Do parents even know their children’s school data has been given away?


Fellow blogger and Vox Political reader Owen Boswarva has delivered frightening proof of the way parents have been sidelined by Michael Gove’s Department for Education, in order to give away – not even sell – confidential information about our children to private companies.

Mr Boswarva said he had written a blog post about the issue last year, in which he stated his concern about “the low profile of DfE’s NPD initiative. Most of the consultation responses are from organisations with an interest in re-using the data, leavened by some cautionary advice from civil society groups. There are only a couple of responses from schools and a half-dozen or so responses from individual parents (consistently opposed to the proposals).” [Emphasis mine]

“There appears to have been no concerted effort to bring the consultation or the NPD initiative to the attention of parents or pupils (i.e. the data subjects themselves). This is a quote from one of the parents who did respond: ‘I am shocked and appalled that I wasn’t notified about this consultation through my child’s school — I read about it on Twitter of all things. A letter should have gone to every single parent explaining the proposals and how to respond to this consultation.’

“(Now imagine that sentiment amplified via Mumsnet …)”

His full article is available here and makes absorbing reading as it features all of the responses to what the DfE (laughably) called its “consultation”.

In his comment to VP, Mr Boswarva wrote: “Some civil liberties organisations (including Big Brother Watch) did respond to the DfE consultation… The implemented access regime is not quite as bad as the original proposals, but I agree we should be concerned.

“For me the main issue is that parents (and pupils themselves, who are the actual data subjects) are unaware of how the personal data is being shared with third-party organisations.

“There was no press release or any other broad communication to the public when access to NPD data was expanded. (It’s worth noting that most of the broadsheets [newspapers] have been given access to Tier 2 pupil data themselves, so they are probably not keen to rock the boat.)

“If you want to get into the detail of what DfE is up to with the NPD, try this Deloitte report: National Pupil Database: Exploiting the benefits of releasing the data.”

I have yet to do so (time being against me) but I invite any readers with an interest to download the report, go through it, and report your findings.

I’m off to find a contact address for Mumsnet.

Addendum: I’ve amended this article after Mr Boswarva contacted me to point out that the DfE isn’t, in fact, selling pupil information – the department is giving it away for free. In my opinion this makes its actions even worse. What do you think? (Thanks are due to Mr Boswarva, whose full communication should appear in the comment column below.)

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18 thoughts on “Do parents even know their children’s school data has been given away?

  1. Big Bill

    AS far as they’re concerned we’re cattle, we exist to be milked. So long as we put up with it, they’re right.

  2. Pingback: Do parents even know their children’s school data has been sold? | chunkyfunkymunky

  3. Joanna

    what is the point of anything any more? the b*****ds can screw everyone And get away with it, even if something could be done about it, you can’t un-ring a bell can you? this just makes me relieved that I don’t have anyone, family or otherwise!

  4. Mr.Angry

    They are worse than the mafia, why in the world are we allowing this to happen, they weren’t even voted in. more bloody corruption. I thought Iraq was bad, my God this coalition has some serious questions that need answers to the public domain.

  5. Joanna

    never gonna happen mr angry, the rich parasites will always exploit the poor and save their own asses, I wonder if their own children’s details are being sold!?!

  6. Thomas M

    As long as not enough people do anything about it, the few that do will either be ignored or get in trouble.

  7. beastrabban

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    I doubt that the majority of parents do know that their children’s school data has been sold on to private industry. As for the alleged consultation with parents mentioned in the government’s official statements, this seems to be another highly selected, stage-managed and very restricted pseudo-consultation with a very narrow group of individuals that New Labour used when they wished to launch policies that were similarly going to be unpopular with the vast majority of the public.

    1. Owen Boswarva (@owenboswarva)

      I should point out that although the government is widening access to public data it is not actually selling anything. A DfE spokesman has given a statement to Wired confirming the department would not be charging for access.

      The 2012 consultation was open to the public, although it was not well publicised.

  8. chriswaynepoetry

    The goverment are also (surprise surprise) in clear violation of both the Human Rights and Data Protection Acts, as privacy invasion (which is what this is) must be proportionate to the threat. Selling data to these companies clearly isn’t.

Comments are closed.