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Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your computer, mobile phone or tablet. These are known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

What are cookies?

Cookies are used to improve services for you by:

  • enabling a service to recognise your computer so you don't have to give the same information several times during one task
  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don't need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so that popular services can be made easier and faster to use
  • analysing anonymous data to help us understand how people interact with government services so we can make them better

What do cookies look like?

If you click on a cookie you'll see a short string of text and numbers. The numbers are your identification card, which can only be seen by the website server that gave you the cookie.

How we use cookies

The Department of Education uses few cookies. The section below provides more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Measuring website usage

We use Webtrends to collect information about how people use this website.  We do this to make sure it’s meeting people's needs and to understand how we could meet those needs better.

Webtrends stores information about what pages you visit, how long you are on the site, how you got here and what you click on. We do not collect or store your personal details such as your name or address. We cannot identify who you are.

We do not allow Webtrends to use or share any information we collect with other third parties.


Name of cookie Typical content Expires
WT_FPC randomly generated number including your public IP address 10 years

Service availability

DE uses cookies to help improve service availability and security.

Name of cookie Typical content Expires
NIGOV randomly generated number 2 years

Other cookies served by the DE website

Cookies for maintaining your session

Some services that DE provides require cookies to provide a joined-up session.  These type of cookies may help you complete online forms without having to re-enter information already provided. Examples include the Schools+ database and online consultations.

Name of cookie Typical content Expires
ASP.NET_SessionId randomly generated number when you close your browser

How to manage your cookies

We will not use cookies to collect personally identifiable information about you. However, if you wish to restrict or block the cookies which are set by the DE website, or any other website, you can do this through your browser settings. Your browser is the way you access the internet for example Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari. The ‘Help’ function within your browser should tell you how you can restrict or block cookies.

For information on how to restrict or block cookies on the browser of your mobile phone you will need to refer to your handset manual.

Alternatively, you will also find details on how to restrict or delete cookies on a wide variety of browsers, as well as more general information about cookies, on the About Cookies website through the following link.

Please be aware that restricting cookies may impact on the way our website works for you.

Cookies on social networking websites

We have links on some pages to social networking websites (for example Facebook and YouTube). These websites may place cookies on your computer.

The social networking sites that DE links to are third party sites and DE does not have any control over the way that these sites use your data.  You should read their respective privacy policies carefully to find out what happens to any data that is collected when you use these services and to consider whether you want to opt out.


Facebook is a social networking website that has millions of users worldwide. You register and create a profile. You can then add friends to your profile and exchange information with friends. Facebook also allows people to start groups and fan pages as well as bookmarking other web pages.


YouTube is a video hosting and distribution platform owned by Google.


Flickr is a photo sharing website