SEND Futures: Information about data linkage

What is data linkage?

Data linkage means adding extra administrative data to your survey answers to build a more complete picture of what life is like for you and your child. For this survey, we would like to link both of your survey answers to your child’s National Pupil Database (NPD) record.

Where do you get the data?

The National Pupil Database is a database held by the Department of Education of pupil names, dates of birth and characteristics including special educational needs, disability, and indicators for free school meals. These personal details are linked to pupils' attainment and exam results over their lifetime school attendance.

Why do you want to link my data?

We’d like to add some of this information about you on the NPD to the information we collect about you during this survey. It will give us a better sense of how the support you and your child receive from the government affects your lives, both now and in the future.

Researchers and policy makers use this information to spot new trends and connections. This helps us to identify who is doing ok and who needs extra help, and to understand which policies and services work well and which do not. It adds value to the data collected during this short survey, without taking up any more of your time.

What is the process for linking data?

When DfE receives your survey answers, if you give your permission, they will identify the relevant NPD records and then create a new combined file containing all the information relating to your child. The matched data containing survey responses and administrative data may be made available to researchers. At no point will your name or address be included with the matched data. The researchers analysing the matched data do not need these details and they never see them.

Can I say no to data linkage?

We are processing your data under the “public task” condition, Article 6(1)(e)) under the General Data Protection Regulation. This means that we do not rely on your consent as the condition for processing your personal data. However, we will ask for your permission to link your personal data to our existing records and will not do so if you do not give permission.

You will be asked if you give permission for your data to be linked at the end of the parent/carer survey.

If you change your mind about giving permission to data linkage once you have agreed, you have the right to:

  • ask us for access to information about you that we hold
  • have your personal data rectified, if it is inaccurate or incomplete
  • request the deletion or removal of personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing
  • restrict our processing of your personal data (i.e. permitting its storage but no further processing)
  • 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

You can do this by contacting,uk or by using and stating the name of this project.

If you don’t agree to have your data linked, we would still like you to take part in the survey and your answers will still be making a valuable contribution to this research. 

You have the right to raise any concerns with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) via their website at

What about my child’s information?

We would also like to link your child’s answers to this survey with administrative records, with your permission. We understand that some children would be able to make their decision on their own behalf. You should make the decision that represents your child’s wishes and best interests. You could discuss this with your child, and you can withdraw your permission at any time. Once your child reaches the age of 16, we will ask them directly when we next speak to them