School census

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Changes from 2017 to 2018 school census specifications

New data items - There are no new data items for the 2018-19 school census.

Existing data items

Special educational needs Code ‘S’ – Statement of special educational needs – was discontinued from 2018-04- 01 and has therefore been removed from SEN except where it applies to exclusions from the 2018 Spring and Summer terms, which are reported in the 2018 Autumn and 2019 Spring terms. This data item will not be valid for exclusions in the summer census collection.

Code ‘NSA’ - The No Specialist Assessment code (‘NSA’) should only be used in those very rare instances where a pupil is placed on SEN support (Code ‘K’), but the school is still assessing what the primary need is. This might occur, for example, where a child on SEN support has transferred into the school shortly before school census day. Where code ‘NSA’ is to be used, the pupil MUST have SEN Provision of code ‘K’. Code ‘NSA’ must not be used without the pupil having an appropriate SEN provision in place.

Service child indicator - The ‘Service Child’ indicator has changed from a spring collection to being collected each term.

Deleted data items - Proficiency in English, Pupil nationality, Country of Birth

Class Information - January census

Details are required of all classes running at the selected time on census day (17 January 2019). If different parts of the school use different timetable structures, then systems should allow the school to return class information for the timetable structure that applies to Key Stage 1. For example, where lunch is at 12:00 hours for pupils following a primary timetable but at 13:00 hours for pupils following a secondary timetable, then the end of morning school should be taken to be 12:00 hours and not 13:00 hours. The ‘selected time’ is based on the last digit of a school’s departmental establishment number as follows.

DfE last digit 

2, 3 or 6 The selected time is one hour after the start of afternoon school

4, 7, 8 or 9 The selected time is one hour after the start of morning school

0, 1 or 5 The selected time is one hour before the end of morning school

Where the selected time is not appropriate to the school timetable: where the selected time is when the whole school or a large proportion of the school is in an assembly with the head teacher; schools can choose an hour / period that reflects a ‘normal’ class situation that applies at the selected time each Thursday of the term

1. Census dates

The 2018 to 2019 census dates are:


• autumn census - first Thursday in October - 04/10/2018
• spring census - third Thursday in January – 17/01/2019
• summer census - third Thursday in May – 16/05/2019

More information about the school census can be found on the DfE Website

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