Census 2021 Submission Dates

This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Systems and School Support Manager, Paul Brotherton, for the attention of Headteachers, School Business Managers and any staff responsible for completing the school census.

Further to the article published on 13th January 2021, we can now confirm further details relating to the Spring School Census.

Census Submission dates

The census date is Thursday 21st January 2021. 

We are asking schools to provide a first version of their return to us via S2S (and to COLLECT on the DfE Sign-In portal if you are an Academy) by 27th January 2021, with any final returns submitted by 3rd February 2021.

The final DfE deadline for submitted returns is a little after the dates we have given you, however, they have not extended them beyond the norm and we will need sufficient time to deal with all issues arising.  We would therefore appreciate anything you can do to ensure these timescales are met.  We do, however, appreciate these are unprecedented times, so If you think you may have difficulty submitting a return within these timescales, please contact Paul Brotherton and Anjum Javaid as soon as possible.

Ensuring you are Ready for Census

We have been, and will continue to be, in contact with school census staff via e-mail and have signposted them to currently available guidance.  As a minimum, we would be grateful if schools could ensure they have access to guidance from their software supplier (i.e. how to record data/generate a return within your school’s IT system) and any DfE guidance.  Any other questions can be directed to Paul Brotherton and Anjum Javaid.

COVID-19 and the School Census

Schools must provide pupil level data for pupils who are recorded on the school admission register as at census day, irrespective of whether they attend school on that day. Therefore, pupils who are absent from school on census day, whether the absence is COVID-19 related or for other reasons, should be counted in schools’ census returns in the usual way.

DfE guidance on data items which are usually directly impacted by attendance on census day and/or the pandemic is provided below.  The easiest way to think of things is that schools should report these data items as if the situation were “normal”.

Free School Meals Taken and School Lunches Taken

Schools should record free school meals taken and school lunch taken as the normal situation, for example if a pupil would normally have a school meal on a Thursday they should be recorded as such on the census.

Please note however, any vulnerable pupils or children of critical workers who are absent for reasons other than COVID related or who have chosen to have a packed lunch on census day should not be recorded as having taken a school lunch and any of this cohort of pupils who are FSM eligible should not be counted in the free school meals taken figure.

Early Years | Funded Hours, Extended Hours and Hours at Setting

Funded hours, extended hours and hours at setting for pupils who are in attendance during census week should be recorded as normal.

Funded hours, extended hours and hours at setting should be recorded as the number of hours the pupil would normally be expected to attend during census week in the following circumstances:

  • Pupils are absent because they are self isolating
  • Parents have chosen not to send their child to nursery

Where the parent has requested a change to the funded hours entitlement taken at the establishment, schools must record the revised funded hours.

Funded hours, extended hours and hours and setting should be recorded as zero in the following circumstances:

  • The nursery provision has chosen to close
  • Where the child is not attending because the school has chosen to restrict nursery provision to certain groups of children (e.g. vulnerable children and children of key workers)

Class Module

Schools should record classes as they would normally have been timetabled at the selected time on census day.

School Childcare

Schools who provide childcare facilities and due to COVID related reasons have had to temporarily close either some or all of these facilities should record what the school would normally offer.