Academic year 2023/24

Schools, pupils and their characteristics

Data guidance

Published

Description

This document describes the data included in the ‘Schools, pupils and their characteristics’ National Statistics release’s underlying data files. This data is released under the terms of the Open Government License and is intended to meet at least 3 stars for Open Data.

The publication methodology, available on the publication report, should be referenced alongside this data. It provides information on the data sources, their coverage and quality as well as explaining methodology used in producing the data.

Coverage

This release provides information on the number of schools and pupils in:

  • state-funded primary schools
  • state-funded secondary schools
  • state-funded special schools
  • non-maintained special schools
  • pupil referral units
  • independent schools
  • local authority alternative provision

It includes information on:

  • pupil numbers, including headcount and fte, gender, ethnicity, language and free school meals eligibility
  • school numbers, including school type, academy status, denomination, admission policy, urban/rural and gender

The information is based on data collected via the pupil level spring school census, school level annual school census, general hospital schools census and alternative provision census.

File formats and conventions

Rounding

These datasets have not had suppression applied.

Conventions

The following convention is used throughout the underlying data. 

‘x’ Not applicable

‘z’ Unknown

Data files

All data files associated with this releases are listed below with guidance on their content. To download any of these files, please visit our data catalogue.

Pupil characteristics - number of pupils by age and sex

Filename
spc_pupils_age_and_sex_.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2015/16 to 2023/24
Content
Pupils in state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, non-maintained special schools, pupil referral units and independent schools
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
agePupil age - Age at start of academic year (31st Aug)
fteFull time equivalent
full_timeFull time pupils
headcountHeadcount
part_timePart time pupils
phase_type_groupingSchool type - Filter by school type
sexPupil sex - Pupil sex (Male/Female)
Footnotes
  1. Prior to 2023/24 schools were required to record pupils' gender, which was coded as male /female and reported in the publication as boys/girls. From 2023/24 the variable has been clarified to reflect the pupil's legal sex and is both recorded and reported as male/female. The figures are reported here as constituting a single time series. 

Pupil characteristics - number of pupils by national curriculum year group and sex

Filename
spc_pupils_yeargroup_and_sex_.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2015/16 to 2023/24
Content
Pupils in state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, non-maintained special schools, pupil referral units and independent schools
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
fteFull time equivalent
full_timeFull time pupils
headcountHeadcount
ncyearYear group - National curriculum year group
part_timePart time pupils
phase_type_groupingSchool type - Filter by school type
sexPupil sex - Pupil sex (Male/Female)
Footnotes
  1. Prior to 2023/24 schools were required to record pupils' gender, which was coded as male /female and reported in the publication as boys/girls. From 2023/24 the variable has been clarified to reflect the pupil's legal sex and is both recorded and reported as male/female. The figures are reported here as constituting a single time series. 

Pupil characteristics - number of pupils by ethnicity and language

Filename
spc_pupils_ethnicity_and_language_.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2015/16 to 2023/24
Content
Pupils in state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, non-maintained special schools and pupil referral units by ethnicity and language
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
ethnicity_minorEthnicity - Filter by pupil ethnicity
headcountHeadcount
languageFirst language - Filter by first language
percent_of_pupilsPercent
phase_type_groupingSchool type - Filter by school type
Footnotes
  1. Totals include state-funded nursery, primary, secondary, alternative provision (AP) schools and special schools, and non-maintained special schools. Does not include independent schools
  2. Totals include pupils in General Hospital Schools, however Ethnicity and Language data is not available for these pupils. Breakdowns may not sum to totals as a result.
  3. Prior to 2017/18, Ethnicity and Language data was collected for compulsory school age children only.

