Pupil and children's data

Access to pupil records

There are two ways of accessing pupil information:

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, you have the right to ask an organisation for copies of your personal information, verbally or in writing by submitting a subject access request (SAR). You can also request copies of your child's personal data either where you have parental responsibility (PR) or with your child's consent, depending on their age. The statutory deadline for a response is one month, which can be extended by a further two months if a request is complex.

Under the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005, those with parental responsibility have the right to view a pupil's education record. An education record includes your child's academic achievements, their skills and abilities, progress at school and their pupil reports, along with communications by headteachers and other teachers, local education authority employees and others providing relevant services.

To make a request under the regulations those with PR should apply to the school. The school must comply with a written request within 15 school days. This does not include school holidays. In England, this right applies to all local authority schools, and all special schools, including those which are not maintained by a local authority. Independent schools, academies and free schools are not obliged to respond to a request for access to a pupil's education record under this legislation.

There are certain circumstances where an education record may be withheld; for example, where the information might cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the pupil or another individual. The request for access would also be denied if it would mean releasing examination marks before they are officially announced.

There is further information on accessing pupil's information on the Information Commissioner's website.

How does my child's school use pupil's data?

Please see the school's own privacy notice which will be available on their website or ask them for a copy. This will explain what data they hold about their pupils, where they collect this from, why they need this, how they use it and who they share it with.

How does Surrey County Council use pupil's data?

We use personal data to inform and help us carry out our statutory duties and deliver the range of services and functions we are responsible for, for example, assessing any special educational needs a child may have. We use statistics to also help inform our decisions, assess school performance and set targets. We share pupils' data with other organisations where we have a legal requirement or statutory basis to do so, or another legal basis including consent. See below for information on some of the ways schools and the Council share data. Please also see the Council's privacy notices for more information on how we use personal data.

Department for Education (DfE): The DfE collects personal data from educational settings and local authorities via various statutory data collections. All data is transferred securely and held by DfE under a combination of software and hardware controls which meet the current government security policy framework.

To find out more about the data collection requirements placed on us by the DfE (for example; via the school census), visit the data collection and censuses for schools section of the Department for Education website.

The National Pupil Database (NPD): The NPD is owned and managed by the DfE and contains information about children in England. It provides invaluable information on the background and circumstances on a child's journey and evidence on educational performance to inform independent research, as well as studies commissioned by the Department. It is held in electronic format for statistical purposes. This information is securely collected from a range of sources including schools, local authorities and awarding bodies.

We are required by law, to provide information about our children to the DfE as part of statutory data collections. Some of this information is then stored in the national pupil database (NPD). The law that allows this is the Education (Information about Individual Pupils) (England) Regulations 2013. Find out more about the NPD on GOV.UK.

Youth support services: once someone is 13 or older, by law we have to pass some information, including your address, date of birth and any other relevant information, to providers of youth support services in your area. Until your child is 16, you can ask that no information other than your name, address and date of birth (and their name and address) be passed to the youth services. This right transfers to your child when he or she turns16. However, you will need to inform your school if this is what you or your child would like to happen.

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