School census

Summer school census 2021

The summer school census will take place on Thursday 20 May 2021.

We ask schools to return their census by Friday 21 May 2021.

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 20 May, it will just be a case of running the census and submitting it to the LA.

New data items and changes for Summer 2021

The DfE have not yet announced any new or changed data items for the Summer 2021 census. However, software providers have updated to include some additional absence codes – please talk to your MIS technical support provider for more guidance.

Any new or changed data items will be published by the DfE at the following:

Changes from previous school census

Census dates
Find out when the school census will open for each term and what to do in unusual circumstances.

Checking your return

Please ensure you check your return thoroughly before submitting, and once you have submitted your return on COLLECT that you review any errors or queries and take the appropriate action of add an appropriate note.

Please also ensure you check all of your reports on COLLECT to make sure you are happy with your submission – in particular you must resolve any pupils who appear on your duplicate reports between yourselves and another school.

Here is the DfE guidance on checking your data.


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

Schools who are with 3BM can access their online booking for training

Schools without an SLA can book 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
Data analyst (schools)
Phone: 020 8825 5986

Was this page useful? 
Last updated: 12 Apr 2021