School census

Spring school census 2020

The spring school census takes place on Thursday 16 January 2020.

We ask schools to return their census by Friday 17 January 2020.

We also continue to request that academies submit their return promptly on COLLECT and send us a full CSV export of their census submission as early as possible after census day.

We highly recommend that you perform a trial run prior to census day. Then, hopefully on 16 January, it will just be a case of running the census and submitting it to the LA.

  • The DfE will use the spring school census data to inform the funding they give the LA for the Early and High Needs Blocks of DSG Funding
  • The Pupil Premium amount for the financial year 2020/21 will be based on the pupils on roll in this census who are or have been eligible for Deprivation Free School Meals in the past six years, are Post Looked After, or who are classed as Service Children
  • The DfE will collect information about Nursery pupils in receipt of Early Years Pupil Premium and Disability Access Fund grant in the spring census
  • In addition, the spring census is used to produce published statistics about your school.

New data items

The DfE will be collecting exclusions data for the two terms previous to the current census. So, for spring 2020, they will be collecting exclusions information from the autumn 2019 and summer 2019 terms.

In the spring 2020 census the DfE are collecting additional information relating to classes:

  • Teachers on planning and preparation time (PPA)
  • Reason for (infant) class size exception
  • Number of pupils to which the class size exception reason applies (infant).

Please contact your MIS support provider for guidance on how this information will appear in your system.


We recommend that you keep up to date on new developments with school census by attending training where provided by your MIS support provider.

For schools who are with 3BM their online booking for training can be found here:

(Schools without an SLA can also book on to training for an additional fee).

DFE specifications

The DfE are no longer producing pdf booklet guidance, instead guidance is available on the following link:

Complete the school census (GOV.UK)

Capita instructions for school census 2020

You can download the handbooks from the Capita website:

SIMS publication centre - select 'handbooks' and then select 'England'

If you require any information regarding MIS file versions or where data should be entered, or how to run the census within your MIS please refer to your MIS technical support provider.

COLLECT help guides

Viewing your errors and queries in COLLECT (pdf)

Adding notes for queries in COLLECT (pdf)

Moving a child from OnRoll to OffRoll on COLLECT (pdf)

Sending a CSV export of your school census to the Local Authority (for academies) (pdf)


Jen Bull
School organisation officer
Phone: 020 8825 5986

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Last updated: 05 Dec 2019