Pupil characteristics - number of pupils by fsm eligibility

Filename
spc_pupils_fsm.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2015/16 to 2023/24
Content
Pupils in state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, non-maintained special schools and pupil referral units by FSM eligibility
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
fsmFree School Meals - Filter by free school meal status
headcountHeadcount
percent_of_pupilsFSM - Percentage of pupils
phase_type_groupingSchool type - Filter by school type
Footnotes
  1. Totals include state-funded nursery, primary, secondary, alternative provision (AP) schools and special schools, and non-maintained special schools. Does not include independent schools

Class sizes - state-funded primary and secondary schools

Filename
spc_class_size_.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2015/16 to 2023/24
Content
Number of pupils and classes and average class sizes for state-funded primary and secondary schools, including infant and key stage 2 class sizes
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
average_class_sizeAverage class size
classtypeType of class - Type of class (Infant (Reception plus KS1), KS2, Primary or Secondary)
number_of_classesNumber of classes
number_of_pupilsNumber of pupils
sizeSize of class - Class size (1 to 30, 31 to 35, 36 plus)
Footnotes
  1. Totals include state-funded nursery, primary, secondary, alternative provision (AP) schools and special schools, and non-maintained special schools. Does not include independent schools

Alternative provision - local authority funded placements - placement counts

Filename
spc_ap_setting.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2022/23 to 2023/24
Content
Number of pupils in local authority funded alternative provision
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
placementsNumber of placements
setting_typeType of setting

Alternative provision - local authority funded placements - setting type and placement reason

Filename
ap_placement_reason_ap_census.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2017/18 to 2023/24
Content
Number of placements in local authority funded alternative provision by placement reason and setting type
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
denominatorTotal placements
number_of_placementsNumber of placements
perc_placementsPercentage of placements
placement_reasonReason for AP placement - Reason for pupil being in AP
setting_typeType of setting - Setting with URN/UKPRN or other type

Alternative provision - local authority funded placements - pupil counts

Filename
ap_placements_ap_census.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2017/18 to 2023/24
Content
Number of pupils in local authority funded alternative provision
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
agePupil age - Pupil age at 31 Aug at start of academic year
ethnicity_minorEthnicity - Ethnicity of pupil
fsmFree school meals - FSM eligible/not eligible
number_of_pupilsHeadcount
sexPupil sex - Sex (Male/Female/Unknown)

FSM eligibility by ethnicity or national curriculum year group

Filename
spc_pupils_fsm_ethnicity_yrgp.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2015/16 to 2023/24
Content
Pupils in state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, non-maintained special schools and pupil referral units by free school meal eligibility and ethnicity or year group
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
characteristicCharacteristics - Select required groups
denominatorTotal headcount
fsm_eligibilityFSM Eligibility - Select required groups
number_of_pupilsNumber of pupils
percent_of_pupilsPercentage
phase_type_groupingSchool type - Filter by school type
Footnotes
  1. Totals include state-funded nursery, primary, secondary, alternative provision (AP) schools and special schools, and non-maintained special schools. Does not include independent schools

Universal Infant Free School Meals (UIFSM)

Filename
spc_uifsm.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2015/16 to 2023/24
Content
Information on the take up of Universal Infant Free School Meals, including by FSM eligibility.
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
characteristicFSM eligibility - Filter by FSM, Not FSM or Total
denominatorTotal number of infant pupils
lunch_takenLunch taken - Select required groups
percentagePercentage of infant pupils taking a meal
phase_type_groupingSchool type - Filter by school type
pupilsNumber of infant pupils taking a meal
Footnotes
  1. Totals include state-funded nursery, primary, secondary, alternative provision (AP) schools and special schools, and non-maintained special schools. Does not include independent schools

Young carers by national curriculum year group

Filename
spc_pupils_young_carers_yrgp.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2022/23 to 2023/24
Content
Pupils in state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools, non-maintained special schools and pupil referral units who have been identified as a young carer
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
characteristicCharacteristics - Select required groups
denominatorTotal headcount
number_of_pupilsNumber of pupils
percent_of_pupilsPercentage
phase_type_groupingSchool type - Filter by school type
young_carerKnown to be a young carer - Select required groups
Footnotes
  1. Totals include state-funded nursery, primary, secondary, alternative provision (AP) schools and special schools, and non-maintained special schools. Does not include independent schools
  2. Data on young carers has been collected in the school census for the first time in 2022/23. The young carer indicator identifies, for those children on roll on spring census day, whether they have been identified as a young carer either by the school (including where the pupil self declares) or by parent or guardian

