Early Years Settings, Local Authorities (LAs), the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DfE) (the government department which deals with education and children's services), the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), Her Majesty's Chief Inspector for Schools and the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), and the National Assessment Agency (NAA) all process information on children and pupils in order to help administer education and children's services and in doing so have to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998. This means, among other things, that the data held about children must only be used for specific purposes allowed by law.
The Early Years Setting holds information on children in order to support their development, monitor their progress, provide appropriate pastoral care, and assess how well the setting as a whole is doing. This information includes contact details, attendance information, and characteristics such as ethnic group, Special Educational Needs and any relevant medical information. From time to time Early Years Settings are required to pass on some of this data to LAs, the DfE and to agencies that are prescribed by law such as QCA and Ofsted. In particular, at age five an assessment is made of all children (the Foundation Stage Profile) and this information is passed to the Local Authority and receiving maintained school.
The Sure Start Children's Centre you attend is the Data Controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998. It collects information from you, and may receive information about you from any previous centre you may have used. The centre holds this personal data and uses it to:
- Support your family's development and learning
- Monitor and report on progress
- Provide appropriate family support
- Assess how well your centre is doing
This information includes you and your family's contact details, attendance, characteristics such as ethnic group, Special Educational Needs, your family circumstances and any relevant medical information.
They will not give information about you to anyone outside the centre without your consent unless the law and their rules permit it.
Any information collected will be treated as confidential. In order to request the right services for you and to support your family, the centre may share your information with the Children, Families and Learning Service or with other secure partner agencies.
If you want to see a copy of the information your children's centre holds and shares about you, please contact the centre manager.
The local authority (LA) uses information about children for whom it provides services to carry out specific functions for which it is responsible. For example, the local authority will make an assessment of any Special Educational Needs the child may have. It also uses the information to produce statistics to inform various decisions. The statistics are used in such a way that individual children cannot be identified from them.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) uses information about children to administer national assessments such as the Foundation Stage Profile. Any results passed on to the DfE are used to compile statistics on trends and patterns in levels of development. The QCA can use the associated assessment arrangements, and to ensure that these are continually improved.
Her Majesty's Chief Inspector for Schools and Ofsted use information about the progress and performance of children to help inspectors evaluate the work of Early Years Settings, to assist them in their self-evaluation, and as part of Ofsted's assessment of the effectiveness of education initiatives and policy. Inspection reports do not identify individual children.
The National Assessment Agency (NAA) uses information for those, relatively few, settings undertaking Foundation Stage Profile. The resulting data is passed on to the NAA, which also uses information in working with schools, the QCA, and Awarding Bodies to ensure an efficient and effective assessment system covering all age ranges is delivered nationally.
The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DfE) use information about children and pupils for research and statistical purposes, to allocate funds, to inform, influence and improve education policy, and to monitor the performance of education and children's services as a whole. The DfE will feed information back to LAs about children for a variety of purposes which will include data checking exercises, and use in self-evaluation analyses.
Information about children may be held to provide comprehensive information back to LAs to support their day-to-day business. The DfE may also use contact details from these sources to obtain samples for statistical surveys. These surveys may be carried out by research agencies working under contract to the Department and participation in such surveys is usually voluntary. The Department may also match data from these sources to data obtained from statistical surveys.
The DfE may disclose individual child and pupil information to independent researchers into the educational achievements of pupils who have a legitimate need for it for their research, but each case will be determined on its merits and be subject to the approval of the Department's chief statistician.
Children, as Data Subjects, have certain rights under the Data Protection Act 1998, including a right to access any personal data held on them. Parents can exercise this right on their behalf if they are too young to do so themselves. If you wish to access the personal data held about your child, please contact the relevant organisation in writing:
- Local authority: Data Protection Officer, Legal & Democratic Services, Town Hall, PO BOX 503, Middlesbrough, TS1 9FX
- The Early Years Setting / Service provider: address to the centre you attend
- QCA's Data Protection Officer: QCA, 83 Piccadilly, London, W1J 8QA
- Ofsted's Data Protection Officer: Alexandra House, 33 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6SE
- NAA Data Protection Officer: NAA, 29 Bolton Street, London, W1J 8BT
- DfE's Data Protection Officer: DfE, Caxton House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NA.