School census

The summer school census for 2020 has been cancelled. Find out information on data collections cancelled for this academic year.

Census dates for this academic year:

  • Autumn: 3 October 2019
  • Spring: 16 January 2020
  • Summer: Cancelled

Autumn school census

The Autumn School Census data is used in the calculation of the Schools Block of the Dedicated School Grant (DSG) for 2019 to 2020.

It is important that schools are happy with the accuracy of their returns before uploading them, and that they're uploaded by the deadline.

Spring school census

The Spring School Census is the largest of the three census collections that take place each year.

It collects a variety of data on both pupils and schools, such as Free School Meals, SEN, Ethnicity and Language which are used for things such as monitoring a school's performance or allocating funding.

Summer and autumn school census

The Summer and Autumn censuses are smaller and only collect the basic pupil information, such as attendance and address details.

For secondary schools with sixth forms, the post-16 learning aims are also collected.

If schools have any queries about the School Information Management System (SIMS), they should contact EIS by phoning 0300 065 8888 or emailing

The Department for Education (DfE) requests that all schools make their initial census return as soon as possible after the collection portal opens.

This is to help ensure local authorities have the maximum time available to check, and approve, all submissions by the database closure.

The DfE have updated their website, it is now more interactive. The information you need for the census is broken down by category to make it easier to find information. Please familiarise yourself with the web page before the autumn census is due. 

See school census guidance on GOV.UK