The Annual School Census

- What's the problem?

Every year, each school fills out a schools census form which, until now, has given very basic statistical information to the government about the pupils in the school.

This year, though, the government has told all schools that they must supply pupils' names and postcodes alongside far more detailed information about each pupil. Such information would, under normal circumstances, require written consent from parents or young people under data protection rules.

The Secretary of State for Education, Estelle Morris, told Parliament last year that the government intends to use the census information to build a system which will 'track' each pupil.

Children, parents and teachers have not been told about the changes to the census, nor about the government's plans. Many of us are angry that we have not been consulted. We believe that it is a very big step to move from an anonymous, general database to a detailed and individualised record.

We are concerned that the government seems to think that the views of children, parents and teachers are unimportant. We are asking that everyone affected by these plans - children, young people and those of us who care for them - is given the chance to hear the arguments for and against a database, to ask questions and then decide whether or not the government should collect children's names and addresses alongside personal information.


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