Alternative provision census: guide to submitting data
How local authorities should submit data for the alternative provision census.
The alternative provision (AP) census is a statutory census that takes place every January. You must complete statutory censuses by law unless there’s a good reason not to.
AP settings provide education for children who can’t attend a mainstream school.
The AP census collects information about pupils who are either:
- attending a school not maintained by a local authority (for example, a non-maintained special school) and the local authority is paying for the full tuition
- receiving education under arrangements made and funded by the local authority, but not in a school or a pupil referral unit (for example, pupils in community homes or units)
The 2017 census deadlines:
- census day: Thursday 19 January 2017
- deadline for submitting data: Friday 3 March 2017
Submit your data
Local authorities must collect the data from AP providers and supply it to us using COLLECT, our centralised data collection and management system.
Note that we’ll only be able to change the status of your data submission to ‘authorised’, once you’ve cleared all errors in the data in COLLECT.
These guides will help you complete the 2017 AP census:
The following technical document is available for local authorities and software suppliers:
If you are looking for guides from past AP census collections, visit the ‘Alternative provision census: closed collections’ page.
Do you need help?
Please use the service request form if you have any questions about your data. We aim to answer your question within 5 working days.
Reset your Secure Access login details using the forgotten password or username form.
Please contact your school or local authority approver, if:
- you want to request a Secure Access username or password to access COLLECT
- ‘AP census’ isn’t on the list of collections you can see in COLLECT
If you don’t know who your approver is, please use the Secure Access service request form.
Please use the feedback form if you have any comments about our data collection service, including COLLECT and the helpdesk service.
Published: 25 March 2014
Updated: 22 December 2016
- Added link to new generic COLLECT guides for schools and local authorities.
- Updated the census deadlines. Added links to the 2017 guide, and to the business and technical specification.
- Corrected 2016 alternative provision census return date to Friday 4 March 2016.
- Added a link to 'Alternative provision census 2016: COLLECT guide'.
- Updated the census deadlines. Added links to the 2016 guide for local authorities and AP providers, and to the business and technical specification.
- Added link to the alternative provision census 2015: COLLECT guide for local authorities.
- Added link to 'Alternative provision census 2015: XML schema files'.
- Added link to the 2015 census guide.
- Added the technical specification and important dates for the 2015 census.
- First published.