Privacy notice

Who we are

Get Information about School’s (GIAS) is a digital service operated by the Department for Education (DfE). As the department’s official repository and ‘source of truth’ for schools and colleges, this service enables users to a) find information about education establishments within England and Wales; and b) allows establishments to update their details. For the purpose of data protection legislation, the DfE is the data controller for the personal data processed as part of GIAS.

This privacy policy sets out how we collect and process your personal data for the GIAS digital service. This policy applies to all users of the GIAS digital service (‘you’).

How we will use your information

As part of GIAS we receive your personal data from early years and compulsory school age establishments, further and higher education institutions, local authorities and academy trusts. DfE processes your data to compile and maintain the official register of educational establishments in England and Wales for internal use and as a source of reference by the education sector and general public.

The nature of your personal data we will be using

We may use the following personal information for GIAS:

  • head teachers/principals/managers and governance roles name and contact details
  • authorised and public user’s internet protocol address (IP)

Why our use of your personal data is lawful

In order for our use of your personal data to be lawful, we need to meet one (or more) conditions in the data protection legislation. For the purpose of this project, the relevant condition(s) that we are meeting are as set out in Article 6(1)(e) of the UK GPDR in that processing of your information is necessary for the exercise of the function of the department.

Where your data is stored

The DfE holds and processes personal information within the United Kingdom (UK) and under contracted services, within the European Economic Area (EEA). Where we process your information outside of the UK, we ensure that our service providers take appropriate security measures to protect your personal information in line with our policies and legal requirements.

How long we will keep your personal data

We will only keep your personal data for as long as we need it for the purpose(s) of this piece of work, after which point it will be securely destroyed. Please note that, under data protection legislation, and in compliance with the relevant data processing conditions, personal data can be kept for longer periods of time when processed purely for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific or historical research, and statistical purposes. Non-public personal data is subject to a 6 year retention policy and is then reviewed annually.

Sharing your personal information with others

We may share information we hold about you with certain organisations where the law allows it, or if we have a legal obligation to do so. We may share information with other organisations, including the following:

  • national and local agencies who look after children
  • local authorities
  • professionals who work in early years, schools and further and higher education institutions, children’s services and health services
  • other government departments and related public-sector bodies
  • research institutions
  • organisations contracted with us and/or by the above organisations to undertake work for them, requiring them to manage your information.

There may be some circumstances where we will need to share information about you with others without your consent. For example, this might be to prevent or detect a crime, or to comply with our obligations under safeguarding laws. In all cases, we will comply with all information handling legislation including the Data Protection Act 2018.

Your data protection rights when DfE uses your personal information

Under data protection law, you have rights depending on our reason for processing your personal information. More information about how the DfE handles personal information is published here: (opens in new tab)

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, you are entitled to ask if we hold information relating to you and ask for a copy, by making a subject access request (SAR). To make a SAR, you should complete the contact the Department for Education form (opens in new tab). Use the ‘question' option and then select ‘something else’.

To find out what personal information we hold about you for GIAS, or to exercise any of your rights you can contact by using the data collections service request form which can be accessed via our contact page.

If you need to contact us regarding any of the above, please do so via our data collections service request form which can be accessed via our contact page. For the Data Protection Officer (DPO) please mark it for the attention of the DPO.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website provides information about your data protection rights. Read more here (opens in new tab).

Changes to this privacy notice

We regularly review and update our privacy notice to ensure it is up-to-date and accurate. This version was last updated in June 2021.

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