Pupil data: national pupil database distribution by school type and country location

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Education,
As a snapshot of data on the date of December 28th 2015 you previously confirmed the total number of unique individuals' data stored in the NPD was 19,807,973, covering pupil records since 2000. I would like to ask for the numbers to understand this at a lower level by type of education and geographically, and whether devolution has had any impact on this or not, given the history of separate education systems.

Please use the most recent numbers following the Spring census, i.e. as on June 1st, 2016 and show the numbers as a snapshot of the most recent record status (i.e. the same child, with the same UPN may have multiple school types and location in course of their school life - please provide only as of June 1st 2016, and where this includes those who have left school use the top level most recent record stands on June 1st 2016):

1. Provide the total number of Unique Pupil Numbers (UPNs) as allocated by type of school and/or institution. I would like to understand this split:

1a) As total number, showing high level state and non-state (Independent) education sectors

1b) Please also provide these also as sub-totals, by type, using the NPD allocated labels i.e. Free School, Academy, Faith Schools (as labelled in the system and/or used at the DfE using commonly understood descriptors ( i.e. https://www.gov.uk/types-of-school/overv...)

2. Please provide the total number of unique individuals' data stored in the NPD (UPNs) and a breakdown of this total by sub-totals for country/region

2a) i.e. England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales.

2b) Please can you confirm the subtotals between the numbers of children in country both i) by school location and ii) by child's (first) home adddress. (For example, if children live in Wales but go to an English school, or near borders in Ireland, for example the numbers will be different.)

3. Please provide this breakdown also for ONLY those in the current cohort. Exclude anyone on older than 19 on June 1st 2016, or use the date most appropriate for the data to show only the current cohort 'active / in education' on June 1st, 2016.

Overall: Please provide the subtotals as both highest level, and split out and cross referenced, As an example this would mean for all UPNs in England, as on June 1st 2016: Total UPNs in England, Subtotal UPNs in State school in England, Subtotal UPNs in Independent school in England, and then a breakdown by school type. Subtotal UPNs in England as identified by school address, Subtotal UPNs in England identified by (first) home address. Separate totals/subtotals as above for current cohort only.

My prefered format is excel.

I would be grateful if you are able to provide these as soon as possible and within the maximum 20 days permitted under the FOI act (ref: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...).

I appreciate your time and effort. Thank you for your support.

Yours sincerely,
Jen Persson

Department for Education

Dear Ms Persson,

Ref: 2016-0029680

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 14/06/2016. The request has been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the Act”).

You asked the following questions about a previous FOI response (2015-0057632):

"As a snapshot of data on the date of December 28th 2015 you previously confirmed the total number of unique individuals' data stored in the NPD was 19,807,973, covering pupil records since 2000. I would like to ask for the numbers to understand this at a lower level by type of education and geographically, and whether devolution has had any impact on this or not, given the history of separate education systems.

Please use the most recent numbers following the Spring census, i.e. as on June 1st, 2016 and show the numbers as a snapshot of the most recent record status (i.e. the same child, with the same UPN may have multiple school types and location in course of their school life - please provide only as of June 1st 2016, and where this includes those who have left school use the top level most recent record stands on June 1st 2016):

1. Provide the total number of Unique Pupil Numbers (UPNs) as allocated by type of school and/or institution. I would like to understand this split:

1a) As total number, showing high level state and non-state (Independent) education sectors

1b) Please also provide these also as sub-totals, by type, using the NPD allocated labels i.e. Free School, Academy, Faith Schools (as labelled in the system and/or used at the DfE using commonly understood descriptors ( i.e. https://www.gov.uk/types-of-school/overv...)

2. Please provide the total number of unique individuals' data stored in the NPD (UPNs) and a breakdown of this total by sub-totals for country/region

2a) i.e. England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales.

2b) Please can you confirm the subtotals between the numbers of children in country both i) by school location and ii) by child's (first) home address. (For example, if children live in Wales but go to an English school, or near borders in Ireland, for example the numbers will be different.)

3. Please provide this breakdown also for ONLY those in the current cohort. Exclude anyone on older than 19 on June 1st 2016, or use the date most appropriate for the data to show only the current cohort 'active / in education' on June 1st, 2016.

Overall: Please provide the subtotals as both highest level, and split out and cross referenced, As an example this would mean for all UPNs in England, as on June 1st 2016: Total UPNs in England, Subtotal UPNs in State school in England, Subtotal UPNs in Independent school in England, and then a breakdown by school type. Subtotal UPNs in England as identified by school address, Subtotal UPNs in England identified by (first) home address. Separate totals/subtotals as above for current cohort only."

