Department For Education
The early years census is a statutory census that takes place every January. You must complete statutory censuses by law unless theres a good reason not to.
All local authorities must submit data for this census.
The census collects information about early years providers who receive direct government funding for 2-, 3- or 4-year-olds, including:
- all private, voluntary or independent nurseries and providers of early years education
- schools that provide day care for full days or in shorter sessions
- childminders and childminding networks
The 2021 census deadlines for:
- census day: Thursday 21 January 2021
- local authorities to submit their data: Friday 12 March 2021
- final submission date: Thursday 15 April 2021
Submit your data
Youll need to:
- register and log in with DfE Sign-in
- use COLLECT to submit your school census data
Please contact your school or local authority approver, if:
- you want to request a DfE Sign-in username or password so you can access COLLECT
- school census is not on the list of collections you can see in COLLECT
Get help using DfE Sign-in
If you do not know who your approver is, please use the DfE Sign-in request form.
If youve forgotten your password, use DfE Sign-in to reset it. You will need to click Start now and then the Ive forgotten my password link.
Note that well only be able to change the status of your data submission to authorised once youve cleared all errors in the data in COLLECT.
The following guidance documents will help you complete the census:
The following documents are available for local authorities and software suppliers:
- Early years census 2021: technical specification and validation rules
- Early years census 2020: XML generator
Do you need help?
For complex questions, please use the service request form. We aim to answer your question within 5 working days.
Please use the feedback form if you have any comments about our data collection service, including COLLECT and the helpdesk service.
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