Take action today to help build a rights respecting environment in education.



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Find out what is stored at the Department for Education about you or a child for whom you have responsibility.

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What can you do?

The Department for Education gives away millions of children's identifying school records to companies without families' permission. That's wrong. We want that to stop.

The National Pupil Database and national Learner Records are *your* personal details and history collected across your Early Years and school life from age 2-18. Or perhaps they may be your children's or grandchildren's data. It's 21 million names and home address. Exam results. Mental health, autism, disability, and learning difficulties. Child offender and teenage pregnancy. Military services family. Named records now even reveal students' religion and sexual orientation from equality monitoring.

Since 2012 the Department for Education has handed out identifying and sensitive, personal confidential data to journalists, businesses, charities, think tanks, academics and other third parties. Millions of records have been given away, over 2,500 times, to hundreds of people or organisations. You aren't told to whom and it's without your permission.

In the information age insecure data threatens our identity for banking and commerce. Risks from data misuse include fraud, blackmail and harm to children in need of child protection. Who knows what about you?

Email your MP and tell them what matters to you. Ask them to stand up for children and family rights and stop the commercial exploitation of children's education data. It's time to ask us for consent. Find out more here in our factsheet.


How our school records are used must be made safe. You should have control over how they are used. Tell your friends and famliy, people you work with, tell your local press, and tell your MP. Iif you’re not sure who that is, you can find out here. Here are 5 things that must change.

  1. Data should be used only in secure settings, distributing access, not the data itself.
  2. The DfE must tell families of the 9 million children in school today, where their children’s records have gone, and are going, to which third parties, how long they will have it for, and why.
  3. The DfE must also tell adults who have left school since 2012 in the data.
  4. An opt-in choice must ensure families' right to choose in future if their child’s record is used for anything beyond their own education and how. The right to object must be honoured and start with opt-in to ensure privacy by-design-and-default.
  5. The Department must stop new expansions without public consultation (such as adding sexual orientation and religion collected from equality monitoring in student UCAS applications, to named national records).

You can also contribute to our legal fund at CrowdJustice to help us hold the government to account.


Thank you for your support.

Ask your MP to support the campaign to make pupil data safe

Writing to your MP takes no more than a few minutes of your time, but can have a real impact. You can tell them why the issues matter to you, and why you want them to take action on your behalf. You can use this draft text but please edit the words to be your own because the Parliamentary email service will block identical copied-and-pasted messages.

Follow these 5 simple steps:


Click below to copy the text.


Find your local MP by typing in your home postcode at WriteToThem.com


Select your local MP and click on their name. You will be asked to add your personal address and postcode so that the MP knows they are being contacted by one of their own constituents.


Fill in the fields and make it personal. Are you a parent, a teacher, or a learner? Why does this matter to you?


Send the e-mail to your MP.

Tell your friends:

“The exam process 2020 has shown how algorithms can affect young people for the rest of their lives. Take action. Ask your MP to help build a better, safer and fairer digital environment in education.
https://defenddigitalme.org/my-records-my-rights/ #MyRecordsMyRights”

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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 can email requests to the Department for Education via their contact form.

Although the form they suggest you use, doesn’t offer the option of “subject access request” you should choose, “question” and “something else”.

We believe this should be improved, with a clear and simple access route and there must be alternative to online. But for now, you need to use the contact form method. We give you text below to help make the request.

1. Details of the Data Subject (who the data request is about)

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Date Of Birth

2. Describe your relationship with the Data Subject that leads you to make this request for information on their behalf if appropriate. (i.e. Parent / Guardian)

3. Please give details of the information you require to see. These may include for example but not only:

  • a copy of all personal data held
  • a copy of all data associated with the relevant Unique Pupil Number(s) or other learner numbers
  • the details of its source
  • the reasons why the organisation is holding it
  • who the organisation has disclosed it to in the past
  • to know if the information has been used in any automated decision making.

Suggested text:

[Your full address]

[Phone number]

[The date]

Dear Department for Education,

Subject access request

I am making a subject access request, under the Data Protection Act 2018 for myself / a child for whom I have parental responsibility. [select the correct one]

[Insert your full name or child’s name and address and address of the school attended and which year(s). And if known, you can provide the school codes such as the URN: 123456, DfE number: 123/4567 or UKPRN: 12345678 or check them here]

Please supply the data about me that I am entitled to under data protection law: [give details of the information you want, for example]:

  • as collected through school censuses held in the National Pupil Database
  • held by DfE in other databases, such nationality and country of birth collected since 2016
  • the details of its source
  • the reasons why the organisation is holding it
  • who the DfE has disclosed it to in the past
  • to know if the information has been used in any profiling or automated decision making.

If you need any more information from me to help you process this request, please let me know as soon as possible. Please respond according to data protection law, within one calendar month.

If you do not normally deal with these requests, please pass this letter to your DataProtection Officer, or relevant staff member. If you need advice on dealing with this request, the Information Commissioner’s Office can assist you. Its website is ico.org.uk or it can be contacted on 0303 123 1113.

Thank you.

Full Name

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.


Read our FAQ