DES Data Protection Statement

Marian College, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 re DES

Circular 0047/2010

Notice to Parents, Guardians and Students aged 18 years and over, on how the personal

data of students enrolled at this post primary school as at 30th September, is returned to

the Department of Education and Skills, to primarily secure teaching posts and core funding;

and how these data are processed fairly and in compliance with the

Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2003.

Introduction
For the Department of Education and Skills to be able to allocate teaching staff and core funding

to this post primary school to meet your child’s educational needs, the Department must

collect individual and personal data on each student enrolled in each recognised post primary

school, at 30th September each year.


This notice sets out the details of the personal data being collected, its purpose, what

other bodies these data are shared with and why; how the Department securely stores these

data and the Department’s retention of these data.

Purposes of Collecting Individual Student Data
Teaching posts and core funding are allocated to post primary schools by the Department

of Education and Skills each year, based on the number of recognised students enrolled in

each post primary school, as at 30th September in the previous year.


The Department has detailed in The Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools

the criteria for a recognised student in post primary schools. While the full set of rules

is available on the Department’s website, www.education.ie, examples include:
· a student meeting the minimum age requirement for their course and that they are

following an approved course, e.g. Junior Certificate, and
· given Irish is a compulsory subject for all post primary students, those students

not studying Irish must have been granted an exemption from Irish by the school

authorities, in accordance with criteria for granting such exemptions.

Hence for each post primary school to have the appropriate levels of teaching posts and

core funding to meet your child’s educational needs, each post primary school is

required to transfer individualised date on each student enrolled in our school to the

Department, as part of what is commonly referred to as the school’s October Return.

Much of these data the school would have to assist its management of the school,

but some data schools collect specifically for the purpose of making this return.


The core funding allocated to schools includes provision of English Language

Support to those students with limited or no knowledge of English and additional

resources to meet the educational needs of children who are members of the

Travelling Community.


The Department has to meet many national and international statistical, policy and

research requirements. The Department does not use individual data from these

returns for these functions. However the Department aggregates the individual data

for these purposes as well as assisting its wider planning functions.




How is the October Return Made and Where and How are the Data Stored?
Post primary schools return their data electronically through the secure esinet

network system. The data received by the Department from post primary schools

through the October Returns is stored by the Department in its secure database,

called the Post Primary Pupil Database. It is Departmental policy that only a small

number of staff who have a requirement to view these personal data for work

purposes can gain access to these data.
Upon receipt, the Principal Officer, Parents’ Learners’ and Database

Section of Schools’Division becomes the data controller for these data.

The Department of Education and Skills is committed to

· abiding by the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2003,

· respecting peoples’ rights to confidentiality and for privacy, and

· keeping up to date all data about recognised students stored on its database.


What personal data is collected?
A list of the specific data collected on each student and the purpose for which

each item is collected is attached for your information.


What Bodies Does the Department Share Some of the Individual Data With?

As it is necessary to return individualised data to the Department, the Department

uses each student’s Personal Public Service Number as a unique identifier. As part

of validating that each student returned by post primary schools is a recognised student,

the Department transfers a limited amount of each individual student’s personal data to the

Department of Social Protection. This includes each child’s PPS number. The legal basis

for this sharing of data is set out in Social Welfare Acts.

Sharing a limited amount of the personal data with the Department of Social Protection

is also important to:

· identify students that have similar details. For example, a student can only

be enrolled in one school as at 30th September,

· in cases where a child’s PPSN number is not available, their individual identity

can be determined from the student personal data together with her/his mother’s

maiden name,

· identify the movement of students between schools over their time within the

education system while allowing their course data from different schools to be accessed

for recognition purposes.

Hence a student’s PPS number provided through the October Returns is to provide a

unique identifier for each student and as part of validating that each student is a recognised student.

The Department does share some of the personal data with other State bodies. These are:

· data on students enrolled in exam years with the State Examinations Commission

to assist its planning for state examinations,

· Central Statistics Office, under the Statistics Acts to assist with the compilation

of national statistics, and

· data on 15 years old students, excluding their PPS number to the Educational

Research Centre to meet its research requirements which includes some of Ireland’s

international research requirements. This Centre subsequently liaises with post primary

schools in respect of further data it may require on individual students to assist their

research requirements.

The Department has a data user agreement with each of these bodies, which includes

the purpose for which the body requires these data, its storage, security and retention.

Details of existing data user agreements are available on the Department’s website

at www.education.ie (and search for October Returns).


Retention of student data
The Department retains personal data on each student up to their 25th birthday and

subject to review thereafter. Since 1991, the Department has retained all individual

data on students returned by post primary schools via their October Return. The

purpose of this retention policy serves to trace student retention, is important for

research and policy formation as well as being an important statistical indicator

nationally and internationally. Again aggregate and not individual data is used for

these purposes.


