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Privacy notice for learners

Our Privacy notice for learners

This privacy notice is issued by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Department of Education (DfE). It is to inform learners how their personal information will be used by the DfE, the ESFA (an executive agency of the DfE) and any successor bodies to these organisations. For the purposes of relevant data protection legislation, the DfE is the data controller for personal data processed by the ESFA. 

How we use your personal information

Your personal information is used by the DfE to exercise its functions and to meet its statutory responsibilities, including under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 and to create and maintain a unique learner number (ULN) and a personal learning record (PLR). 

The ULN enables education and training sector organisations and Awarding Organisations regulated by Ofqual in England to share information about participation and achievement in a consistent and approved manner, promoting good information management practice and helping to improve accuracy and efficiency. It benefits you through enhancing the application processes to Awarding Organisations, learning providers, learning advisors and other third parties.

The PLR stores your education and training participation and achievement information collected directly from educational institutions and other bodies.

How we collect your personal information

The ESFA collects information from:

  • Dfe, schools and training / learning providers

  • Information provided by you when enrolling with the training / learning provider

  • Qualification  / unit data held by Ofqual

  • Accredited achievement data supplied by awarding organisations

How we share your personal information

All organisations that have control of personal data about you and that we store in the LRS are required to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office and to handle your information in accordance with the latest data protection legislation.

The LRS is accessible by organisations under agreement with the DfE. Your personal information is only accessed through the LRS by organisations linked to your education and training, including those organisations specified in Regulations made under section 537A of the Education Act. Awarding organisations are able to access limited achievement data that we hold about you, in order to verify its accuracy.

The English European Social Fund (ESF) Managing Authority (or agents acting on its behalf) may contact you in order for them to carry out research and evaluation to inform the effectiveness of training. 

How long we will keep your personal information

We will only keep your personal information for as long as we need it after which it will be securely destroyed. Your personal information stored in the Personal Learning Record is retained for 66 years. We may need to keep your other personal information where held indefinitely for research and statistical purposes.

Your data protection rights

You have the right:

  • to ask us for access to information about you that we hold

  • to have your personal data rectified, if it is inaccurate or incomplete

  • to request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing

  • to restrict our processing of your personal data (i.e. permitting its storage but no further processing)

  • to object to direct marketing (including profiling) and processing for the purposes of scientific/historical research and statistics

  • not to be subject to decisions based purely on automated processing where it produces a legal or similarly significant effect on you

If you need to contact us regarding any of the above, please do so via the DfE site.

Contacting us about your information

If you would like:

  • more information about how we process your personal information or your data protection rights

  • to make a request about your information – for example to request a copy of your information or to ask for your information to be changed

Please follow the guidance on the how to access your personal learning record:-

If you wish to complain about our handling of your information or contact our Data Protection Officer, you can use our secure online contact form or write to:

Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Department for Education
Piccadilly Gate
Store Street
M1 2WD

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