The Department for Education (DfE) uses information about pupils for research and statistical purposes in order to inform, influence and improve education policy and to monitor the performance of the education service as a whole.
Pupil information may be matched with other data sources that DfE holds in order to model and monitor their educational progression and to provide comprehensive information back to local authorities (LAs) and learning institutions to support their day-to-day business. DfE may also use contact details from these sources to obtain samples for statistical surveys which may be carried out by research agencies working under contract to DfE. Participation in such surveys is usually voluntary. DfE may also match data from these sources to data obtained from statistical surveys.
Pupil data may also be shared with other Government departments and agencies (including the Office for National Statistics) for statistical or research purposes only. In all these cases, the matching will require that individualised data is used in the processing operation but that data will not be processed in such a way that it supports measures or decisions relating to particular individuals or identifies individuals in any results. This data sharing will be approved and controlled by the Department's Chief Statistician.
DfE may also disclose individual pupil information to independent researchers into the educational achievements of pupils who have a legitimate need for it for their research, but each case will be determined on its merits and subject to the approval of the Department's Chief Statistician. DfE's powers to pass data to researchers are derived from The Education (Individual Pupil Information) (Prescribed Persons) (England) Regulations. These regulations restrict the researchers who may receive data to 'persons conducting research into the educational achievements of pupils and who require individual pupil information for that purpose'.
DfE is the Data Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act. Further information is available about the third party organisations to which DfE also passes pupil data, as the law allows.
Pupils, as data subjects, have certain rights under the Data Protection Act, including a general right of access to personal data held on them. Their parents exercise this right on their behalf if they are too young (under 12) to do so themselves. If you wish to access the personal data which DfE holds about your child, then please contact the Department:
Public Communications Unit, Department for Education, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BT
Telephone: 0870 000 2288