School arranged alternative provision - by characteristics

Filename
spc_school_ap_characteristics.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2022/23 to 2023/24
Content
Number of pupils in school arranged alternative provision, by pupil characteristics
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
pupil_characteristicPupil characteristic - Select required groups
pupilsNumber of pupils
setting_typeType of setting
Footnotes
  1. Prior to 2023/24 schools were required to record pupils' gender, which was coded as male /female and reported in the publication as boys/girls. From 2023/24 the variable has been clarified to reflect the pupil's legal sex and is both recorded and reported as male/female. The figures are reported here as constituting a single time series. 

School arranged alternative provision - by placement reason

Filename
spc_school_ap_placement.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2022/23 to 2023/24
Content
Number of pupils in school arranged alternative provision, by reason for placement
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
pupil_characteristicPlacement Reason - Select required groups
pupilsNumber of pupils
setting_typeType of setting

School characteristics

Filename
spc_school_characteristics_.csv
Geographic levels
Local authority; National; Regional
Time period
2015/16 to 2023/24
Content
Number of schools in England, by type, phase, denomination, admission policy, sex, urban/rural and academy status including headcounts and full-time equivalent, language, free school meals, age and national curriculum year breakdowns
Variable names and descriptions

Variable names and descriptions for this file are provided below:

Variable nameVariable description
academy_flagAcademy indicator - Academy or otherwise
admissions_policySchool admissions policy - Selective or otherwise
denominationDenomination - Religious denomination
female_boardersfemale boarders
fte_pupilsFTE pupils
full_time_female_aged_0Full time female aged 0
full_time_female_aged_1Full time female aged 1
full_time_female_aged_10Full time female aged 10
full_time_female_aged_11Full time female aged 11
full_time_female_aged_12Full time female aged 12
full_time_female_aged_13Full time female aged 13
full_time_female_aged_14Full time female aged 14
full_time_female_aged_15Full time female aged 15
full_time_female_aged_16Full time female aged 16
full_time_female_aged_17Full time female aged 17
full_time_female_aged_18Full time female aged 18
full_time_female_aged_19Full time female aged 19
full_time_female_aged_2Full time female aged 2
full_time_female_aged_3Full time female aged 3 (born April to August)
full_time_female_aged_4Full time female aged 4 (born September to December)
full_time_female_aged_5Full time female aged 5
full_time_female_aged_6Full time female aged 6
full_time_female_aged_7Full time female aged 7
full_time_female_aged_8Full time female aged 8
full_time_female_aged_9Full time female aged 9
full_time_female_early_1Full time female Early 1
full_time_female_early_2Full time female Early 2
full_time_female_nursery_1Full time female Nursery 1
full_time_female_nursery_2Full time female Nursery 2
full_time_female_receptionFull time female Reception
full_time_female_year_group_1Full time female Year group 1
full_time_female_year_group_10Full time female Year group 10
full_time_female_year_group_11Full time female Year group 11
full_time_female_year_group_12Full time female Year group 12
full_time_female_year_group_13Full time female Year group 13
full_time_female_year_group_14Full time female Year group 14
full_time_female_year_group_2Full time female Year group 2
full_time_female_year_group_3Full time female Year group 3
full_time_female_year_group_4Full time female Year group 4
full_time_female_year_group_5Full time female Year group 5
full_time_female_year_group_6Full time female Year group 6
full_time_female_year_group_7Full time female Year group 7
full_time_female_year_group_8Full time female Year group 8
full_time_female_year_group_9Full time female Year group 9
full_time_female_year_group_not_followedFull time female Year group Not followed
full_time_male_aged_0Full time male aged 0
full_time_male_aged_1Full time male aged 1
full_time_male_aged_10Full time male aged 10
