Government is now releasing your childrens' personal data to companies

After controversial scheme was delayed

Data on every school child in England is being made available to private companies by the government, potentially igniting another data privacy storm.

The Department for Education data release comes after similar moves by the government to allow private companies to access anonymised NHS patient and HM Revenue & Customs taxpayer data.

Both these moves drew opposition from privacy watchdogs, after fears the anonymised data, which would be sold, could still lead to individuals being identified to third parties without their permission. The Department for Education is giving away its data for free.

The Department for Education is sharing extracts from its National Pupil Database (NPD), which includes childrens' names and addresses, their dates of birth, test and exam results, types of disability, whether a child is in care, whether they have been excluded from school, ethnicity and special educational needs.

The data has been collected since 2002, and pupils and parents have had no right to refuse having the details stored on the database.

The Department for Education says extracts from the NPD are now available to any "organisation or person who, for the purpose of promoting the education or well-being of children in England are: conducting research or analysis, producing statistics, providing information, advice or guidance".

The Department for Education has confirmed the data will be released in four types of data tiers. Tier 1 contains "the most sensitive personal information", and tier 2 contains "other sensitive personal information, including less sensitive versions of tier 1 data". Tier 3 contains "school-level data", and tier 4 contains "other pupil-level data", like "attainment, absence and exclusions".

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