School census

Summer school census 2024

The summer school census will take place on Thursday 16 May 2024.

We ask schools to return their census by Friday 17 May 2024.

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 May it will just be a case of running the census and submitting it to the LA (or the DfE for academies).

DfE have now made a familiarisation blade for the Summer Census available, so you can use it to check your data in advance of the census. This will remain available until 4pm on Friday 10 May, and DfE strongly recommends that schools use this facility to check their own data in advance of the collection going live on the 16 May.

Changes for the summer census (FAO schools with nursery classes)

Early years data items

Following the introduction of expanded hours entitlement for working families the summer 2024 census will be the first time schools will be asked to submit this data.

Detailed below are the new data items and changes to existing data items:

  • expanded hours for 2-year-olds (new data item) collected termly from summer 2024
  • eligibility code (formerly known as “thirty hour code”) is being extended to 2-year-olds with expanded hours greater than zero
  • 2-year-old basis for funding will be collected termly from summer 2024
  • early years pupil premium (including basis for funding) is being extended to 2-year-olds and will be collected termly from summer 2024
  • DAF indicator is being extended to 2-year-olds

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 or add an appropriate note. The COLLECT help guides below provide guidance on how to view your errors and queries, how to add notes on COLLECT and how to view your reports.

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.

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).

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Last updated: 29 Apr 2024

Finance and data