Data protection

The University takes the security and integrity of all the personal data it holds very seriously. We have an Information Security Policy and all staff are trained in Data Protection

Data collection processes for evaluation and monitoring Widening Participation activities

The University of Sheffield undertakes outreach activities with schools, colleges and communities across the UK, to support progression and widen participation into higher education. This is part of our commitment as a university to open opportunities and transform lives, as well as part of government policy to widen participation in higher education, as overseen by the Office for Students.

We collect details of individuals taking part in our activities for the following reasons:

  • To plan activities
  • To monitor participation in activities
  • To evaluate and report on the effectiveness and impact of our outreach activities
  • To understand the student journey through education and progression to higher education/future careers

Under data protection law we are able to process this data because it is necessary for a task carried out in the public interest.


Data collection

We collect the following data from individuals either directly, or via schools and colleges for evaluation and monitoring purposes:

  • Full name and date of birth
  • Postcode
  • School/College name
  • Unique Learner ID
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability details
  • Looked after child / Care leaver status
  • Young Carer status
  • Estranged status
  • First generation in the family to enter higher education
  • Pupil premium/free school meals
  • Other equal opportunity monitoring information where appropriate

The amount of data that we collect depends upon the intensity and purpose of our activities.


Data storage and security

The privacy of students is important to us and the University takes care to safeguard it. Information will be used and stored in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018, as well as all legislation enacted in the UK in respect of the protection of personal data ("Data Protection Legislation").

Student data will be stored on a secure database (the Higher Education Access Tracker) and used to administer participation in outreach activities and projects. For evaluation and monitoring purposes only, this data may also be shared back with your school or college, with the University of Sheffield’s Widening Participation Research and Evaluation Unit (WPREU), with government and funding bodies*, our collaborative partners** and authorised third party organisations for event management*** to help run and evaluate the effectiveness of this activity. The project and its partners will not use your record in a way that would affect you individually and we will not release data to anyone who is unauthorised. The University does not and will not, sell personal data to third party organisations.

*Government and funding bodies include: Office for Students, Higher Education Statistics Agency, Department for Education, Local Authorities

**Our collaborative partners include: Universities, Schools and Colleges, Higher Education Progression Partnership (and South Yorkshire +), Higher Education Access Tracker (HEAT) service subscribers

*** Authorised third party organisations for management of specific events and programmes include: Eventbrite and Peerz Academy


Data retention

We keep student data for extended periods of time to enable us to determine whether our outreach activities have been successful in widening access to Higher Education. We will retain records securely for the durations detailed below, and will review our retention periods annually in line with Information Commissioner’s Office guidance and other best practice in the sector.

Under 21 years old at the time of first outreach activity: 

Your data will be retained for 15 years after graduation or until 30 years of age (whichever is greater)

Over 21 years old at the time of first outreach activity:

Your data will be retained for 15 years after graduation, or for 10 years after your first outreach activity

After this time has been reached, data will be anonymised in bulk at the beginning of the next academic year.


Your rights

You have a number of rights under data protection law, including the 'right to object' or request for your data to be removed from our system. If you have a query, complaint or would like a copy of the data you have supplied to us, please contact our Widening Participation team via email heat@sheffield.ac.uk or telephone 0114 2221027.

Access Sheffield

Depending on circumstances, we may be able to give undergraduate applications additional consideration when we receive them.