Census of school pupils in Scotland: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

FOI reference: FOI/17/01248
Date received: 5 June 2017
Date responded: 3 July 2017

Information requested

Information related to the census of school pupils in Scotland.


As a snapshot of data on the date of March 31, 2017: the total number of unique individuals' data stored in the database for all time. This may be the total quantity of unique pupil numbers (UPN) (please confirm that this is UPN not pupil reference matching numbers or list the quantity of both) and the date from when the first data exists in the central database.

The data collected through the annual school pupil census is held in a series of data sets with each one representing the data collected in a single census. The census is conducted in September each year. There are 1,265,501 unique Scottish Candidate Numbers in the school pupil census data sets spanning the 2007 to 2016 censuses.

  1. Provide the document / terms of reference that state the retention period of the records (please state the retention period simply in free text if no document exists). It is our policy to hold the data indefinitely, subject to reviews as required to ensure that it is still necessary to keep the data for its designated purpose, as permitted by Section 33 of the Data Protection Act 1998 and in compliance with Principle 5 of the Act.

  2. Please provide the table of charges which an applicant must meet in order to receive data, for example standard or bespoke extracts of NPD data.(For reference please see the health data model equivalent: http://www.hscic.gov.uk/media/14839/DARS... ) No charges are made for access to the data.

  3. Does your data release process always suppress small numbers, and if so, at how many? Our general policy is that numbers under five are suppressed however other numbers may also be suppressed where it is felt necessary to do so to reduce risk of identification of individuals. Where applicants require access to disclosive data for research, different processes apply which restrict the use and sharing of the data.

  4. How many audits were made of receiving data organisations since April 2012, pertaining to the data provided to them? We have not conducted any audits. We work with partners to encourage the use of recognised safe havens, and this is reflected in our application processes. In most cases, researchers make use of the eDRIS facilities which have been security accredited by the Scottish Government.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses


Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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