Charities & Campaign Groups

Nearly 1 in 4 Parents Don’t Know If Their Child Has Been Signed Up to Systems Using Personal Data in School

A new poll from Survation looked into the knowledge and attitudes of parents towards systems that use children’s personal data in school. Results show that some parents are unaware of whether their child has been signed up to such systems and many support the requirement of parental consent when passing such data to other parties.

 

Survation polled 1,004 parents of children aged 5-18 in state education in England on behalf of defenddigitalme between 17th-20th February.

 

Use of Personal Data

Over half (53%) of parents polled said their child has been signed up by their school to an app, technology, or online system that uses personal data, while 23% said their child has not been signed up to such systems that use personal data. Additionally, as many as one in four (24%) parents said they do not know if their child has been signed up to systems using personal data. Personal data in the poll was defined as “any information that can be used to identify a child”.

 

When asked how often they were told if their child’s named personal data will be stored or transferred to third-party organisations through a school administration software or an online learning service, only 31% of parents said they were always informed of this. Interestingly, as many as 23% said they were never informed of this while 10% of parents said “don’t know”.

 

 

Overall, only half (50%) of parents polled said that they have sufficient control of their child’s digital footprint. Over a quarter (28%) said the amount of control is insufficient while 22% said “don’t know”.

 

Systems Used in School

When asked what types of systems their child’s school uses, over half (53%) of parents polled said their child’s school uses closed circuit or surveillance cameras, while slightly less than half (46%) said Internet Monitoring or keylogging software is used. A quarter (25%) of parents said their child’s school uses some form of biometric technology such as fingerprints, retinal scans, palm scans, or facial image recognition, but only 9% said bodycams are used.

 

We see from the graph below that some parents are unaware of the current systems that are in place. For instance, as many as 37% of parents said “don’t know” when asked if their child’s school uses Internet Monitoring and keylogging software.

 

 

When asked if their child’s school offered a choice to use such systems, almost half (46%) of those who said their child’s school uses Internet Monitoring and keylogging software said they were not offered a choice to use this. Additionally, over a third (38%) of those who said their child’s school uses biometric technology said they were not offered a choice of whether to use this system or not.

 

Third Party Use of Data

The Department for Education has a database of over 20 million children’s named personal records called the National Pupil Database, collected since 2002. From there the Department for Education can give children’s data to third-parties.

 

The majority of parents (69%) polled said they had not been informed that the Department for Education may give their child’s information to third parties, while only 31% said they had been informed of this. Almost 4 in 5 (79%) said, if they had the opportunity, they would choose to see their child’s named record in the Database.

 

We also used a 0 to 10 scale to ask whether parents believed that parental consent should be required for school’s to be able to pass children’s data to the Department for Education. As many as two in three (60%) gave a score of 7 or higher, thus indicating that parental consent should be required in order to pass this information on.

 

We used a similar 0 to 10 scale to ask whether parents believed parental consent should be required to pass data from schools to third party commercial companies. Again, two in three (59%) gave a score of 7 or higher, thus indicating that parental consent should be required. When it comes to children with special educational needs or a disability, as many as 81% of parents said that parental consent should be required to share this data with third parties such as researchers and commercial companies. Only 11% of parents polled said that parental consent should not be required, while 7% said “don’t know”.

 

Survation conducted the survey of 1,004 parents of children aged 5-18 in state education in England on behalf of defenddigitalme between 17th-20th February. Full tables can be found here.


< Back
Back to Top