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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 2020-2021

  • Autumn 2020: Census Date: 1 October 2020 (submit by 2 October 2020)
  • Spring 2021: Census Date: 21 January 2021 (submit by 22 January 2021)
  • Summer 2021: Census Date: 20 May 2021 (submit by 21 May 2021)

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.

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.

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