Data protection: how we share pupil and workforce data

How and when we share the pupil, child and workforce data we collect for research and statistical purposes.

Data we collect

The Department for Education has legal powers to collect the pupil, child and workforce data that schools, local authorities and awarding bodies hold.

For more information on the legislation which allows this, see:

This data forms a significant part of our evidence base. We use it:

We hold pupil-level data in the national pupil database.

When we share data

Pupil data

The law allows us to share pupils’ personal data with certain third parties, including:

  • schools
  • local authorities
  • researchers
  • companies who are producing products connected with promoting the education or wellbeing of children in England
  • other government departments and agencies

See the Education (Individual Pupil Information) (Prescribed Persons) (England) Regulations 2009 SI 2009/1563.

We can share pupil-level information we’ve collected from:

  • regular data returns from schools and local authorities
  • the national pupil database (NPD)

Before we grant access to individuals requesting data from the NPD, they must comply with the terms and conditions imposed under contractual arrangements, as well as a rigorous request approval process.

See requests for NPD data made by third parties since April 2012.

See guidance on applying for data from the NPD.

We may also share selected individual pupil data with the Office for National Statistics for the development of population and migration statistics.

We may decide to share pupil and children’s information with third parties on a case-by-case basis where:

  • we’re satisfied that to do so would be in accordance with the law and the Data Protection Act (1998)
  • we consider that the disclosure would promote the education or wellbeing of children

See guidance to schools and local authorities on the legal requirement to provide privacy notices to staff, parents and pupils to explain how their personal data will be collected and used.

Workforce data

The Education (Supply of Information about the School Workforce)(No.2)(England) Regulations 2007 allows us to share workforce data with the following third parties:

Longitudinal education outcomes study

The privacy notice for the ‘Longitudinal education outcomes study’ explains how the government handles and shares NPD data as part of the study. The study compares students’ level of education to their level of employment and earnings in later life.