The collection of pupil-level data via the school census supports the drive to raise standards, provide accurate targeted funding, and the monitoring and development of policy. Without this evidence and data, we cannot have a clear picture of how the school system is working or ensure that no groups of children are missing out on the education they deserve.
The new data items on nationality, country of birth and English proficiency will be used to help us better understand how children, with for example, English as an additional language, perform in terms of their broader education, and to assess and monitor the scale and impact immigration may be having on the schools’ sector. The collection of these data items is completely optional and parents are under no obligation to provide it if they do not want to.
This information is collected via the school census on a termly basis. If parents have previously provided this information to schools and now wish to retract it, they should inform the school of this decision. For such cases, schools can update their systems to show a parent has refused to provide the information and this will be collected within the next school census, which is due on the 19th January.
Where a parent has exercised this right, the Department will remove any information collected on country of birth and nationality during the autumn census.