Tech Ed: Privacy notice

This privacy notice sets out how we will process information for the Tech Ed Study. In line with the UK GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation), this privacy notice explains the legal basis of this study for data processing; who will have access to participants’ personal data; how this data will be used, stored and deleted; and who to contact with a query or a complaint.

Who we are

This work is being carried out by NatCen Social Research and the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE). The DfE is the data controller and NatCen the data processor for the personal data shared and collected as part of the Tech Ed Study. NFER are the sub processors.

What is this research project about?

The Tech Ed study includes a number of surveys with students on technical education courses between 2021 and 2024. These include students taking T Levels, the Transition Programme and Higher Technical Qualifications, and other courses.

The study aims to better understand the aspirations, experiences and outcomes of students taking new technical qualifications.

We want to understand:

  • Why students chose the course they did
  • How satisfied they are with different elements of it, including work experience/ industry placements
  • What they go on to do after the course.

Taking part in the research project is entirely voluntary; you do not have to take part if you prefer not to. However, this research project is very important in helping us better understand the experience of technical education learners. We would really appreciate it if you were involved.

How we will use your information

We mainly receive your personal data directly from you during the research project. We are processing it in order to better understand students’ experiences of their technical education courses. More information about this study is available from

Anything you tell us is strictly confidential. Information which may identify you (such as your name, address or date of birth) will be kept separate from your survey responses. Your personal data, like your name and contact details, will be kept secure at all times. 

In addition, we received your personal contact data from the Individual Learner Record (ILR) and National Pupil Database (NPD) from the DfE. We are processing this data in order to keep in touch with you throughout the research project. Each person we recruit to the longitudinal element of the Tech Ed Study is irreplaceable and it is important that we take steps to help you to stay in touch with the research project.

If you have given us your explicit consent to link your survey answers to other government data, DfE will link your responses to additional personal data from the following government agencies:

  • Department for Education – your past and future learning
  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – your employment, earnings, tax and benefits
  • Department for Work and Pensions – your benefits and participation in government schemes
  • Higher Education Statistics Agency – your university participation

The nature of your personal data

The categories of your personal data that we will be using for this project are:

  • Your personal contact information, such as your name and address.
  • Your survey responses, including any information you have shared on:
    • What your household looks like
    • Your housing situation
    • Up-to-date contact details.
    • Your linked administrative data, such as your past and future learning, university participation, personal characteristics (e.g. age and special educational needs), employment, earnings, tax and benefits, and participation in any government schemes.

Why our use of your personal data is lawful

For the use of personal data to be lawful, we need to meet one (or more) conditions, as set out in Article 6(1) of the UK GDPR. For this study, the legal basis for processing your personal data for the survey is ‘public task’. This means that processing this data is necessary for carrying out a task in the public interest. The legal basis for linking your survey responses to other government-held data is ‘consent’.

How long we will keep your personal data

In accordance with current data protection legislation (GDPR), NatCen will only keep your data in a way that can identify you for as long as is it is needed for our research, or until you request that your identifiable data to be deleted, after which point it will be securely destroyed. This means that once we have reported the findings we will securely delete your personal data. This is usually 6 months after the end of the project, so we expect to securely delete your personal data by 30 June 2025. 

DfE only keep your information for as long as necessary, after which point it will be securely destroyed. There are circumstances where DfE may need to keep your information indefinitely for research and statistical purposes. We have measures to safeguard this information.

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

You can, if you wish, have access to the personal contact details which we hold for you. You can get these by contacting NatCen’s Data Protection Officer at Please include ‘Tech Ed Study’ in the subject line.

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

Further information about your data protection rights appears on the Information Commissioner’s website.

Withdrawal of consent and the right to lodge a complaint

Participation in this study is voluntary and you have the right to withdraw your consent for your personal participation in the study. Where we are processing your personal data with your consent, you have the right to withdraw that consent. For example, if you withdraw your permission to link your survey responses to administrative data, the data that has already been linked will be retained but no future linking will take place.

If you change your mind, or you are unhappy with our use of your personal data, please let us know by contacting the research team at

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

Last updated

We may need to update this privacy notice periodically, so we recommend that you revisit this information from time to time. This version was last updated on the 7th of June 2022.