School Census

School Census

The School Census is a Department for Education (DfE) data collection of school and pupil level data that all schools in England (including academies, Free Schools, UTCs, Special Schools and PRUs) are required to complete three times a year. The submission of the school census returns, including a set of named pupil records, is a statutory requirement on schools under Section 537A of the Education Act 1996.

The DfE use the data collected in the School Census to allocate funding to schools so it is essential that the School Census is completed accurately and on time.


The School Census takes place each term:

  • autumn census - first Thursday in October
  • spring census - third Thursday in January
  • summer census - third Thursday in May

Maintained schools should send their census return via the AnyComms+ secure file transfer program to “SMST - Census and Pupil data”. The School Management Support Team (SMST) will submit the return to the DfE and check the data on the school’s behalf. Academies and Free Schools are responsible for submitting their own returns and may submit their return directly to the DfE’s COLLECT system if they so wish or SMST will assist them if they prefer. If an Academy or Free School would like support with submitting their return or checking the accuracy of the data submitted please contact a member of the team.

Further details on each census will be made available in the School Bulletin so please ensure you check this regularly. More information, including guidance notes and guides to COLLECT for academies and Free Schools, can be found on the DfE’s website by following the links below: census guidances 16 to 19 education funding guidance


School Census Webinar May 2023

Slides shared at the webinar on 10th May are available below.

Webinar Slides

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