Privacy Notice

This document forms the Privacy Notice for the Working Lives of Teachers and Leaders survey. The survey is longitudinal and will explore the views and experiences of teachers and leaders over time. The survey questions cover a range of areas, from workload and pupil behaviour to school culture and leadership, career reflections and future ambitions. The research findings will be used by the DfE, as part of its broader research programme on the teaching workforce, to design policies that better support teachers, middle leaders, and senior leaders.

Who we are

The Department for Education (DfE): The Department for Education is responsible for children’s services and education, including early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships, and wider skills in England.

IFF Research: IFF Research is an independent social and market research agency, working across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society: UCL IOE is a world-leading centre for research and teaching in education and social science. Their research addresses society’s most important challenges and their teaching inspires students by providing them with first-hand experience of leading-edge research and knowledge creation.

For more information, please visit the websites below.
• Department for Education
• IFF Research

Our roles

The survey is hosted and disseminated on behalf of the Department by IFF Research.

For the purposes of this work, under the definitions of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the role of each involved party is as follows:

• The Data Controller: The Department for Education (DfE)
• Data Processor and Sub-Processor: IFF Research and UCL IOE
• Data Subjects: Teachers and leaders

How we will use your information

The aim of this survey is to collect information to help the DfE to design policies that better support teachers and leaders. Specifically, it will look at in-school factors in recruitment and retention of teachers (e.g., school culture, leadership, opportunities for progression, and relationships among colleagues) according to an intersection of factors such as phase, subject area, length of service, gender, race/ethnic background.

Analysis undertaken using this survey data will look at a general level across the school workforce. The DfE will not use this data to produce analysis at an individual teacher, leader or school level; nor will it allow others to use the data for such purposes. For example, analysis may be done connecting factors identified in the survey with attainment data for pupils, but this would never be at an individual level and so would never allow the identification of individual teachers or schools. Another example might be to link the survey data with wider economic indicators to look at factors affecting retention in schools, but analysis would never be conducted to identify individual schools or trusts.

IFF will receive your personal data from your survey responses. IFF will also receive some personal data from the School’s Workforce Census (SWC) and the DfE’s Online Teacher CPD Service platform, which will be used to ensure the survey is representative of the wider population of teachers and leaders. The SWC and data collected through the Online Teacher CPD Service platform are statutory data collection exercises that take place each year and are used to inform Departmental policy. Data is collected on the “collect once, use many times” principle.

IFF will remove any directly identifying information before sharing the survey data with the DfE. To ensure that survey responses can be fully understood and explored, your survey responses will be linked to information about you which the DfE already holds, or which it is lawfully permitted access (for example data may be linked to Get Information About Schools (GIAS) and to the School Workforce Census). Despite this, your survey responses will remain confidential at all times, with data linking done using an arbitrary key, for example ‘a10000021abc’.

This identifier will be unique to a respondent but will not allow identification of an individual or school. This process is known as pseudonymisation, meaning the new, arbitrary key acts as the identifying ‘name’ for a respondent. Furthermore, analysis will not be broken down by individual teachers or schools, so neither individuals nor schools will be identifiable from the analysis and reporting.

For the purposes of data linking, a restricted number of analysts in the DfE will receive a file containing the links between the arbitrary key from the survey and other arbitrary keys used in the departmental data bases (e.g., teacher reference number, TRN; school reference number, URN).  These files will be encrypted when sent between parties and stored securely; the number of individuals with access to these files will be restricted and copies of the file will be deleted immediately after data linking has been performed. This process will fully comply with the requirements of GDPR in terms of securely handling and storing personal data.

Your survey responses will be kept entirely confidential, in line with the Code of Conduct of the Market Research Society and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): linked information will be pseudonymised before sending to the DfE and will be used for the sole purposes of education research. The DfE and any organisation granted access to the data will hold it securely and not publish, share, or otherwise disclose information which identifies or makes it possible to identify any individual or school participating in the survey.

Findings will be published after each wave of the research. A version of the dataset will be published on the Government’s online data archive and be made available, subject to the DfE’s approval, to other researchers.  This will be shared under the Digital Economy Act, which requires all data shares to be functionally anonymous, hence protecting your personal information and preventing any user from being to identify you or the school you work at. Functional anonymity ensures that no individuals can be identified through the data, by ensuring that no combination of variables in the data set available to a researcher will allow identification of individuals or corporate bodies.

Your personal data

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

• your full name
• gender
• age
• contact information (email address and telephone number)
• ethnic origin
• health data
• medical conditions
• home life (e.g., demographic questions)
• you/your family’s financial and employment situation
• school name

When our use of your personal data is lawful

In order for our use of your personal data to be lawful, we need to meet one (or more) conditions in the data protection legislation. For the purpose of this project, the relevant conditions are:

• Article 6 (1)(e) GDPR, to perform a public task as part of our function as a department
• Article 9 (2)(g) under the substantial public interest condition

• Sections 64-71 of Part 5, Chapter 5 of DEA to share non-identifiable data for research purposes to accredited researchers

Who we will make your personal data available to

The DfE sometimes needs to use other research organisations to help us deliver large pieces of work. In such instances we have a contract with these organisations. For the purposes of this project our contracted partners IFF Research and UCL IOE have been employed to process your personal data on our behalf.

As part of a move to maximise the use of data across the public sector, the Office for National Statistics (ONS)  has set up an online data archive and the pseudonymised data set from this survey will be deposited in that archive. This will allow researchers from the government and third parties, for example, academics or those from other research companies, to access parts of the dataset but ensures that all information delivered to these researchers is functionally anonymous to protect the identity of individuals and institutions. In addition, only researchers who have been accredited and appropriately trained in data protection will be allowed to request data from this service.

How long we will keep your personal data

The DfE will keep a pseudonymised version of your personal data for future analysis, as per the GDPR exemption on retaining personal data used for scientific, or historical research purposes in accordance with Article 89 (1).

IFF will retain your contact details after each year of the study, unless you request that they are removed. This will allow us to invite you to take part in the subsequent waves of the study. If the study continues beyond the initially planned five years, the DfE or an agent on our behalf will ask you at the end of the Year 5 survey if you are happy to be recontacted the following year. In addition, from the second year of the survey we may use your contact details to contact you about related follow up research – this will be within 12 months of you agreeing to recontact for this purpose. If you do not agree to this, you will not be contacted for follow up research.

Your data protection rights

Participation in this research is voluntary. By taking part in the survey you will be consenting to your anonymised responses to be linked with data the DfE already holds, or which it is lawfully permitted access, as set out in the ‘How we will use your information’ section above.

More information about how the DfE handles personal information is published here.

Under UK data protection law, participants have the right to request a copy of their data, change their data, or withdraw from the research at any time. Anyone who wishes to do this can contact a member of the IFF Research team via email at

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

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 20th October 2023.

Contact information

If you have any questions about how your personal information will be used, please contact us and enter Working Lives of Teachers survey as a reference. For the Data Protection Officer (DPO) please contact us and mark it for the attention of the ‘DPO’.