School census

Autumn school census 2023

The summer school census will take place on Thursday 5 October 2023.

We ask schools to return their census by Friday 6 October 2023.

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

New data items and changes for Autumn 2023

Sex and gender identity

The “Gender current” data item has been replaced by the new “Sex” data item.

The change from “Gender current” to “Sex” is being rolled out across all DfE collections over the next year or so. DfE will collect the “Sex” data item (a value which identifies the sex of a person as recognised in law) on a mandatory basis.

The “Gender ID” data item has been created so schools, children’s homes, local authorities and other institutions can record gender identity for local use, should they wish to. DfE will not collect this data item.

Please ensure your MIS has been upgraded to incorporate this change in time for you to run your census return.

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.

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: 04 Aug 2023