Dear Colleagues,

In today’s edition of our BSA Newsletter (Issue 205, 19/3/21), we included an update on Census 2021, following concerns being raised with us about inconsistencies in guidance being given to our member schools. Unfortunately, this update included incorrect information supplied to us by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

We have subsequently received a further guidance from the ONS which is included below. Please disregard the update contained in today’s newsletter – we apologise for any inconvenience caused. 

Thank you for your email of 16 March 2021 and for bringing this to my attention and can I apologise that you received different answers from our helpline.  As a result, we have  arranged further training for our call centre operatives as well as updating our on-line help.

In response to your specifics:

What age should a boarding pupil complete their own individual survey (assuming they board four nights or more per term)? Some boarders can be as young as 8. BSA was told by three handlers from the helpline this was 16 or above, another school has been told 11 or above and two further schools have been told any age.

  • All boarders staying 4 or more nights a week during term-time need to be included in an individual form for the boarding school irrespective of age.
  • There is no minimum limit to the age at which pupils can submit their own return.  This is for the establishment manager to make an informed judgement on based on their residents.  Children can complete for themselves, the establishment can arrange for their parents/guardians to complete the form, or staff of the establishment can complete it on their behalf. 

International students who have not been able to return this academic year i.e. since September, or have had broken education here in the UK due to COVID are required to complete the census, however some students in China and other countries are reporting they are unable to access the census. How should this be managed to prevent the child breaking the law?

  • International students who are presently residing at the establishment and contracted to stay for 3 months or more, or: who are not currently in the UK but attended in person the Autumn 2020 term, and/or Winter 2021 term, but are still contracted to stay, should be counted.
  • If international students have not been in the UK this academic year, they do not need to complete the Census.

Students not currently in the UK can order a new access code if they have a UK mobile number and we can send them a code by text. If they don’t have a UK mobile number they can contact us for help. Further details are available –

Please contact the BSA team if you require any further information.

Best wishes, The BSA Team
T. +44 (0)207 798 1580