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Early Years Census 2024

Who should complete the Early Years Census?

All Private, Voluntary and Independent providers (PVI) who have made a claim for Early Education funding during the Spring term are required to complete the Early Years Census.

The Early Years Census is a mandatory annual data collection requirement in the Spring term.

Schools are not required to complete the Early Years Census as they will complete the School Census. Schools should submit their headcount data during headcount week and there is no need to wait until School Census day.

Childminders who are registered with an agency are responsible for supplying Census data to their agency for submission to the relevant local authority Early Years Census. The agency is responsible for submitting the data to the local authority but may pass this responsibility to the childminder.

Is it optional?

No, it is mandatory to complete the Early Years Census as the data is required for the Department for Education. The funding data will determine the amount of budget Solihull Council receive for the next financial year to pass on for Early Education Funding. The establishment and staff data will also be used for statistical analysis by the Department for Education.

Your Early Education Funding Headcount claim will not be payable unless we have received an Early Years Census return.

Early Years Census 2024

The Early Years Census will collect data on all children taking up free provision during Census week.

Census day is 18th January 2024.

There is no need to complete an Early Years Census return if you are not making a headcount claim this term.

Child data submitted via headcount claim

Only children marked as ‘Present during Census’ on the actuals funding tab will be submitted to the Department for Education. Therefore it is essential that you check this box as failing to do so could result in a loss of budget to Solihull Council.

If children are temporarily absent, i.e. sick or on holiday, please include them on your Census return.

For accuracy of Census data please ensure;

  • You collect ethnicity for as many children as possible
  • You only tick the stretch entitlement box for those accessing more than the standard weeks for the term to ensure correct Department for Education budget calculations
  • Record actual attendance dates for those starting late or leaving early

Please submit your Early Years Census immediately on completion of your headcount submission.

Headcount data should be submitted by Friday 2nd February 2024.

How the Local Authority collects your data

Each funded provider must submit a return via the Provider Portal.

You only need to complete one Census form per funded setting, even if you are claiming for more than one age group (2 or 3&4 years).

Family Information Service already hold your Ofsted registration details and therefore will not ask for this data again on your Census return

Further staff and child data required will be submitted by you on the Provider Portal via the Forms section.

Solihull Council will upload your completed data to the Department for Education.

The instructions for completing the Early Years Census can be found below.

Early Years Census Instructions

Funding availability

Please complete your daily opening times under the section General details of provision on the Census return.

If you are not open during Census week please record your hours during a normal week.

Staff qualifications

A total count of staff working with children under 5 is required.

Only the highest qualification should be counted for each person i.e. a staff member with an Early Years level 2 and level 3 qualification should only be recorded in the level 3 count.

The Department for Education have produced guidance to help you establish which level qualifications are classed as.

If unusual circumstances occur during Census week please record usual staffing levels.


Please enter the number of funded and non-funded children in this section of the form.

For the 2024 Census the following ages are defined as:

  • 2 year old has a date of birth between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021
  • 3 and 4 year olds have a date of birth between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2020


If you experience any difficulty with completing your Early Years Census form then please call or email your funding contact person as below;

If your setting/school name begins with A-K please contact:-

Sarah Maflahi, Information Assistant – 0121 704 6614 or email 

If your setting/school name begins with L-Z please contact:-

Jodi Goldin, Information Assistant – 0121 704 6015 or email