Individual records are also retained to meet individual requests from former students

which may require it for employment or other purposes. The Post Primary Pupil

Database is currently the only national archive of student enrolment at post primary


The Department is continually reviewing its retention policy for student data in

consultation with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and will update

its retention policy from time to time. Any amendments will be available on the

Department’s website, www.education.ie


Accessing Personal Information
As part of the fair processing of these data for the October Returns by and between

post primary schools and the Department of Education and Skills, post primary

schools seek the consent from parents or guardians of children under 18 years and

directly from students over 18 years of age.

This notice informs parents and students of the data collected through the October

Returns and its uses. No written consent is required except in the cases of what is

termed sensitive personal data. In the case of the October Returns the Data

Protection Commissioner’s Office has advised that two data fields fall under this

category, namely 1st year student’s medical card eligibility and membership of

any student to the Travelling Community.

Post primary school authorities are required to gain the written consent from the

relevant parents/guardians and students before returning individualised data on

these two data fields. If either of these data fields apply to your child, or if you

are an enrolled student and aged over 18 years and these data fields apply to

you; you are asked to complete the attached form and return it to your post

primary school, before 30th September. This form will be retained by the

post-primary school and will be made available for inspection by authorised

offices of the Department or from the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

The Department of Education and Skills is committed to respecting the privacy

and confidentiality of all parents and guardians and their children’s personal data

and has taken all reasonable measures to do so.


Information which the Department stores on you or your child on its Post Primary Pupil

Database is available to you. If you would like copy of these details please write to the

Parents’ Learners and Database Section

Schools’ Division

Cornamaddy

Athlone

Co. Westmeath.


You have the right to object to the processing of your or your child’s personal data,

to block certain uses of the data and also in the unlikely event that you identify any

errors in the data held about you or your child, you have the right to correct such errors.


Further information on the October returns is available on the Department’s

website at www.education.ie (and search for October Returns).


Personal Data returned by Schools to the Department of Education and

Skills, as part of their October Return, and which Data the Department

of Education and Skills Shares with the Department of Social Protection,

and is returned to solely assist the Department of Education and Skills Policy,

Planning and Statistical Functions.

Personal Data Transferred to Department of Social Protection

Data Collected on each Student

Purpose

Personal Public Sector Number – PPSN collected for first time in 2001/02

Unique identifier for each student.

Student Name

Used to validate PPSN and also to identify students who have Irish Exemptions or studied Computer Studies. Also used to contact students if consent is needed to include them in educational surveys etc.

Student Home Address

Date of Birth

There are minimum age threshold for students following different programmes.

Gender

Statistical analysis and to assist with individual student identity.

Mother’s maiden name

PPSN validation. This is removed from the Department’s records when confirmation of valid PPSN is received.

Other Personal Data Returned by Schools to the Department of Education and Skills

necessary to identify a student as a recognised student, in accordance with the Rules

and Programme for Secondary Schools.

Data Collected on each Student

Purpose

Previous school details

Used for statistical analysis and to ensure progression within the educational system is in accordance with the Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools

Programme – Junior, Leaving, PLC etc.

Used to establish if a student is following prescribed programmes as per Rules and Programme for Secondary Schools. For exam year students it is shared with the State Examination Commission to assist its preparation and organisation of State Examinations.

Subjects

Subject Level

Subject being taken through Irish

Application for English Language Support (first sought in 2009/10)

Additional resources are provided to schools which have children in need of English Language Support

Data Collected on each Student

Purpose

Application for Traveller Support (first sought in 2009/10)

Additional teaching hours are provided for children who are members of the Traveller community. Written Consent is required by school authorities before they can include this in their returns to the Department.

Exemption from studying Irish

Irish is compulsory unless a student has obtained an exemption

Whether student is a boarder

Necessary for school funding considerations

Whether student is Repeating Leaving Certificate

Necessary for school funding considerations and the collection of Repeat Leaving Certificate fee

School Roll No.

Student must be enrolled in a school

Ab initio Indicator

Leaving Cert student may be doing a modern language at Junior Cert

Dispersed VTOS

Identified if student is following a course in this mode

Personal Data returned by Post Primary Schools to the Department to Assist

with the Department’s Policy, Statistical, Research and Planning Functions only.

Data Collected on each Student

Purpose

Country of Birth from 2009/10 onwards in earlier years Country of Origin

Used solely for statistical analysis

Medical Card Indicator – first sought in 2009/10

To aid the development of policy to promote social inclusion. Written Consent is required by school authorities before they can include this in their returns to the Department.

Reason for Irish exemption

Statistical analysis

Educational attainment

PLC students only for statistical analysis and development of educational policy in area of Further Education.

Date of leaving school

Early school leavers only for Retention Policy and Statistical analysis

Reason for leaving

For statistical and research purposes.

Schools also identify students by reference to being an exam entrant. This data assists the transfer of

data on these students only to the State Examinations Commission, to assist its planning of state examinations.

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