Ceist Pharlaiminte

Chun an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíoctha
To the Minister for Education and Science

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills regarding the primary online
database, if she will provide in tabular form the Government Departments
including her Department, agencies and others who will have access to or are
provided student information from the database; if she will provide a list of
the precise information or parts of the system that each will have access to;
the reason information should be retained until the child reaches the age of
30; if additional comments added at the discretion of the school will be
visible to Departments, agencies and others or could be transferred as part of
the process of migrating the student file to another school; and if she will
make a statement on the matter.
– Anthony Lawlor.

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 14th January, 2015.
Reference Number: 1338/15


Minister Jan O’Sullivan

The Primary Online Database (POD) may only be accessed through password
controlled accounts. Only the school that the pupil attends and a small number
of Department staff will have access to an account. No agency or other
Government Department will have access to the Primary Online Database.
The Department proposes in the future to share some of the personal data stored
on POD with other State bodies. These are:
• Central Statistics Office, under the Statistics Acts to assist with the
compilation of national statistics.
• The National Council for Special Education, under the Education Welfare Act,
in order to assist in supporting resource allocation in relation to pupils with
special educational needs.
• The Child and Family Agency, under the Education Welfare Act, to ensure that
each child of compulsory school age is in receipt of an education.
• To meet the Department’s business needs in regard to the allocation of
resources to schools, the Department will share a limited amount of each
pupil’s personal data, including a child’s PPS number with the Department of
Public Expenditure and Reform PPSN validation service, or directly with the
Department of Social Protection Client Identity Database area, in order to
validate the identity of each pupil and ensure that the correct resource
allocation is granted to each school.

The Department will put in place a data user agreement with each of these
bodies, which includes the purpose for which the body requires the data, its
storage, security and retention.
The current retention policy for Primary Online Database (POD) data is for
records to be maintained for the longer of either the period up to the pupil’s
30th Birthday or for a period of ten years since the student was last enrolled
in a primary school. In future schools will no longer be required to keep the
Clárleabhar therefore POD will be the official register of pupils in schools
and data will be retained to allow pupils to obtain their records in the
future. The Department’s retention policy is for audit and accounting purposes
as pupil’s data is used in the allocation of teaching posts and funding to
schools. The policy also serves to trace retention trends in the education
system, is important for longitudinal research and policy formation, as well as
being an important statistical indicator nationally and internationally.
Aggregate and not individual data is used for the majority of these purposes.
This retention policy has been agreed with the Data Protection Commissioner and
the Department is continually reviewing its retention policy for pupil data in
consultation with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner.

The notes area on POD was suggested by the management bodies for schools that
will use POD as their only administrative system for information which is
required at school level only. This information does not transfer with the
pupil to another school and once POD is fully operational this area will not be
visible to Department users. Under no circumstance are the additional comments
available to Departments, agencies or anyone outside of the pupil’s current