The BBC is reporting that the government has halted researchers and others from accessing personal information about UK schoolchildren, it has emerged.
The Department for Education said the step was a temporary move to modify the national pupil database’s approval process. But a spokesman was unable to provide further detail.
The action comes ahead of the introduction of tougher data privacy rules later this month.
The national pupil database is designed to help experts study the effect of different educational strategies over time.
Access was “paused” on 1 May, and the DfE has said it expects to provide further information in June.
Campaigners have raised concerns that many parents are unaware that data on millions of English schoolchildren can be shared with academics and businesses.
A recent survey by the data privacy campaign Defend Digital Me suggested most parents (69%) did not know about the data-sharing.
Besides academic researchers, there are also requests from private companies, which use the data to aid education policy consulting services to local authorities.
Defend Digital Me has said that the government does not currently allow parents or children the right to see records relating to them or to have them corrected if inaccurate. According to the group’s survey of 1,004 English parents – carried out by Survation – 79% would choose to see the records if they were able to.
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