The Department holds some of the information you have requested. However, the Department estimates that the cost of complying with your request would exceed the cost threshold applicable to central Government of £600.
Under section 12 of the Act the Department is therefore not obliged to comply with your request and will not be processing it further. However, if you would consider making a new refined request, or limit the scope, the Department may be able to comply with your request within the cost limit, although I cannot guarantee that this will indeed be the case.

It may help if I outline some ways in which you could narrow your request. You could possibly do this by limiting your request to either school location or home address rather than both and reducing the number of breakdowns. In addition, we would require some clarification of

1. What is meant by "highest level”, “split out” and “cross referenced"? A draft data structure might be useful.
2. Type of school – do you want this linked to the relevant Academic Year or the latest information held for the relevant school?

Please note that data in the NPD relates only to pupils and students attending institutions in England and that we do not hold home address information for pupils attending independent schools as these institutions do not submit pupil level School Census returns to the Department. Also, historical school type information may be unavailable.

If you wish to complain about the handling of this FOI request, you should make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Johnson

Department for Education

show quoted sections

Dear Department for Education,
Thank you for the reply.

as you state the request is too large to fulfil, please can you clarify therefore only for the "non-state" / private schools sector - please clarify broken down separately within that sector for 1. Early Years, 2. Other primary up to 13 and 3. 13+ . For each of those three age breakdowns in the private sector:

a) the National Pupil Database contains personal data from pupils.
b) the number of UPNs from pupils pre-autumn 2016 census (September 1, 2016)
c) whether these items are all, or in part at individual pupil-level (or only school level and aggregated)
d) the new country-of-birth and nationality data items in School Census and Early Years Census are also applicable for children in the Independent sector
e) the maximum data items (and listing the fields) which are extracted from children's records at Independent schools (2016/17 census) if they are available. An explanation of what is compulsory, standard or minimum and maximum would be helpful.

Thank you for your support.

Jen Persson

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Ms Persson,

Ref: 2016-0046883

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on
11/10/2016. The request has been dealt with under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (“the Act”).

You asked the following questions about a previous FOI response
(2016-0029680):

As you state the request is too large to fulfil, please can you clarify
therefore only for the "non-state" / private schools sector - please
clarify broken down separately within that sector for 1. Early Years, 2.
Other primary up to 13 and 3. 13+. For each of those three age breakdowns
in the private sector:

 

a) the National Pupil Database contains personal data from pupils.

b) the number of UPNs from pupils’ pre-autumn 2016 census (September 1,
2016)

c) whether these items are all, or in part at individual pupil-level (or
only school level and aggregated)

d) the new country-of-birth and nationality data items in School Census
and Early Years Census are also applicable for children in the Independent
sector

e) the maximum data items (and listing the fields) which are extracted
from children's records at Independent schools (2016/17 census) if they
are available. An explanation of what is compulsory, standard or minimum
and maximum would be helpful.

a) The National Pupil Database (NPD) contains personal data for pupils in
“non-state” / private schools sector as collected in their attainment data
at each Key Stage only. It does not contain any Census data for pupils at
these schools since these schools do not complete School Census returns.
The NPD also contains personal data for children in maintained Early Years
settings and private, voluntary and independent providers (including
childminders). This data is collected via annual Early Years Census
returns.

b) Nearly half of the records we hold for pupils who attend independent
schools do not have a UPN since Independent schools do not complete School
Census returns. The number of UPNs and pupils in the NPD from pupils’
pre-autumn 2016 Census (September 1, 2016) in the "non-state" / private
schools sector are as follows:

1. Early Years: the Department does not collect UPN in Early Years Census
(EYC) data but there are 32,379 distinct pupils in independent settings in
the 2016 EYC data

2. Primary up to age 13: 2,600 UPNs in 2016, but there are 6,402 distinct
pupils in independent settings in total

3. Age 13+: 95,624 UPNs in 2015 (UPN not held in 2016 data), but there are
160,002 distinct pupils in independent settings in total

c) The data items for the pupils’ Key Stage attainment are all at
individual-level.

d) Independent schools do not complete School Census returns and so
country-of-birth and nationality will not be collected by the Department
for pupils at these schools. The Department is not extending the
collection of country-of-birth and nationality data to the Early Years
Census. This means that the Department will not hold any information from
the Early Years Census relating to country of birth or nationality.

e) As stated above, Independent schools do not complete School Census
returns. Details of what data is collected at school-level from
Independent schools is available here:

[1]https://www.gov.uk/guidance/school-level...

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If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

 

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter.  Your complaint will be considered by
an independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.  

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Johnson

Department for Education

References

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