Education Endowment Foundation:Privacy notice for the EEF data archive

Privacy notice for the EEF data archive

Privacy notice for the EEF data archive

Data collected as part of EEF-funded evaluations is archived in order to estimate the long-term impact of the interventions, to better understand variation in children’s outcomes across evaluations, and to improve the methodological approaches we use to evaluate this impact.

This page should be read in conjunction with our privacy notice main page which covers information relevant to anyone whose data is used by the EEF.

In most EEF-funded evaluations, the independent evaluator collects data from schools (or other educational settings) implementing the intervention, as well as from control schools (‘business as usual’), in order to estimate the extent to which any impact identified is related to the intervention. Depending on the project, data may also be collected directly from delivery partners, pupils, teachers or parents using methods such as surveys, interviews or lesson observations.

For when participant data is first collected, EEF recommend the following text is adapted as needed and included in all recruitment documents and information sheets for parents and schools, alongside other relevant information:

The project involves [insert details of activities involved and their aims]. Pupils will be asked to [insert data collection procedures, as applicable]. The responses will be collected by [test administrators, if applicable] and accessed by [evaluator]. For the purposes of research and archiving, the responses will be linked with information about the pupils from the National Pupil Database (NPD) and shared with [delivery partner, if applicable], the Department for Education, the EEF, the EEF’s archive manager, the Office for National Statistics and potentially other research teams. Further matching to NPD and other administrative data may take place during subsequent research.Your child’s data will be treated with the strictest confidence and [insert safeguards in place to protect their data], in line with [insert details of GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 compliance]. We will not use your child’s name or the name of the school in any report arising from the research. We expect that your child will enjoy their involvement in the project, and they will be free to withdraw at any time. If you would prefer your child NOT to take part in any project testing [if applicable], or their data not to be processed as above, please inform [contact details and withdrawal procedures, e.g., withdrawal form attached]. If you would like more information about this project, please contact [delivery partner contact details].

The types of data collected on our evaluations vary from project from project, but the majority of evaluations will collect data on attainment or non-cognitive skills, as well as participant background data (such as economic disadvantage and gender). Details about the project aims and types of data collected will be detailed in the recruitment documents and privacy notices for each specific project.

EEF evaluation data is processed by the archive manager on the basis of legitimate interests, according to the GDPR, Article 6, Paragraph 1(f), taking responsibility for protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subjects, and ensuring their interests are protected at all times.

Occasionally, the EEF archive, also processes special categories of personal data from evaluations according to the GDPR, Article 9, Paragraph 2(j), which specifies that processing is necessary for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research purposes or statistical purposes’. This processing is carried out with appropriate safeguards for protecting the rights and freedoms of the data subjects, according to the GDPR, Article 89.

We have conducted purpose, necessity and balancing tests and have concluded that the data processing is necessary for the purpose of fulfilling our legitimate interests, which could not be pursued through other means. These legitimate interests include gathering data about what educational interventions work best, under what conditions, for what participants, with a view to increasing attainment and reducing educational disadvantage, as well as measuring the long-term impact of those interventions, continuously improving our methodological approaches and publishing independent findings free of charge for the benefit of schools, the research community and wider society. These legitimate interests have been carefully balanced with the interests of the data subjects (typically, pupils) and the archive only processes personal data in line with the purposes communicated to the education settings and participants (or their parents/​guardians). For more information, please contact EEF for a copy of the DPIA of the archive.

The archive is held in the Secure Research Service provided by the ONS. The evaluation data is already held in a project space in the SRS prior to being transferred across to the archive.

The evaluation data is retained in the archive indefinitely to enable researchers to track the impact of our projects on attainment at subsequent educational stages, with a view to better understanding the effectiveness of different teaching and learning approaches on increasing attainment and reducing educational disadvantage.

The data protection principle of storage limitation allows data to be stored for longer periods for the purpose of research, so long as measures are in place to protect the privacy of individuals. An important measure for the archive is that is does not contain any information that can be used to directly identify an individual pupil. For example, the archive does not include names, addresses or dates of birth.