full_time_male_aged_11Full time male aged 11
full_time_male_aged_12Full time male aged 12
full_time_male_aged_13Full time male aged 13
full_time_male_aged_14Full time male aged 14
full_time_male_aged_15Full time male aged 15
full_time_male_aged_16Full time male aged 16
full_time_male_aged_17Full time male aged 17
full_time_male_aged_18Full time male aged 18
full_time_male_aged_19Full time male aged 19
full_time_male_aged_2Full time male aged 2
full_time_male_aged_3Full time male aged 3 (born April to August)
full_time_male_aged_4Full time male aged 4 (born September to December)
full_time_male_aged_5Full time male aged 5
full_time_male_aged_6Full time male aged 6
full_time_male_aged_7Full time male aged 7
full_time_male_aged_8Full time male aged 8
full_time_male_aged_9Full time male aged 9
full_time_male_early_1Full time male Early 1
full_time_male_early_2Full time male Early 2
full_time_male_nursery_1Full time male Nursery 1
full_time_male_nursery_2Full time male Nursery 2
full_time_male_receptionFull time male Reception
full_time_male_year_group_1Full time male Year group 1
full_time_male_year_group_10Full time male Year group 10
full_time_male_year_group_11Full time male Year group 11
full_time_male_year_group_12Full time male Year group 12
full_time_male_year_group_13Full time male Year group 13
full_time_male_year_group_14Full time male Year group 14
full_time_male_year_group_2Full time male Year group 2
full_time_male_year_group_3Full time male Year group 3
full_time_male_year_group_4Full time male Year group 4
full_time_male_year_group_5Full time male Year group 5
full_time_male_year_group_6Full time male Year group 6
full_time_male_year_group_7Full time male Year group 7
full_time_male_year_group_8Full time male Year group 8
full_time_male_year_group_9Full time male Year group 9
full_time_male_year_group_not_followedFull time male Year group Not followed
full_time_pupilsFull time pupils
headcount_of_pupilsHeadcount - Total
headcount_total_femaleHeadcount - female
headcount_total_maleHeadcount - male
infants_taken_a_free_school_meal_on_census_dayInfants taken a free school meal on census day
male_boardersmale boarders
number_of_early_year_pupils_years_e1_and_e2Number of early year pupils (years E1 and E2)
number_of_fsm_eligible_pupils_taking_a_free_school_meal_on_census_dayNumber of FSM eligible pupils taking a free school meal on census day
number_of_key_stage_1_pupils_years_1_and_2Number of key stage 1 pupils (years 1 and 2)
number_of_key_stage_2_pupils_years_3_to_6Number of key stage 2 pupils (years 3 to 6)
number_of_key_stage_3_pupils_years_7_to_9Number of key stage 3 pupils (years 7 to 9)
number_of_key_stage_4_pupils_years_10_and_11Number of key stage 4 pupils (years 10 and 11)
number_of_key_stage_5_pupils_years_12_to_14Number of key stage 5 pupils (years 12 to 14)
number_of_nursery_pupils_years_n1_and_n2Number of nursery pupils (years N1 and N2)
number_of_pupils_known_to_be_eligible_for_free_school_mealsKnown to be eligible for free school meals
number_of_pupils_known_to_be_eligible_for_free_school_meals_performance_tablesKnown to be eligible for free school meals (using performance tables methodology)
number_of_pupils_not_reception_or_key_stage_1_to_5Number of pupils not reception or key stage 1 to 5
number_of_pupils_of_compulsory_school_age_and_aboveNumber of pupils of compulsory school age and above
number_of_pupils_used_for_fsm_calculation_in_performance_tablesNumber of pupils used for FSM calculation in Performance Tables
number_of_pupils_whose_first_language_is_known_or_believed_to_be_englishFirst language is known or believed to be English
number_of_pupils_whose_first_language_is_known_or_believed_to_be_other_than_englishFirst language is known or believed to be other than English
number_of_pupils_whose_first_language_is_unclassifiedFirst language is unclassified
number_of_reception_pupils_year_rNumber of reception pupils (year R)
number_of_schoolsNumber of schools
part_time_female_aged_0Part time female aged 0
part_time_female_aged_1Part time female aged 1
part_time_female_aged_10Part time female aged 10
part_time_female_aged_11Part time female aged 11
part_time_female_aged_12Part time female aged 12
part_time_female_aged_13Part time female aged 13
