This snapshot, taken on
, shows web content acquired for preservation by The National Archives. External links, forms and search may not work in archived websites and contact details are likely to be out of date.
The UK Government Web Archive does not use cookies but some may be left in your browser from archived websites.

The School Census - England


The purpose of this guide is to inform users of what statistical documents have been published over the years which relate to data collected in the School Census for schools in England and an overview of each topic area.


Data are published in a range of official statistical releases and include topic data such as:
  • general school characteristics (number of schools by type, status, religious character and size)
  • pupil characteristics (number of pupils by age, gender, free school meal eligibility, ethnicity, first language, mode of travel, and gifted and talented status as well as information on class sizes)
  • pupil absence
  • pupil exclusion
  • special educational needs
  • school admission appeals
The publications provide information at a national level within the text (PDF) document and Local Authority level tables have been placed on the website as downloadable Excel files.

What is it?

The School Census (SC) collects key data on around 8 million pupils and around 25,000 schools; and pupil level data have been collected since 2002. Similar pupil level collections for pupils in Alternative Provision and Pupil Referral Units began in spring 2008 and 2010, respectively. Independent schools (other than academies) and general hospital schools are covered by a separate school level collection. Topic Guides
  1. Pupil absence
  2. Pupil exclusions
  3. Schools, pupils and their characteristics
  4. Admission Appeals
  5. Special Educational Needs
  6. School Destinations of Secondary School Pupils Resident in London Boroughs
Appendix A - Glossary
  • Authorised absence is absence with permission from a teacher or other authorised representative of the school. This includes instances of absences for which a satisfactory explanation has been provided (for example, illness).
  • Unauthorised absence is absence without permission from a teacher or other authorised representative of the school. This includes all unexplained or unjustified absences. Arriving late for school, after the register has closed, is recorded as unauthorised absence.
  • Overall absence is the total of authorised and unauthorised absence.
  • Persistent absentees are defined as having 64 or more sessions of absence (authorised and unauthorised) during the year, around 20 per cent overall absence rate.
  • Permanent exclusion refers to a pupil who is excluded from a school and their name removed from the school register. Such a pupil would then be educated at another school or via some other form of provision.
  • Fixed period exclusion refers to a pupil who is excluded from a school but remains on the register of that school because they are expected to return when the exclusion period is completed.
  • Admission appeal refers to an appeal by parents against non-admission of their child to a school for which they have expressed a preference.
If you require any further information please email the Schools Statistical Team.