Schools: Census

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th March 2017.

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Photo of Lord Scriven Lord Scriven Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Nash on 4 November 2016 and 6 January 2017 (HL2515 and HL4240), why schools were not informed by the Department for Education of parents’ right to retract data submitted in the autumn school census in October 2016, until 19 January; and whether this right to retract the optional data already returned will be withdrawn, and if so, when.

Photo of Lord Nash Lord Nash The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

Whilst the requirement for parents to provide information on their children’s nationality and country of birth is optional, we recognise that there was disparity in how the request for this information was communicated by schools during the autumn school census collection. In view of this, the Department has committed to delete this information from its systems, where parents have since refused to provide it. This offer will continue to remain open to parents and will be reviewed in December 2017.

Following completion of the autumn census at the end of November 2016, the Department worked with sector representatives to review, and update, our data collection guidance to provide additional clarity on the collection of personal data from parents / guardians or pupils. Schools were informed via a data collection bulletin on 14 December that the updated guidance would address, amongst other points, parents’ rights to refuse or retract data and the updated guidance would be available in January. Following publication of the updated guidance on GOV.UK, the Department wrote to all head teachers on 10 January to highlight the updated guidance and, in particular, that parents can decide to retract nationality and country of birth information previously provided.

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