Pupil Data

Education authorities and the Scottish Government Education Department (SGED) collected data about pupils on paper forms for many years. We now work together with schools to transfer data electronically through the ScotXed programme.  Thus SGED has two functions: acting as a ‘hub’ for supporting data exchange within the education system in Scotland and the analysis of data for statistical purposes within the Scottish Government itself. 

What pupil data is collected and transferred?

Data on each pupil is collected by schools, local authorities and SGED.  The data collected and transferred covers areas such as date of birth, Scottish Candidate Number (SCN), postcode, registration for free-school meals, whether a pupil is looked after by his/her local authority, additional support needs including disability and English as an Additional Language (EAL), and attendance, absence and exclusions from school. 

The SCN acts as the unique pupil identifier. Pupil names and addresses are not passed to SGED.  Your postcode is the only part of your address that is transferred for statistical purposes, and postcodes are grouped to identify ‘localities’ rather than specific addresses. Dates of birth are passed on as ‘month and year’ only, again to ensure that individuals are never identified. 

Data is held securely and no information on individual pupils can or would be published by SGED. Providing national identity and ethnic background data is entirely voluntary.  You can choose the ‘not disclosed’ option if you do not want to provide this data.  However, we hope that the explanations contained in this message and on our website will help you understand the importance of providing the data.

Why do we need your data?

In order to make the best decisions about how to improve our education service, SGED, education authorities and other partners such as the SQA and Careers Scotland need accurate, up-to-date data about our pupils. We are keen to help all our pupils do well in all aspects of school life and achieve better examination results. Accurate and up-to-date data allows us to:

  • plan and deliver better policies for the benefit of all pupils
  • plan and deliver better policies for the benefit of specific groups of pupils,
  • better understand some of the factors which influence pupil attainment and achievement,
  • share good practice,
  • target resources better.

Your data protection rights

The collection, transfer, processing and sharing of ScotXed data is done in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1998). We also comply with the National Statistics Code of Practice requirements and other legislation related to safeguarding the confidentiality of data.  The Data Protection Act gives you the right to know how we will use your data.  This message can give only a brief description of how we use data.  Fuller details of the uses of pupil data can be found on the ScotXed website.

SGED works with a range of partners including HM Inspectorate of Education and the SQA.  On occasion, we will make individual data available to partners and also academic institutions to carry out research and statistical analysis.  In addition, we will provide our partners with information they need in order to fulfil their official responsibilities.  Any sharing of data will be done under the strict control of SGED, which will ensure that no individual level data will be made public as a result of the data sharing and that these data will not be used to take any actions in respect of an individual. Decisions on the sharing of data will be taken in consultation with colleagues within and outwith SGED.


If you have any concerns about the ScotXed data collections you can email the Senior Statistician, Peter Whitehouse, at peter.whitehouse@scotland.gsi.gov.uk or write to The ScotXed Support Office, SGED, Area 1B, Victoria Quay, Leith, EH6 6QQ.

Alternative versions of this information are available, on request from the ScotXed Support Office, in other languages, audio tape, braille and large print.

Want more information?

Further details about ScotXed are available on the ScotXed website.