to get access to these documents and are available to schools who purchase their system support from SchoolsICT