School Census Autumn 2020

This article has been brought to you by Slough Borough Council's Systems & School Support Manager, Paul Brotherton, for the attention of all Headteachers, Business Managers, Data Managers.

In April 2020, to help reduce the burden on educational and care settings, the Department for Education (DfE) and its agencies cancelled or paused all but the most essential data collections, services and requests until June 2020.  If you have any questions or queries regarding the Autumn 2020 census please get in touch with Anjum Javaid or the SI Team.

DfE have reviewed their list of cancelled or paused collections and have agreed the autumn school census will take place as planned.

The census date will be Thursday 1st October 2020.  The LA requests first submissions by Wednesday 7th October 2020, with final submissions by Wednesday 14th October 2020.

A summary of new data items and changes to existing ones is below.  Further information will be provided to school census contacts via e-mail at the start of the Autumn Term.

Please contact your MIS provider for system specific guidance on completing the census.  In addition, please refer to the DfE website and/or our school census webpage for further guidance.

New Data Items

Post 16 - For Students Undertaking 16-19 Programmes

  • Programme aim
  • Programme type
  • Work placement start date
  • Work placement end date
  • Work placement hours
  • Work placement mode
  • Work placement employer ID
  • T level planned hours
  • T level planned employability, enrichment and pastoral hours


For schools who do not use electronic attendance registers, DfE will be collecting in the spring 2021 census:

  • Total number of sessions attending approved educational activity
  • Total number of sessions unable to attend due to exceptional circumstances

Existing Data Items

Termly Attendance Module

From spring 2021 census DfE will be collecting all categories of school attendance, rather than just absence.

Exclusion Reasons

From the start of the autumn term 2020 (2020-08-01), the codeset for exclusion reasons will change to include additional codes. Also, from the autumn term schools will be able to record up to three reasons per exclusion.

Following the expansion of the categories and the collection of multiple reasons, ‘Other’ will no longer be recorded as category for exclusions with a start date on or after 2020-08-01.  The first collection of up to three reasons and new codes will occur in the spring 2021 census.

Changes for Autumn 2020 Only

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the absence of the summer school census DfE have made the following changes.

Termly Attendance Module

  • Summer term attendance will not be collected however, DfE still require: pupil no longer on roll records for all pupils with DOB between 2003-09-01 and 2015-08-31 (aged between 4 and 15 as at 2019-08-31), with a leaving date between 2020-01-01 and 2020-07-31 and are not a boarder.
  • To reduce burdens on providers any attendance data present will be stripped out by the department when uploading the file onto COLLECT.

Exclusion Collection Period

Due to the absence of a summer census collection, the department have decided to re-collect any exclusion with a start date in the full 2019 to 2020 academic year in the autumn 2020 census.

FSM Eligibility Period

Due to the absence of a summer census collection, the department have decided to amend the ‘end date’ range for autumn 2020 census to collect: an FSM eligibility end date that is, on or after 2020-01-17 and up to and including the autumn census day (2020-10-01).  However, please remember the expectation is that no children will have an FSM eligibility end date.  If you do, please contact the FSM team at the LA for advice.