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Find Out Why Govt Stores Data On Pupils

Since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was implemented earlier this summer, all companies and organisations have had to be extra vigilant when it comes to making sure their data storage is in line with the new legislation.

Indeed, if businesses were not involved in secure shredding of their clients’ or customers’ details, they were emailing them for approval to keep the data they already had ahead of the implementation of GDPR on May 25th.

One section of the government that has had to update their rules on data storage is the Department for Education (DfE). Read on how to find out how it manages the information it holds on students.


- Why it holds pupil data

The reason why the Department for Education asks for information regarding school-age students is to inform statistics about the country. For instance, data analysis of the details can help determine school performance tables and adoption scorecards. It can also help the department assess and change educational policy for the future and determine how funding should be distributed to schools.


- Who it shares data with

According to current legislation, the government is allowed to share this data with schools, councils, researchers and other governmental agencies. Occasionally, third parties, such as those that make educational products might also want to learn more about the school population in Britain, in which case they have to request to see this data.


- How DfE keeps data protected

Any third party organisation that wants access to this information must abide by strict security guidelines, including the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.

What’s more, the DfE makes sure those that want pupil information provides a ‘basic disclosure’ certificate that is less than two years old; confirms they abide by the government’s sharing agreements; and has undergone data protection training.

On top of this, the department has a Data Sharing Approval Panel (DSAP), made up of internal and external experts on data law, that decides whether these requests have been met, and the data sharing process remains ethical, legal and, above all, secure.


- Changes in education data sharing

As secure as the Department for Education prided itself in being previously, it will tighten up security from next month.

September 2018 will see the DfE provide access to pupil information for research via the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Secure Research Service. (SRS) This enables organisations to find out about student information through the service’s physical and virtual datalabs.

The government agency claims: “This is a safer way to access data compared with the transfer of data files to individual organisations.”

This is because by conducting data analysis using SRS, you have to declare how and when you will use the details.

Should a business want to utilise the findings outside of the service, the ONS will check whether your actions still comply with data confidentiality.

Of course, any organisation accessing or dealing with data needs to ensure they stick to the GDPR legislation. This affects all countries within the European Union to make sure data privacy rules are consistent between nations. The penalty for not complying with GDPR is a fine of up to four per cent of annual turnover or €20 Million.

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