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School and pupil census

The school census is a statutory return which takes place during each term and covers all maintained schools, academies, free schools and pupil referral units.

Census dates for 2023-2024

  • Autumn 2023: Census Date: 5 October 2023 (submit by 1 November 2023)
  • Spring 2024: Census Date: 18 January 2024 (submit by 14 February 2024)
  • Summer 2024: Census Date: 16 May 2024 (submit by 12 June 2024)

Schools are required to upload, cleanse and submit their census return file directly onto the Department of Education COLLECT website on or before the above 'submit by' date. However, while the 'submit by' day is the final deadline, please can returns be uploaded as soon as possible after the census date.

If you are unable to submit your return by this date you must inform the intelligence and analytics team, email i&

Important - errors and queries

Even though your management information system (MIS) indicates there are no errors or queries you may still have errors or queries in COLLECT. You should upload your file to COLLECT as early as possible and check for any unexpected errors or queries, to allow time to resolve them before the census approval deadline.

All errors must be resolved. All queries must be investigated and resolved with appropriate notepad entries where necessary. This is the area of Census where most problems occur, so please refer to the 'Dealing with errors and queries' section on the school and pupil census guidance page.

Help and guidance

For guidance with submitting your school census including census guides, COLLECT guides and other information and helpful links, go to the school and pupil census guidance page.