News / National Pupil Database

The Queen’s speech

Government did not take the opportunity to be forward thinking and lead on children’s digital rights, in plans set out in the Queen’s Speech this week.

There are the topics of the National Infrastructure Strategy that include digital, and the Online Harms Bill which is expected by many to adversely affect children’s participation and privacy online. There are mentions of additional measures, including a media literacy strategy which we will look forward to seeing, but there is no evidence of a vision in government for children’s participatory role in society, or the importance of digital infrastructure and experience in their everyday lives.

That the government “will ensure that all young people will have access to an excellent education” is something of a filler, and the promises of funding do not sound or look like new money.

The only direct mentions of young people and data, are as victims or perpetrators of violence, in conjunction with the Serious Violence Bill. At least to the extent set out today, the scope is little new, since such duties are already very much within the remit of the mentioned agencies and sectors.

We will continue to advocate for other opportunities for pupil privacy legislation, to protect and promote the future of every child in the UK.

The Serious Violence Bill

“A new duty will be placed on public sector bodies, ensuring they work together to address serious violence. The Bill’s provisions would extend and apply to England and Wales.”

Quoting from the published briefing, “the purpose of the Bill is to:

  • Create a new duty on a range of specified agencies across different sectors, such as local government, education, social services, youth offending, and health and probation, to work collaboratively, share data and information, and put in place plans to prevent serious violence.
  • Amend the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to ensure that serious violence is an explicit priority for Community Safety Partnerships, which include local police, fire and probation services, as well as local authorities and wider public services.