Did you know the Department for Education is collecting every child in England’s country of birth and nationality in a national pupil database from autumn 2016?

If you have children in school, or are in school under 19, this will affect you. See our latest summary here. Then have a think about what you want to do about it.

Have you or your children been a pupil or student aged 2-19, since 1994?

Then your personal, identifiable and sensitive data might be among the nearly 20 million pupil records [1] taken from schools in England since 2000 [2], stored and given out by the Department for Education since 2012 to third parties, including commercial organisations like data management consultancies, think tanks, and “one-man shows” as well as charities, Fleet Street and television journalists.

defenddigitalme is campaigning to make pupil data safe.

We believe children and parents should be informed, and have control over their own personal data, and if they are stored and used in the National Pupil Database.

The National Pupil Database is “one of the richest education datasets in the world” using records from every child in state education, and some independent schools.

Our research shows that schools, children and parents don’t know this database exists. Schools are not told about the onward distribution of personal data to third parties from the National Pupil Database. This must change.

The Department for Education must:

  • Make pupil data safe
  • Stop giving out identifiable data to commercial third parties and press without consent
  • Start telling pupils and parents what it does with their identifiable data
  • Be transparent about policy and practice

The Department of Education must hold and handle the data it has taken from citizens in ways people could reasonably expect, transparently, and with respect.

defenddigitalme is a non-profit run by volunteer parents, with support from legal, privacy, and data protection experts. We welcome new supporters, just contact us here.

For a longer introduction to the National Pupil Database, listen to the sound cloud of a presentation given by Phil Booth and Terri Dowty in 2012.


[1] updated on Feb 8th 2016 in response to a Freedom of Information request. The total number of Unique Pupil Numbers (UPNs) in the NPD as at 28/12/2015 was 19,807,973. This covers pupil records since 2000. We had previously been told 8-9 million.

[2] Higher Education data held in HESA databases dates from as far back as 1994.