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Schools across England and Wales encouraged to get involved in Census 2021

The Office for National Statistics is launching brand new educational resources to teach pupils all about the census and its importance in our national life.

The ONS set up a census secondary school programme back in September to support Census 2021. The programme, developed by EVERFI EdComs, aims to teach pupils about the importance of the census and how data can benefit their local areas through engaging, cross-curricular activities.

More than 500 secondary schools across England and Wales have already registered for the free programme and registration is still open for this unique opportunity.

Iain Bell, ONS deputy national statistician, said: “We want to engage pupils in schools across England Wales in the census and by doing so make Census 2021 a huge success. Our school programmes offer a great opportunity for students to learn about the importance of the census. They help students learn more about maths and their own local area, and they will also raise awareness of the census, which informs many important issues like the number of school places or hospital beds. If your school hasn’t yet signed up, I’d urge you to get involved.”

Michelle Gigi, KS3-KS5 Maths teacher at Queens’ School in Bushey, Hertfordshire, added: “I think it’s a brilliant idea to get students more involved in these types of activities, relating school-based lessons to real life scenarios.”
A brand-new set of resources have now been launched for the programme, including in-depth lessons specific to curriculum topics like maths, geography and history.

Students will have the opportunity to explore patterns of change in their communities and identify geographical and historical themes that may have caused this. Students will be asked to interview a family or community member to find a story they want to tell and create a group display or installation to discover how their individual story is part of a bigger picture.

The new interactive maths lesson available will also give students the chance to solve a range of graphical data problems and reflect on the importance of data in real-world decision-making. The maths lesson will use the fictional island ‘Statistopia’ to bring the census to life and support students’ problem-solving skills.

The secondary school programme has been co-created with teachers and students alike across England and Wales. The programme aims to engage young people, empowering them to use their voices to encourage their families and community to complete the census. They will explore what matters to their communities and the importance of census data in making national and local decisions.

Darren Sayer, Business studies teacher at Hanson Schools in Bradford, West Yorkshire, said: “I think this is a very worthwhile topic and the resources would form a very valuable insight into why [census] information is so important.”

Nick Fuller, President of EVERFI EdComs, added: “It’s great to see such a positive response from schools at such an early stage in this programme and EVERFI EdComs are delighted to bring our expertise in engaging secondary school audiences to the campaign team. We want to ensure young people and their families understand what Census 2021 means for them and complete the first predominantly online census across England and Wales.”

The ONS has also launched a primary school programme, Let’s Count!, that aims to excite pupils and families about the census. With more than 3,000 secondary schools already registered, the free programme offers engaging activities and flexible resources, including 14 lesson plans.

The Let’s Count! programme will also include a special live steam lesson on equality and representation, delivered by British historian, Professor David Olusoga OBE.

It is hoped the school campaigns will help raise awareness of the digital-first census, happening in England and Wales on 21 March 2021. The census occurs once every ten years and provides a snapshot of households, helping to plan and fund public services.

Schools can sign up for the programme by visiting census.gov.uk/education