Back to news listing

Next article

NEWS: What is the Early Years Census?

Also known as the 'Childcare Sufficiency Assessment', the Early Years Census is a statutory collection of data which takes place every January about early years providers that receive government funding for 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds. Providers must complete this by law and any provider failing to comply may be removed from the directory of providers and could lose the right to funding.

Census submissions are used by the Department for Education (DfE) and the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to determine how much funding each local authority is allocated, therefore failure to complete this also impacts the Early Years ‘free’ Entitlement Funding.

Providers that must contribute to the census include:

  • All private, voluntary or independent nurseries and providers of early years education
  • Childminders and childminding networks

When is the Early Years Census day?

Census day is 16 January 2020

Providers must record the number of staff and children registered at each provider during this exact week.

What is the data collection process?


  • Childminders who are registered with Ofsted will be required to submit a childminder return to their local authority.
  • Childminders who are registered with Childminding Agencies (CMAs) can submit a childminder return directly to their local authority or CMAs are able to submit an individual level return for each childminder registered with them to the childminder’s home local authority on their behalf.

Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) settings

  • PVI settings collect their data and pass it on to their local authority’s early years contacts.

How do I complete the Census?

Every local authority is different and can choose to carry out the Early Years Census in a way that suits them. Some may require surveys and others, phone calls, you must check with your individual local authority to see what is required of you. You can find your local authority contact details here -