Personal information charter

Our personal information charter tells you how and why the Department for Education (DfE) uses your personal data and your rights and responsibilities.


We collect personal data about you so we can carry out our functions. This comes either directly from you or from our delivery partners, such as education and childcare providers. You can read our services and information page for information about the different functions within the department, where your data may be held.

You can also read the personal information charter or privacy notice for our executive agencies:

The Standards and Testing Agency follow this personal information charter.

What is personal data?

Personal data is information relating to an individual who:

  • can be identified directly from the information being processed
  • can be indirectly identified from that information and/or in combination with other information

This may also include special categories of personal data such as:

  • racial or ethnic origin
  • political opinions
  • genetic and biometric data
  • criminal conviction and offences data

These may only be processed in limited circumstances.

How to find out what personal information we hold about you

Under the terms of the UK General Data Protection Regulations, you can request a copy of the personal information we hold about you - this is known as a subject access request (SAR). You’re entitled to ask us, or any of our executive agencies:

  • for a copy of your personal data and details of its source
  • if we’re processing your personal data and how long we’ll store it for
  • for a description of the data we hold about you
  • the reasons we’re holding it and anyone we may share it with, for example Ofsted
  • to change the information we hold about you if it’s wrong
  • to exercise your information rights
  • the categories of personal data we’re processing
  • the categories of recipient we may share your data with (including in third countries or international organisations)
  • your right to make a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office or another supervisory authority
  • about automated decision-making (including profiling) and information about the logic involved, as well as the significance and potential consequences of the processing for the individual
  • the processes in place to protect your data if it is transferred to a third country or international organisation

To make a SAR, you should complete our contact us form. Use the ‘question’ option and then select ‘something else’.

Please be as specific as you can about the information you’re asking for. If possible, state which part of the department holds the information and why.

We may need to check your identity and your right to access the information you’re requesting. This means we might ask for a copy of the identification pages of your passport or photo driving licence and proof of your current address.

We’ll try to respond to your request within one month. However, if your request is complex, we may extend the period by a further 2 months, but you’ll be informed if this is the case.

To request personal information held by an education provider, for example a school, you must contact them directly.

Your information rights

Requests from children

Children have the same rights as adults over their data, but we may have to make an assessment of maturity if you are under the age of 13.

Right to erasure

You have the right to request to have personal data erased.

Right to object

You have the right to object to the processing of your data in certain circumstances.

Right to rectification

You have the right to request that incorrect data we hold about you is rectified or completed if it is incomplete.

Right to restrict processing

You have the right to request the restriction or suppression of your personal data.

For more information about any of these, please complete the contact us form.

Handling your personal information

Our staff receive regular training on how to handle personal information confidentially.

We treat the security of your information very seriously and have strict security standards.

When we share personal information

We may get information about you from other people and organisations.

We may also share information we hold about you with other organisations where the law allows it, or if we have a legal obligation to do so, such as:

  • other government departments
  • local authorities
  • education and childcare providers

There may be some circumstances where we’ll need to share information about you without your consent. For example, to prevent or detect a crime, or to comply with our obligations under safeguarding laws. In all cases, we’ll comply with all data handling legislation including the Data Protection Act 2018.

How long we’ll keep your information

We’ll only keep your information for as long as necessary, after which point it will be securely destroyed.

There are circumstances where we may need to keep your information indefinitely for research and statistical purposes. We have measures to safeguard this information.

Data protection laws do not allow personal information to be used or processed unless it is necessary for specific purposes.

The purposes for which we process your data are:

  • if we are required to do so by law
  • it is the function of DfE
  • it is in the public interest

In these cases we do not need your consent.

We may sometimes ask for your consent to do something, but only in cases when you can object to the processing of your data.

There may be some circumstances where we rely on other conditions to process personal or special category information, but we will tell you separately if this happens.

Processing data offshore

The data for most of our systems is processed in the UK. If any data is processed offshore, we ensure that it is as safe as UK processing.

Data Protection Officer

The role of the Data Protection Officer is to make sure we’re compliant with data protection laws.

You can contact the Data Protection Officer at:

Data Protection Officer
Department for Education
The Cube
123 Albion Street

Email –

Contact us

If you need to contact us, complete our contact form using the ‘question’ option and then select ‘something else’.