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Information regarding the school pupil census.

The school census is the department’s primary source of administrative data about pupils attending schools in England. The data collected is vital in supporting a number of the department’s strategic objectives and is widely used for the purpose of improving and promoting the education or well-being of children in England. For example, the data collected helps us to make sure we are allocating funds where they are needed and that no groups of children are missing out on the education they deserve.

Selected Time

School Census Selected Times
 Last digit of DfE numberSelected Time 
 0, 1 or 5 The selected time is one hour after the start of afternoon school.
 2, 3 or 6 The selected time is one hour after the start of morning school.
 4, 7 , 8 or 9 The selected time is one hour before the end of morning school.

If the selected time is not appropriate to the school timetable, (for example, if the selected time is when the whole school or a large proportion of the school is in an assembly with the head teacher) schools should choose an hour/period that reflects a ‘normal’ class situation that applies at the selected time each Thursday of the term.

Free school meals

Following the introduction of universal credit on 1 April 2018, schools are advised to read the attached 'Free school meals -  important information from DfE - June 2018 regarding the recording of FSM end dates in their MIS. Schools are therefore reminded not to enter end dates within Free School Meals unless they have spoken to the LA first.

Authorisation by the headteacher

The summary sheet census fulfils a number of purposes and the importance of this is often overlooked.

It allows school staff preparing the return to check its accuracy and completeness before passing it to the head teacher. In addition to summarising FSM, funded hours, number of pupils with SEN, it also contains information about persistent absenteeism. This is the only opportunity to check the data before it is used by the DfE for funding purposes and published in performance tables. Once the data has been submitted to the DfE it will be deemed to have been authorised by the headteacher.

Uploading and submitting your return

Census returns are uploaded by schools into COLLECT via DfE sign-in. Please refer to the guidance to assist with the process on uploading, entering notes at return level and submitting your return. DfE notepad entry guidance will be released by the DfE.

COLLECT test site

The test site is now available and will remain open until 4pm on Friday 10 January 2020.

DfE school census 2019 to 2020 guide

The DfE have recently been working to improve the school census guide following feedback from schools and local authorities.

Following a full review, we are pleased to inform you that for the 2019 to 2020 academic year the guide has been replaced with a web based manual. The school census manual has many benefits such as:

  • Important information presented first – such as key dates and changes
  • Process driven approach – showing what is expected in the submission of the census
  • Clearer content – reducing duplication and confusion
  • Search function – enabling the information to be found quickly
  • Data items listed by school type – ensuring each school type can clearly see what is expected

RM Integris Guide

Guidance for completing your census return will be available for all RM Integris schools on the Census page. 

Please remember you must be logged in to S4S to view the information.

Get Information About Schools (GIAS)

Schools and academy users will be reminded to check their GIAS record on a periodic basis. If you see a reminder displayed within DfE sign-in you should access GIAS and check your details are up-to-date.

After making any amendments simply click apply and then confirm. If the record is already accurate then simply click 'My establishment record is up-to-date'.

Keeping the GIAS record up-to-date helps us to help schools in key areas including funding, data collection and departmental communications.

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