Apply for Department for Education (DfE) personal data

How to apply for access to personal data from DfE and its executive agencies.

Applies to England


By defaultdefault, all personal data will be accessed via the Office for National Statistics Secure Research Service (ONS SRS). However, where the SRS is not suitable and evidence can be provided to support this, the following exemptions on the use of SRS for sharing data will be considered:

  • data is being processed to fulfil an essential public tasktask, such as the running of education or children’s services
  • you are doing research funded by, or commissioned by,by the Department for Education (DfE) and its executive agencies or other government departments
  • you are doing research that is sponsored or supported by DfE and its executive agencies as addingit adds significant value to the evidence base supporting education or children’s services

If you are unsure, contact

Apply to DfE for access to DfE personal data

Complete the application form (MS Word Document, 192212 KB) using the accompanying DfE data sharing service application form guidance (PDF, 498507 KB, 39 pages), and submit your data requirements on the relevant data tables. You may also find the digital Find and explore NPD tool helpful when working out which data items you need from the national pupil database (NPD.).

If you are a DfE contractor wanting to apply for personal data for a DfE-commissioned research project, contact your contract manager or research project lead to discuss how to complete the DfE-commissioned research application form for DfE personal data.

The data sharing service is here to help you:

  • progress your application through the data sharing service
  • access the right data for your project
  • document the data share through a signed data sharing agreement, memorandum of understanding, or a commercial contract - contact for a copy of our standard terms and conditions

Data tables

Use these data tables to provide your data requirements:

All completed applications must be submitted to

Accessing DfE personal data using the ONS Secure Research ServiceSRS

Anyone who needs to access DfE personal data via the SecureONS ResearchSRS Service must be accredited under the ONS approved researcher scheme. We recommend that you begin this process as soon as possible and take steps to become accredited by ONS in parallel to your application.

Contact with any questions.

Once you are an ONS-approved approved researcher and your application has been approved by DfE, there are 3 ways you can access DfE data for approved projects through the SecureONS Research Service:SRS:

  • physical labs: you can book a session to access DfE data at 1 of 5 ONS locations across the UK
  • Safepod:SafePod: available for approved researchers and can currently be found in these locations
  • remote access: once your organisation meets security standards and has organised connectivity with ONS, you can access data online using your own equipmentequipment, subject to specified conditions

Before gaining access to DfE personal data in the ONS SRS, you will be asked to sign a data sharing agreement, memorandum of understanding, or a commercial contract. Contact for a copy of our standard terms and conditions.

Apply for direct access to DfE personal data

Before applying for DfE personal data, you must:

Apply directly to OfficeONS for National Statistics for some other key datasets

You can alsocurrently apply directly to ONS for somethese other key datasets:

We’re also working to make the following DfE datasets directly available from ONS:

Apply for linked DfE and MoJ data

Visit Ministry of Justice data first for access to the linked Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and DfE data set.

Future developments

WeFor are currently working on the following projects to improve access to other DfE data:

For more information on future developments, contact

Published 7 January 2022
Last updated 3024 SeptemberJanuary 20222023 + show all updates
  1. Uploaded new versions of the national pupil database and higher education data tables, the application form and the guidance. Added a new link to Growing Up in England (GUiE) and an update on which DfE data assets will soon be available directly from ONS.

  2. Uploaded new versions of the National Pupil Database data tables, Higher Education Statistics Agency data tables, and the application form and guidance.

  3. Uploaded new versions of the National Pupil Database data tables, School Workforce data tables, Individualised Learner Record data tables and the Higher Education Statistics Agency data tables and made minor updates to the application form, guidance and information security questionnaire.

  4. Updated the application form and guidance to apply for access to DfE personal data through the ONS SRS. Also updated the National Pupil Database data table.

  5. First published.