The Department collected data on the nationality, country of birth and proficiency in English of pupils via the school census between autumn 2016 and summer 2018. The data was collected for the purposes of educational research to help us understand the impact of migration on the school system. Understanding trends in migration, and the associated needs in the school system, helps us ensure that all children, wherever they are from, have the best possible education.
The requirement for parents or guardians to provide information on their children’s nationality and country of birth was always optional and the school census guidance expected schools to ensure that they were made aware of their right to decline to provide this data. Guidance also advised schools to inform parents that if they wished to retract any nationality or country of birth information returned in a previous census, they should inform their school of this decision. This would then be transferred to the department and the department would remove from its systems any information previously returned. As this data is no longer collected, the last opportunity for parents to retract this information was via the last collection in summer 2018.