Early Years censusSince the beginning of 2006, it has been compulsory for nursery schools to make a school census return on all 3 and 4-year-olds. (To refresh your memory, see our blog about the National Pupil Database)
From next year the census will be extended to cover all private, voluntary and independent ‘early years’ providers. Up until now they have submitted information to the local authority, which has then supplied the DfES with aggregate figures.
As children under 5 who are in playgroups, private nurseries or with childminders cannot be called ‘pupils’, the powers to collect individualised information granted by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 are not applicable, and so new legislation is in the pipeline.
The powers to demand this information are contained in clauses 99-101 of the Childcare Bill, currently awaiting its final stage in the Lords.
You can read more about all this from Sure Start or on the Central and Local Government Information Partnership (CLIP) site