My Record My Rights
Find out what is stored at the Department for Education about you or a child for whom you have responsibility
Ethnicity, nationality, reasons for exclusions and special educational needs, and much much more.
If you or your child has been state educated in England since 2002, you have the right to ask the Department for Education (DfE) for all the information they hold in your named records. You can make a “Subject Access request.” It's a free process to help you protect your rights under data protection law. As well as giving you a copy of the data they hold, the Department should also be able to tell you who they have given it to, possibly over 1,300 times.
You'll need to ask online, and only when asked to do so, provide some proof of identity and relationship to any child on whose behalf you are making the request.
How to make a Subject Access Request to the Department
You have the right to get a copy of the information that is held about you. This is known as a subject access request.
This right of subject access means that you can make a request under the Data Protection Act to any organisation processing your personal data. The Act calls these organisations ‘data controllers’.
You can ask the organisation you think is holding, using or sharing the personal information you want, to supply you with copies of both paper and computer records and related information.
There are some ‘exemptions’ within the Act which may allow an organisation to refuse to comply with your subject access request in certain circumstances. Consider carefully what you are asking to see. Remember that these data may be sensitive such as indicators of [your or] your child’s history of in-care, adoption, or parents’ service personnel status.
Information about children may be released to a person with parental responsibility. However, the best interests of the child will always be considered.
Even if a child is very young, data about them is still their personal data and does not belong to anyone else. It is the child who has a right of access to the information held about them.
Before responding to a request for information held about a child, organisations should consider whether the child is mature enough to understand their rights. If the organisation is confident that the child can understand their rights, then it will respond to the child rather than the parent. What matters is that the child is able to understand (in broad terms) what it means to make a subject access request and how to interpret the information they receive as a result of doing so.
Yes if you have carer or custodial rights for a child, for example. The Data Protection Act does not stop you making a request on someone else’s behalf.
In these cases, the organisation will need to satisfy itself that the third party making the request has the individual’s permission to act on their behalf. It is the third party’s responsibility to provide this evidence, which could be a written authority to make the request, or a power of attorney.
If a person does not have the mental capacity to manage their own affairs and you are their attorney, for example you have a Lasting Power of Attorney with authority to manage their property and affairs, you will have the right to access information about the person you represent to help you carry out your role. The same applies to a person appointed to make decisions about such matters:
In England and Wales, by the Court of Protection. In Scotland, by the Sheriff Court; and in Northern Ireland, by the High Court (Office of Care and Protection).
To make a subject access request, you may wish to use our suggested template by copying and pasting the text from the bottom of this page, into an email. This is NOT an official DfE request form, but has been drafted by us at defenddigitalme because the Department for Education do not offer one. As published on the DfE website, you can email requests to them via: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also want to ask third parties what they hold, when they hold a copy of the National Pupil Database, such as the Fischer Family Trust for example. c/o Data Protection Team, Education Ltd, 1st Floor 79, Eastgate, Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan CF71 7AA.
However do not send any copies of identity documents and AFTER the NPD request team has confirmed that they will process your request. To date, they have refused requests from parents. We believe they should comply with Subject Access Rights under the Data Protection Act 1998.
Keep copies and proof of receipt.
It is best to send your request by email, and you should keep a copy of the request and all other correspondence. This will be important as evidence if you need to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office that the organisation has not given you the information you think you are entitled to.
Why make a Subject Access Request?
Because we should know, who knows what about me, and how it is used. And be able to find and fix any errors. These data are currently kept forever, and given away. Mistakes can get copied and shared, and used to make decisions by schools, companies, or other government departments.
It’s difficult to imagine just how much information is collected about children in schools. Or how that information is used, stored, and shared with others.
Every school day — and throughout our lives, from starting nursery to finishing secondary school — a huge amount of data is collected. Most without our knowledge or consent. And it’s been given away widely to third parties since 2012.
You can find out what’s in your records and fix the mistakes. It’s simple and should be quick. The Department should respond in under 40 days.
Discover your past. Protect your future. Find out what they hold and where it has gone.
Make a Subject Access Request to the DfE today. Tell your friends and family.