How the census can help students understand the importance of community

Darren Sayer

Darren Sayer is an Associate Assistant Headteacher at Hanson Academy in Bradford and was involved in the creation of the resources for the Census Secondary School Programme.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Darren Sayer, Associate Assistant Headteacher at Hanson Academy in Bradford, explains how the census offers a significant learning opportunity for students in England and Wales this year. By understanding the census, students can recognise and appreciate the importance of their local community, and how each individual story is part of a bigger picture. Darren explores some of the challenges their school has faced in light of the pandemic and the switch to remote learning and highlights the effectiveness of using relevant examples with young people, such as Census 2021.

As a school leader, I understand the importance of the census, as it affects future funding for our school and our local community. This is something my students didn’t recognise. By introducing my students to the Census Secondary School Programme, I was able to show students their connection to our community, and how they can help shape public policy by setting up their own campaigns to get their families and community involved. The free census resources and competition, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), are linked to the PSHE, maths, geography and history curriculum, and are available through the programme website, These resources are easy to use and are a great tool for teachers to engage students in real-world thinking, and to help get their voices heard as part of Census 2021.

Using data to show real-world stories

Not only is the census hugely important in deciding key community priorities, but it also shows the impact and importance of data on our lives through real-world stories. I’m always looking for fresh ways to make data and analysis interesting and using up-to-date ONS information really helps me articulate what impacts my students on an individual level. The census offers a great opportunity to bring this topical, national moment into the classroom and to make students feel a part of it by discussing what is important to them. The resources focus on big, relatable topics such as population, transport, housing as well as education. The more students can get an awareness of what the census means to them, the more they can understand how it will directly impact both their own and their community’s future.

Remote learning resources

Like many schools, we have a blended learning approach. Already I’ve seen students appreciating being back in school as it’s not just about learning for them, this is also where they can go, feel safe and get into a healthy routine. As more students return to the school, we are continuing to offer our blended learning approach with our remote learning platform. The resources offered by the Census Secondary Education Programme are a great example of what I look for to engage my students. By offering worksheets for students to do in their own time and presentations that I can deliver in class and remotely, the resources give a well-rounded approach to teaching that means I can get students in class and students at home working together virtually and making sure that everything is all joined up.

Linking to the local community

My role as a teacher in Bradford is very much linked to the local area. Bradford has a high local population and our school is the base that allows young people to feel connected to their community. It is vital that students learn about both what their community can do for them, and what they can do for it. Since the pandemic, our school has become more important than ever to our community. We’ve worked really hard to build links with vulnerable members of our community who are isolating, we even provided them with food parcels before Christmas. Our school has also received media attention for our work in developing technology resources about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). While my students might be aware of this work and how much it has done to support them, getting them to understand the value of community support is a different story.

The It’s Our Story competition gives young people the chance to appreciate the place where they live, as they are asked to create a campaign to encourage community members to complete the census. By asking students to explore the impact of the census on their community, it allows them to focus on the positives of the big and multicultural community we have here in Bradford. As a teacher, I always try to point them towards the positive aspects of their community and recognise the importance of their school as an integral part of this community. The challenges the pandemic has brought has made students more appreciative of their local area and the facilities it offers, and Census 2021 offers a simple and important way to ensure their community gets the support it deserves.

 Looking for more resources to support your teaching and learning? Check out the best education technology resources on our sister platform EdTech Impact.

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"