New review of school census data releases from the National Pupil Database

Here is our review of the latest releases of pupil data disclosed from the National Pupil Database (NPD) as stated in the Third Party Register. Of the 887 requests and releases of identifiable data that have been through the DfE request process in March 2012 – December 2016, only 29 have been for aggregated data. 334 Tier 1: individual level, identifiable and highly sensitive 368 Tier 2: individual level, identifiable…

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Quarterly round up: children’s pupil data privacy in England Q1 2017

In the first quarter of 2017 there have been a number of policy announcements and pieces of legislation passed that affect children’s data privacy in England. We have continued our work towards safe, fair, and transparent collection and use of national pupil data. School census: Moving pupil data towards safe, fair, and transparent use The UK Digital Strategy announced a committment to changes in National Pupil Data management. That will…

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Growing up with the Internet report: privacy and other child rights

We warmly welcome the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications report published on March 21, 2017, Growing up with the Internet, the 2nd Report of Session 2016–17. In particular we support the main findings in areas of data privacy and child rights and a key conclusion that, “The minimum standards should require that the strictest privacy settings should be ‘on’ by default, geolocation should be switched off until activated,…

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Children’s nationality data from new school census was planned for the Home Office

On the day of the autumn school census collection, October 6th 2016, children’s newly collected nationality data had been intended for giving to the Home Office, a Schools Week FOI and the MOU reveal, contrary to what has been said, before being changed on the 7th. The question remains open: Is the new census data, including nationality, used within the DfE to deliver the named details to the HO with…

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The Digital Economy Bill and the pupil premium

The well-intentioned call from the NAHT for a new clause 82 to amend the Bill to allow local authorities to share welfare recipients’ sensitive, confidential data (from eligible parents) to auto-enroll children entitled to pupil premium (those eligible to receive free school meals) ignores nuanced discussion and decision-making already had on plans which had already been dropped from the open policy making process between 2014-16 in the Bill preparation. The…

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Pupil data used in secret breaches public trust: Home Office purposes confirmed

The Home Office and police has had, until through our Freedom-of-Information requests, publicly undocumented access to national school census data through the Department for Education National Pupil Database. [update: 29 October we now know from the Parliamentary question that for the purposes of immigration control between July 2015 and September 2016, the Home Office has made requests of DfE data on 25 occasions, relating to a total of 2,462 individuals.]…

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The new school census law needs scrapped

Yesterday’s article in the Guardian #BoycottSchoolCensus: why parents are refusing to reveal their child’s nationality raises another important point, that of changing technology and future scope of use: ‘It doesn’t currently have the capacity, though it could perhaps in the future.” The new census law needs scrapped if it cannot be amended Unless all uses and limitations are on a statutory footing, we are calling for the new school census…

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Back-to-School sees new pupil data expansion

School staff in England will start to collect more pupil data this week as children go Back-to-School. Country of birth will be collected for the first time, and be extracted at national level together with nationality for the first time, as well as all the other usual named personal confidential data in the spring census, from on-roll school census day January 19, 2017. This data expansion affects 8 million school…

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A wish list for the Data Strategy and Information Standards Lead

The Department for Education has announced it is recruiting for a Data Strategy and Information Standards Lead ahead of a change programme. “The Data Modernisation Division is at the heart of realising this strategy. It is responsible for a range of exciting development projects which together are seeking to improve the way data and information is moved, stored, processed and released by the Department – to ensure that DfE’s data…

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Three strides towards transparency in the National Pupil Database

Three strides towards greater transparency were taken by the DfE this week, following The Director General for Regulation at the UK Statistics Authority [UKSA] letter to the Department for Education [Dfe], calling for the Department to improve transparency and data handling of the National Pupil Database. [Letter to us dated, April 22, 2016]. Now the question is, how will schools, parents and pupils be told? The UK Statistics Authority had…

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