For the school census return, all schools that were open on school census day, 16 January 2020, were required to submit a school census return via their local authorities. Similarly, all open registered independent schools and general hospital schools were required to submit their respective returns and all 151 local authorities were required to submit their details of their alternative provision in the alternative provision census.
For the school census and alternative provision census, data were loaded directly into the DfE bespoke data collection system; COLLECT (Collections On-Line for Learning, Education, Children and Teachers). The data passed through several phases of checking and data cleaning. The data that were loaded into COLLECT were subject to a pre-agreed series of validation checks to aid the submission of accurate data. Extensive guidance and support was provided to schools and local authorities to help them ensure the data they provide was as accurate as possible. The guidance aimed to reduce the impact of any local variations by collecting data in as consistent a format as possible, and by having extensive phases of checking and sign off
The independent and general hospital school census returns were either loaded directly into COLLECT by the schools themselves, or they submitted a paper version of the return to the department, where it was then loaded into COLLECT on their behalf. The school was then asked to check that the data had been loaded correctly into COLLECT
From the 2019/2020 academic year publication in June 2020, the data will be disseminated via the Explore education statistics tool. In producing the data for this tool, a number of minor revisions have been made in order to make the data as accessible and transparent as possible.
The ‘Total’ of all pupils can vary depending on the selections made by the user. Free school meals, language and ethnicity are not collected for independent schools, therefore any breakdowns of these statistics will not include independent schools in the ‘Total’ or denominator for any percentages.
Previously, published statistics were in some cases limited to state-funded primary, secondary and/or special schools. These school types are available for selection and consistent figures can still be produced. However, it should be noted that any ‘Total’ includes all school types available for selection, including non-maintained special schools and pupil referral units.
From 2019, the number of pupils in key stage 1 and key stage 2 classes includes those in both state-funded primary and secondary schools. In previous statistics releases, these figures did not include secondary pupils for academic years prior to 2018/19. The data included in the Explore education statistics platform includes the number of pupils in key stage 1 and key stage 2 classes in both state-funded primary and secondary schools, for all years, therefore some minor differences may be found when comparing time series.
Figures for primary or secondary only are available and can be produced using the table tool.
General hospital schools
There are 10 general hospital schools that have returned data through the general hospital schools census. These schools are included under state-funded special schools in any counts within this publication.