Pupils: Data Protection

Department for Education written question – answered on 9th January 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Labour, East Ham

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the ending in September 2018 of the collection of school children's nationality data, whether families can withdraw consent for uses of nationality data submitted between 2016 and 2018 which is held by his Department at a national level; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

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 better 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 in the UK, regardless of their nationality, have the best possible education.

The requirement for parents and guardians to provide information on their children’s nationality and country of birth was 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.

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