part_time_female_aged_14Part time female aged 14
part_time_female_aged_15Part time female aged 15
part_time_female_aged_16Part time female aged 16
part_time_female_aged_17Part time female aged 17
part_time_female_aged_18Part time female aged 18
part_time_female_aged_19Part time female aged 19
part_time_female_aged_2Part time female aged 2
part_time_female_aged_3Part time female aged 3 (born April to August)
part_time_female_aged_4Part time female aged 4 (born September to December)
part_time_female_aged_5Part time female aged 5
part_time_female_aged_6Part time female aged 6
part_time_female_aged_7Part time female aged 7
part_time_female_aged_8Part time female aged 8
part_time_female_aged_9Part time female aged 9
part_time_female_early_1Part time female Early 1
part_time_female_early_2Part time female Early 2
part_time_female_nursery_1Part time female Nursery 1
part_time_female_nursery_2Part time female Nursery 2
part_time_female_receptionPart time female Reception
part_time_female_year_group_1Part time female Year group 1
part_time_female_year_group_10Part time female Year group 10
part_time_female_year_group_11Part time female Year group 11
part_time_female_year_group_12Part time female Year group 12
part_time_female_year_group_13Part time female Year group 13
part_time_female_year_group_14Part time female Year group 14
part_time_female_year_group_2Part time female Year group 2
part_time_female_year_group_3Part time female Year group 3
part_time_female_year_group_4Part time female Year group 4
part_time_female_year_group_5Part time female Year group 5
part_time_female_year_group_6Part time female Year group 6
part_time_female_year_group_7Part time female Year group 7
part_time_female_year_group_8Part time female Year group 8
part_time_female_year_group_9Part time female Year group 9
part_time_female_year_group_not_followedPart time female Year group Not followed
part_time_male_aged_0part time male aged 0
part_time_male_aged_1part time male aged 1
part_time_male_aged_10Part time male aged 10
part_time_male_aged_11Part time male aged 11
part_time_male_aged_12Part time male aged 12
part_time_male_aged_13Part time male aged 13
part_time_male_aged_14Part time male aged 14
part_time_male_aged_15Part time male aged 15
part_time_male_aged_16Part time male aged 16
part_time_male_aged_17Part time male aged 17
part_time_male_aged_18Part time male aged 18
part_time_male_aged_19Part time male aged 19
part_time_male_aged_2part time male aged 2
part_time_male_aged_3Part time male aged 3 (born April to August)
part_time_male_aged_4Part time male aged 4 (born September to December)
part_time_male_aged_5Part time male aged 5
part_time_male_aged_6Part time male aged 6
part_time_male_aged_7Part time male aged 7
part_time_male_aged_8Part time male aged 8
part_time_male_aged_9Part time male aged 9
part_time_male_early_1Part time male Early 1
part_time_male_early_2Part time male Early 2
part_time_male_nursery_1Part time male Nursery 1
part_time_male_nursery_2Part time male Nursery 2
part_time_male_receptionPart time male Reception
part_time_male_year_group_1Part time male Year group 1
part_time_male_year_group_10Part time male Year group 10
part_time_male_year_group_11Part time male Year group 11
part_time_male_year_group_12Part time male Year group 12
part_time_male_year_group_13Part time male Year group 13
part_time_male_year_group_14Part time male Year group 14
part_time_male_year_group_2Part time male Year group 2
part_time_male_year_group_3Part time male Year group 3
part_time_male_year_group_4Part time male Year group 4
part_time_male_year_group_5Part time male Year group 5
part_time_male_year_group_6Part time male Year group 6
part_time_male_year_group_7Part time male Year group 7
part_time_male_year_group_8Part time male Year group 8
part_time_male_year_group_9Part time male Year group 9
part_time_male_year_group_not_followedPart time male Year group Not followed
part_time_pupilsPart time pupils
phase_type_groupingSchool type - Filter by school type
sex_of_school_descriptionSex of school description - Mixed, boys, girls
total_boardersTotal boarders
type_of_establishmentSchool type (detailed) - Filter by school type (further detail)
urban_ruralUrban or rural indicator - Urban or rural indicator