Statutory returns for schools

School Census and School Workforce Census

The school census is a statutory return which takes place during the autumn, spring, and summer terms.

The school workforce census is a statutory return which takes place once a year in the autumn term.

The following schools should take part in these censuses:

All maintained schools, including:

  • nursery schools
  • primary schools, including middle-deemed-primary schools
  • secondary schools, including middle-deemed-secondary schools
  • special schools, including hospital schools
  • pupil referral units (PRUs) including AP academies and AP free schools
  • community, foundation, voluntary-aided, and voluntary-controlled schools.

Academies, including:

  • free schools
  • studio schools
  • university technical colleges (UTCs)

Non-maintained special schools.

Submission process

Maintained schools 

Maintained schools must submit their school census and school workforce census returns to the local authority for verification and submission to the Department for Education (DfE).

Academies and Free Schools

As well as submitting their return to the LA, all academies and free schools have additional responsibilities as required by the DfE. They must:

  • upload and submit their census return directly to DfE using the COLLECT site. This can be done by the LA at the school’s request
  • action and resolve all errors, queries and duplicate students (on school census) identified by COLLECT. Failure to do so could impact on funding levels. The Academy and Free School upload process to DfE can be done by the LA at the school’s request.

Academies and Free Schools should ensure they refer to communications and guidance sent by the DfE.

School Census timetable

Autumn School Census 2020 - 1 October 2020.

Deadline for maintained schools

  • The deadline for first returns to LA is 7 October 2020.
  • Final returns are expected by 14 October 2020.

Deadlines for Academies and Free Schools

Academies and Free Schools DfE final submission date 28 October 2020.