The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) uses information about pupils for research and statistical purposes, 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 the Department holds in order to model and monitor pupils’ educational progression; and to provide comprehensive information back to LAs and learning institutions to support their day to day business. DCSF may also use contact details from these sources to obtain samples for statistical surveys: these surveys may be carried out by research agencies working under contract to the Department and participation in such surveys is usually voluntary. The Department 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.
DCSF 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. The Department’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’.
Pupil information is also used for ContactPoint, which is an online directory available to authorised staff who need it to do their jobs, enabling the delivery of coordinated support for children and young people. It is vital to help safeguard children; and to ensure that the right agencies are involved at the right times so children do not slip through the net.
Information about ContactPoint is available at Gov.UK and the link there to Information for Young People, Parents and Carers gives more information on what data is held.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families is the Data Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act.
Pupils, as data subjects, have certain rights under the Data Protection Act, including a general right of access to personal data held on them, with parents exercising 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 DCSF hold about your child, then please contact
Public Communications Unit
Department for Children, Schools and Families Sanctuary Buildings Great Smith Street London SW1P 3BT
tel: 0870 000 2288.
Who does DCSF pass pupil data to ?
DCSF also passes pupil data to the following third party organisations, as the law allows. A brief description of the purposes the information is used for is set out below, along with a web address if you want to know more about what they do and how to contact them:
The Department of Health (DH) uses aggregate information (at school year group level) about pupils’ height and weight for research and statistical purposes, to inform, influence and improve health policy and to monitor the performance of the health service as a whole. The DH will base performance management discussions with Strategic Health Authorities on aggregate information about pupils attending schools in the PCT areas to help focus local resources and to deliver the Public Service Agreement target to halt the year on year rise in obesity among children under 11 by 2010, in the context of a broader strategy to tackle obesity in the population as a whole. The Department of Health will also provide aggregate PCT level data to the Healthcare Commission for performance assessment of the health service. Gov.UK
Ofsted uses information about the progress and performance of pupils to help inspectors evaluate the work of schools, to assist schools in their self-evaluation, and as part of their assessment of the effectiveness of education initiatives and policy. Ofsted also uses information about the views of children and young people, to inform children’s services inspections in local authority areas. Inspection reports do not identify individual pupils. DCSF will also provide Ofsted with pupil data for use in school inspection. Where relevant, pupil information may also be shared with post16 learning institutions to minimise the administrative burden on application for a course and to aid the preparation of learning plans. Ofsted
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) uses information about pupils for statistical purposes, to evaluate and develop education policy and monitor the performance of the education service as a whole. The statistics (including those based on information provided by the QCA) are used in such a way that individual pupils cannot be identified from them. On occasion information may be shared with other Government departments or agencies strictly for statistical or research purposes only. The LSC or its partners may wish to contact learners from time to time about courses, or learning opportunities relevant to them. Gov.UK
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) uses information about pupils to administer the national curriculum assessments portfolio throughout Key Stages 1 to 3. This includes both assessments required by statute and those that are optional. The results of these are passed on to DCSF to compile statistics on trends and patterns in levels of achievement. The QCA uses the information to evaluate the effectiveness of the national curriculum and the associated assessment arrangements, and to ensure that these are continually improved.
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