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Privacy Notice for Data in the National Pupil Database

In order to carry out academic research, the University processes the personal data of pupils attending schools in England whose data is routinely collected by the UK government Department for Education and held within the National Pupil Database (NPD). Durham University’s General Privacy Notice applies this provides privacy information specific to the processing of the data in the National Pupil Database.

Type(s) of personal data collected and held by the University and method of collection

We hold de-identified data for relating to:

  • individuals’ sex
  • ethnicity
  • free school meal status
  • home postcode
  • academic attainment at key stages 4 (GCSE)
  • 5 (A-level and equivalent)

This information is collected by the UK government Department for Education as held as part of the National Pupil Database.

Lawful basis

Our reason for processing this data is that it is necessary to carry out a public task (Article 6(1)(e) GDPR)

Special category data

Some of the data is special category data e.g. data related to ethnicity. We process this data as it is necessary for scientific research purposes in line with one of the official functions of the university to conduct research.

(Article 9(2)(j) GDPR)

How personal data is stored

The data is stored and accessed via the Office for National Statistics Secure Research Service. Access to the data is via remote connectivity and is limited to named members of the research team at Durham University as per the data license agreement with the data owners, the UK government Department for Education.

How personal data is processed

The data is being used for the purposes of academic research in connect with an ESRC-funded research project (ES/N01166X/1) entitled “Evaluating the use of contextual data in undergraduate admissions”. As part of the project, the data will be exploring the statistical relationships between indicators of socioeconomic disadvantaged measured at the level of the individual, the school the individual attends, and the geographic area in which the individual lives.

Who the University shares personal data with

The data will not be shared with third parties, in accordance with Durham University’s data license agreement with the data owners, the UK government Department for Education.

How long personal data is held by the University

The data will be held by the University for a period of two years

Changes to this privacy notice

We regularly review our privacy information to ensure that it remains accurate and current. We will review and update this privacy information whenever we plan to use personal data for any new purpose.

Further information

If you have any questions which you feel have not been covered by this Privacy Notice, please contact the Information Governance Unit: