Why is there a school census?
All schools are required to submit a School Census to the Department for Education (DfE) each term. The school census is a statutory census that takes place during the autumn, spring, and summer terms. You must complete statutory censuses by law unless there’s a good reason not to. The submission of the school census returns, including a set of named pupil records, is a statutory requirement on schools under Section 537A of the Education Act 1996.
Putting the school census on a statutory basis:
• means that schools do not need to obtain parental or pupil consent to the provision of information
• ensures schools are protected from any legal challenge that they are breaching a duty of confidence to pupils
• helps to ensure that returns are completed by schools
School census data is used to distribute public funding to schools. It is essential that headteachers and governing bodies ensure the accuracy of pupil census data including date of birth, post code, EAL, free school meal eligibility, take up of Universal Infant Free School Meals, SEN status and whether the pupil has a place in Resourced Provision (Special Support Centre) etc.
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