The archive does contain the Pupil Matching Reference (PMR), gender, month and year of birth. This is to perform longitudinal and sub-group analyses without directly identifying any individual pupils. The PMR is an identifier used by the DfE that enables linking archive data to data held in the National Pupil Database.

The EEF data archive is managed by FFT Education (FFT) and held by the ONS within their Secure Research service.

FFT provides data extracts to EEF’s designated archive evaluator (currently based at Durham University) for the purpose of conducting secondary and longitudinal data analyses in order to track impact over time (using additional matching to NPD data obtained from the DfE), check data archive integrity and produce methodological outputs for the EEF Evaluation Advisory Board. EEF evaluation data may also be shared with other research teams and matched to other datasets for secondary research purposes.

It is intended that the archive will be accessible to the wider research community for secondary analyses that provide public benefit and are in line with the missions of the EEF, DfE and ONS.

EEF partnership with YEF

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) and the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) have partnered to fund a joint grant programme to find out how approaches that improve presence in school and prevent exclusions can improve attainment and reduce the risk of children becoming involved in violence. Using the unique Pupil Matching Reference numbers added to the data by the DfE, it will be possible to link the records held in the EEF archive with criminal justice datasets for future research. This will help approved researchers to find out additional long-term impacts of the projects funded by EEF such as whether being part of a project reduces a child’s likelihood of being excluded from school or becoming involved in criminal activity.

Archiving data from early years trials

Pupils in England are allocated UPNs at the point of first entry into the state-funded school sector. This is typically when a pupil joins a maintained nursery or primary school (including joining nursery classes in a primary school) but can be later where entry to the state-funded school sector happens after this point. This means that children participating in early years trials may not yet have been issued a UPN to facilitate matching to the NPD. In this case, evaluators should collect the recommended set of identifiers below and follow the EEF procedure for archiving data analysed outside the SRS. 

FFT have recommended the following set of variables to collect about children in early years (EY) trials to facilitate subsequent matching to the NPD and archiving:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Home postcode
  • Date of birth 
  • Unique Pupil Number (UPN) if available
  • Unique establishment number (URN) or LAESTAB if available, setting local authority or postcode.

Gender only provides a marginal benefit for matching to the NPD and, if collected, is more likely to be required for other purposes of the evaluation.

Evaluators should submit the dataset containing these identifiers to FFT at the end of the project. FFT will hold the data until participating children would be expected to appear in the NPD, then match with NPD and replace these identifiers with the Pupil Matching Reference (PMR). The dataset containing the PMR (but no direct identifiers) will then be archived in the usual way.

School Choices projects

School leaders make choices about school-wide practices and approaches that are intended to produce positive outcomes for pupils, such as how to organise the school day or communicate with families. However, many school-level practices have limited or no evidence for them, which means leaders must make decisions using other information. The aim of School Choices research is to produce causal evidence about the impact of different school-level approaches and policies on outcomes of interest, with particular attention to impact on pupils from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

School Choices projects sometimes do not collect personal data from the data subjects at the school (parents, staff, pupils, etc) or from the school itself. This means that for these types of projects there is not a project specific privacy notice provided to data subjects.

The evaluator may at a later stage obtain personal data from the National Pupil Database using the ID of the schools that took part. This processing of personal data relies on the privacy information provided to individuals by the school in relation to sharing their data with the Department for Education for their National Pupil Database. This data may then go on to be submitted to the EEF data archive and processed in accordance with this privacy notice.

The archive data is made available in SRS project spaces, which are held in the UK.

EEF are not able to identify individuals in the archive. The unique identifier used, the Pupil Matching Reference, is a pseudonym provided by the Department of Education who hold the details of who each PMR relates to. As individuals not identifiable by EEF it means that their rights are more limited.

The exception to this is where personal data is passed to FFT outside of the SRS and FFT are required to request the PMR from the Department of Education before destroying any direct identifiers. Up to the point of destruction, individuals will have the rights as described on our privacy notice main page.