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Pupils: Personal Records

Question for Department for Education

UIN HL4568, tabled on 11 January 2017

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Education has undertaken to provide personal data of pupils, including their names, addresses, recent addresses, school addresses and attendance records, to the Home Office specifically for immigration enforcement purposes; and, what steps are they taking to ensure that the collection and transfer of such data do not encourage stigmatisation or racial profiling.

Answered on

19 January 2017

The data in the National Pupil Database helps give us a clear picture of how the school system is working. We take privacy extremely seriously and access to sensitive data is strictly controlled. Allowing vetted researchers and academics access to excerpts of this data under strictly controlled conditions, can help the development and improvement of our education system for the benefit of all.

As has always been the case, where the police or Home Office have clear evidence that a child may be at risk or there is evidence of criminal activity, including illegal immigration, limited data including a pupil’s address and school details may be requested from the National Pupil Database. It is right that we share this data if it helps to keep a child safe from harm or to prevent a crime. This does not include nationality and country of birth information recently introduced into school census, which is not placed into the National Pupil Database.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the DfE and the Home Office sets out how this process works and the data which is shared. A copy of the MoU between the Home Office and the DfE, which covers the sharing of limited information between those parties, is available in the house library.