School census

Autumn school census 2021

The autumn school census will take place on Thursday 7 October 2021.

We ask schools to return their census by Friday 8 October 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 7 October, it will just be a case of running the census and submitting it to the LA.

New data items and changes for autumn 2021

The DfE have announced two new data items for the Autumn 2021 census:

Learner funding and monitoring (FAM) type

This data item records the type of funding and monitoring. For all schools except nursery with applicable year groups or age-ranges. The first collection of this data will be in the autumn 2021 census.

Learner funding and monitoring (FAM) code

This data item, collected alongside learner FAM type, indicates the specific element of the category being recorded. For all schools except nursery with applicable year groups or age-ranges. The first collection of this data will be in the autumn 2021 census.

See the learner funding and monitoring section of the DfE census guidance for full details.

Here is the DfE guidance on changes from previous school census. This includes additional data items being collected from Spring 2022 (relating to learner funding and monitoring (FAM) hours and alternative provision). Please review now so you are prepared to submit this data in January 2022.

Information on when the school census will open for each term and what to do in unusual circumstances is available on GOV.UK: Census dates

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.

Where does school census data go? (pdf)
This document provides information on what your census data is used for and why it is important to submit accurately and on time


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

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)

Viewing your school census report on COLLECT (pdf)

Further COLLECT help guides are available on request for maintained schools and academies who buy in to the ELP or data service (including guidance on amending FSM eligibility, learning aims, enrolment status, part time flag, SEN top up funding flag and UPN).

Was this page useful? 
Last updated: 26 Nov 2021