How we look after your personal data

Apply for teacher training and Manage teacher training applications are run by the Department for Education (‘we’).

Any information we collect when you use our services will be used and looked after by:

  • the Department for Education, and/or
  • the teacher training providers the candidate applies to

This means we’re joint data controllers, as well as data processors, for your information (defined by data protection law).

Apply for teacher training and Manage teacher training applications are new services. We’re confident that they’ve met our security standards, but we’ll continue to run security tests as we improve the service. Like with any digital service, there’s always a chance of data breaches happening.

What personal data we collect

The personal data we collect will depend on whether you’re a candidate, a referee, or a staff member at a teacher training provider.

What data we collect if you’re a candidate

If you’re a candidate using Apply for teacher training, we may collect the following information about you:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • phone number
  • email address
  • any other information you choose to share during the application process - for example, you can choose to share equality and diversity information, or give information about your criminal record

What data we collect if you’re a referee

If you’re a referee, we got your information from a teacher training candidate. They told us:

  • your name
  • email address
  • how you know the candidate

We may also collect:

  • any personal data you include in your reference
  • any information you give us if you consent to be contacted for user research

What data we collect if you work for a training provider

If you process teacher training applications, we may need to collect information about you so we can process applications, for example:

  • your name
  • your email address
  • your phone number
  • where you work
  • what your role is

How we use your data

Processing applications

Processing applications includes the following:

  • sending applications and references to training providers
  • managing communications between candidates and training providers
  • managing communications between referees and training providers
  • working out any funding candidates are entitled to
  • getting in touch if there’s a security issue concerning your data
  • getting in touch with candidates and training providers about their applications

Building a better teacher training application process

We’ll use your data to help us build a better teacher training application process.

For example, we’ll look at any feedback you give us about our services so we can improve them.

If you’re a candidate or you work at a teacher training provider, we may contact you to carry out user research.

If you’re a referee, we’ll ask you to consent before contacting you for user research.

Getting insight to make government policy better

We might analyse your data to help us inform government policy around teacher recruitment and retention.

Using your data lawfully

We need to use personal data for the purposes mentioned above. Most of these purposes are a public task (defined in data protection law).

However, if we contacted you asking for a reference, this was in our legitimate interests (defined in data protection law) because we need references to process applications.

If you give a reference, we use your data to meet our public task (processing applications, building a better service and improving policy). To help us do this, we’ll ask for your consent (defined in data protection law) to be contacted for user research.

If you’re a candidate or a referee, we’ll also ask for your consent before using cookies to get statistics from Google Analytics.

Who we share your data with

We need to share personal data for the purposes mentioned above.

We do so under section 132 of the Education Act 2002, together with regulation 5 of the Education (School Teachers’ Qualifications) (England) Regulations 2003.

Sharing data with teacher training providers

We share teacher training applicant and referee data with the teacher training providers the candidate applies to.

We have a data sharing agreement with providers so they can only use your data to:

  • process applications, which may include contacting candidates
  • get statistics for internal use
  • get in touch with you if there’s a security issue concerning your data

Sharing candidate data with referees

We’ll share candidate names with referees so the referee can identify the candidate and give a reference.

We may need to share a bit more information to help the referee identify the candidate, such as how the candidate knows the referee.

Sharing candidate data with UCAS

We’ll share candidate data with UCAS.

This is so UCAS can check applications across UCAS and Apply for teaching training.

For example, UCAS will tell us if a candidate accepts offers on both services and we will contact the candidate if this is the case.

External organisations who process data

Customer service systems

We use a customer service management system to process some personal data, such as feedback you send us.

Zendesk are currently our preferred customer service management system because they use various safeguards to look after your data.


We’ll ask if you agree to cookies so that we can get statistics from Google Analytics. If you consent, Google may be able to get your IP address. We use Google Analytics for statistics and will not identify you personally from these.

We also use Google’s G Suite to process some personal data. For example, we’ll ask referees to send a reference via Google Forms and process the data using Google Sheets.

Google processes your data according to our instructions.

Hosting services

We host our services on Microsoft Azure Cloud, which encrypts your data to prevent it being accessed by unauthorised people.

How long we keep your data

We only keep your data for as long as needed for the uses listed above.

We will delete your data after 7 years.

Your rights

Under the Data Protection Act 2018, you have the right to find out what data we have about you. This includes the right to:

  • be informed about how your data is being used
  • access personal data
  • have incorrect data updated
  • have data erased
  • stop or restrict the processing of your data
  • get and reuse your data for different services
  • object to how your data is processed in certain circumstances

You can find more information about how we handle personal data in our personal information charter.

Getting help and raising a concern

If you want to ask us to remove your data or get access to the data we have about you, you can email us:

You can also use our contact form to get in touch with our Data Protection Officer.

Once a candidate has enrolled with a teacher training provider, we will not be able to ask them to remove personal data from their systems. Please contact the provider separately.

For further information or to raise a concern, visit the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Keeping our privacy policy up to date

We might need to update this privacy policy occasionally. Please review the policy now and then.

This version was last updated on 25 November 2019.