Privacy notice and pupil data items

Below you will find the suggested texts of the privacy notice and reminders about some of the pupil data items required for data collections.

These items are required by various agencies via the DfE and within the borough.

Under each sub-heading you will find information about who requires the data and in some cases how to add the new categories to

Data protection and GDPR

Providing accessible information to individuals about the use of personal data is a key element of the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation and by law schools must comply.

The most common way to provide such information is through a privacy notice issued as part of, or alongside other communications, for example:

  • Start-of-the-school-year information
  • Your schools brochure
  • Induction pack
  • School diary.

The suggested text for schools privacy notice* (word) includes links to the Ealing Council and DfE websites.

The DfE have updated and improved their suggested text documents and produced an accompanying guide to help schools. They can be found here:

Further information on GDPR can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website:

A data protection toolkit for schools is available here:

First language for pupils

The name of a pupil's first language is collected for all pupils in school census.

If you find that you do not have all the languages you need listed in the first language drop-down in, you can ask your SIMS support provider to install first language all codes next time they are making changes to your system.

Since no database could list every language, we have produced a document languages and the countries where spoken (pdf) which gives an extensive list of languages and the DfE categories to which they belong.

It also lists the names of countries and what languages are spoken there.


We encourage schools to use the Ealing ethnic list of codes and countries of origin (pdf).

If schools wish to use any other extended codes they can do this for their own purposes but we will recode the data centrally to the agreed Ealing list before the information is imported into the central pupil database / used for analysis

Pupil nationality, country of birth and proficiency in English

From autumn census 2018, these data items will no longer be extracted by the census software from SIMS, and you no longer need to enter this information into SIMS for school census purposes. The DfE say that the two years of data already collected relating to the 2016/17 and 2017/18 academic years is sufficient for their research purposes and they have decided to remove the data collection burden placed on schools and parents.

As these data items are no longer required by DfE as part of the school census, there is no requirement for the data to be stored, or retained, within school management information systems from September 2018 onwards. However, should you decide to continue to collect, process or retain this data for your own purposes locally then it is important that you identify a lawful basis for this processing in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and 2018 Data Protection Act.

Religious affiliation

The Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) requests that schools should make an effort to record their pupil's religion.

This is in order to fulfill their brief that religious education in the borough should reflect the religious and philosophical affiliation of pupils.

The information is not statutory and is collected for use within the local authority in the May background report.

A list of codes and step-by-step instructions of how to add them to your can be obtained by clicking on the link below:
How to add religious codes in (pdf)

May background report

The May background report (MBR) is a non-statutory data collection for the local authority (LA) for which the count day is the same as summer school census – the third Thursday in May each year.

We ask Ealing schools to run this report because of the valuable information it gives us when deciding how resources should be distributed.

Having this information at the LA means that we are able to include pupil background factors in our analysis and handle requests for information from central services and outside agencies which would otherwise have to be passed directly to schools.

Some of the data items we collect in the MBR are to enable the matching of records, some are census data items that are not collected in summer and others are not collected in any other return.

From 2019 the LA will once again want to collect country of origin for new arrivals (now that country of birth has been removed from census).

We use this information to identify schools and areas of the borough where extra resources may need to be directed to support large numbers of pupils who have needs relating to their recent arrival from abroad.

Full home address

Every pupil must have at least their apartment number (if applicable), number of dwelling and postcode entered in the pupil details in SIMS.

Home addresses (pdf)
How a pupil's home address should be entered into in order to avoid errors in the January school census.

The DfE will eventually want to collect in census the unique property reference number (UPRN) for all pupil’s addresses. There is a field to collect this in SIMS, although for the moment, the data item remains voluntary.

SEN need type

A new SEN code of practice was introduced in September 2014 and has meant some changes to SEN status and need codes.

The old status codes S, P and A have all but disappeared as pupils have their reviews, and if they are still judged as needing SEN interventions, they will have one of the new categories of:

  • E – Education, health and care plan (EHCP) or
  • K – SEN support.

The SEN need type BESD has been removed, and SEMH (social emotional and mental health) and NSA (no specialist assessment) have been added.

Although pupil SEN status is collected each census, SEN need type is only collected in the spring census. The DfE only requires information about a pupil’s primary need and their secondary need (if they have one).

Problems can arise in census if SEN need types that are no longer current are inadvertently selected for a pupil. This is easy to do as you only see descriptions of the need type in SEN pupil details in

De-activating the codes that the DFE have deemed are no longer valid can prevent errors in census.
De-activating outdated SEN need types in (pdf)

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Last updated: 27 Sep 2018