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Schools: Databases

Question for Department for Education

UIN 135982, tabled on 11 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the steps schools need to take to conduct the January 2021 school census during the covid-19 England national lockdown.

Answered on

19 January 2021

Following the recent announcement made on 4 January 2021 by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, and as part of our ongoing work to help manage the burden on educational and care settings, the Department has reviewed all data collections (including the school census) to ensure that they remain both necessary and feasible at this time. This review has included consultation with a subset of external representatives from the sector.

As the scope of the school census is all children on the school’s admission register, rather than those physically in attendance on census day or census week, the majority of data schools need to return should be information they already hold. As such, the requirements on schools for the school census collection are not directly impacted by the national lockdown. However, where relevant, we have updated and clarified the guidance for the small subset of data collected which refer to the situation on census day (namely information on class activity and take up of free school lunches by infant pupils).

The data collection will remain open for schools to make a return for at least 8 weeks until 17 March 2021. We also have a dedicated service available to support, and work with, schools having any difficulties.