Privacy and cookies information

Education Scotland is committed to protecting our visitors' personal information. We want our online service to be safe for everyone. We aim to help you to understand what information we might collect about you through the use of cookies and how we use it.


What is a cookie?

Most websites you visit will use cookies in order to improve your user experience by enabling that website to ‘remember’ you, either for the duration of your visit or for repeat visits.

Cookies do lots of different jobs, like letting you navigate between pages efficiently, storing your preferences, and generally improving your experience of a website. Cookies make the interaction between you and the website faster and easier. If a website doesn’t use cookies, it will think you are a new visitor every time you move to a new page on the site – for example, when you enter your login details and move to another page it won’t recognise you and it won’t be able to keep you logged in.

What's in a cookie?

A cookie is a simple text file that is stored on your computer or mobile device by a website’s server and only that server will be able to retrieve or read the contents of that cookie. Each cookie is unique to your web browser. It will contain some anonymous information such as a unique identifier and the site name and some digits and numbers. It allows a website to remember things like your preferences.

Cookies may be set by the website you are visiting ('first party cookies') or they may be set by other websites who run content on the page you are viewing ('third party cookies').

First party cookies set by Education Scotland to offer you a personalised experience

Education Scotland cookies allow us to keep track of your browsing so you don't get asked for the same information you've already given to the site. Some private areas of the Education Scotland website require you to provide your login credentials. You can set your browser not to accept cookies but, if you do this, please be aware that certain personalised areas of the Education Scotland website cannot be provided to you.

Note that where you are asked to provide login credentials, your name and email address will never be disclosed to a third party.

Cookie NameDescription
A cookie with a name similar to these will be set for the duration of the user’s session to maintain a variety of information, eg seminar choices for SLF, wishlist of CPD opportunities etc
_shib_session_.......When a user accesses services on the Education Scotland site which are protected by their Glow log-in, this cookie is set for the duration of their session so that they only have to log into Glow once.
PHPSESSIDUsed by our blogs for the duration of a user’s session.
ES_Accepts_CookiesThis cookie is used to record if a user has accepted the use of cookies on websites operated by Education Scotland.

First party cookies set by Google Analytics to measure Education Scotland website traffic

To measure its website traffic, Education Scotland uses Google Analytics. The data gathered by Google Analytics allows Education Scotland to determine how well its online service is performing. As part of its continuous improvement ethos, Education Scotland analyses the extent to which all its web content is accessed and consumed. Where necessary, it will make enhancements to improve the service.

Google Analytics sets anonymous and benign first party cookies to allow it to perform the measurements Education Scotland requires. Numerous measurements are made including the number of website visitors, visits and page views as well as the city/country in which visitors are located.

Google Analytics demographics and interests reporting

Google Analytics also provides Education Scotland with demographics and interests reporting capability. This lets Education Scotland better understand how its website audience breaks down by age, gender and interests. 

To achieve this kind of reporting, Education Scotland has enabled Google Analytics to collect data about its traffic via Google's third party DoubleClick tracking cookie and anonymous identifiers. No data associated with age, gender or interests is ever in any way personalised. Rather, all such data is completely anonymous. Visitors to the Education Scotland website can elect to opt out of allowing Google Analytics to collect anonymous data for the purpose of demographics and interests reporting or any other reporting offered through Google Analytics to Education Scotland.

Note that all data, demographics or otherwise, is anonymised – Google Analytics does not collect personally identifiable information. To learn more, visit Google Analytics Terms of Service which contains a section dedicated to Privacy. Globally and in the European Union member states Google sets the cookies shown in the table below.

Cookie NameDescription
A persistent cookie which remains on a computer, unless it expires or the cookie cache is cleared. It tracks visitors. Metrics associated with the Google _utma cookie include: first visit (unique visit), last visit (returning visit).
_utmb and _utmc
These two cookies work in tandem to calculate visit length. Google _utmb cookie demarks the exact arrival time, then Google _utmc registers the precise exit time of the user. Because _utmb counts entrance visits, it is a session cookie, and expires at the end of the session, e.g. when the user leaves the page. A timestamp of 30 minutes must pass before Google cookie _utmc expires. _utmc cannot tell if a browser or website session ends. Therefore, if no new page view is recorded in 30 minutes the cookie is expired. This is a standard 'grace period' in web analytics.
Monitors the HTTP referrer and notes where a visitor arrived from, with the referrer categorised in terms of type of traffic arriving at the website (search engine, direct, social and unaccounted). From the HTTP referrer, the _utmz cookie also registers what keyword generated the visit plus geolocation data. This cookie lasts six months.
This cookie is a persistent cookie. It is used for data segmentation.

Other third party cookies

Cookie NameDescription


Occasionally there are YouTube videos embedded on our site or our blogs.  These cookies will be set by YouTube.


Cookies set by Google Maps when used on sites such as Scottish Schools Online.
BIGipServerprod_as101202_http_poolA cookie with this (or a similar) name will be used by Ordnance Survey maps which appear on our Outdoor Learning site.

How can I control my cookies?

You can use your web browser to:

  • delete all cookies
  • block all cookies
  • allow all cookies
  • block third-party cookies
  • clear all cookies when you close the browser
  • open a 'private browsing' session
  • install add-ons and plug-ins to extend browser functionality.

Where do I find information about controlling cookies through my browser?

Internet Explorer - Microsoft help – How to delete cookie files in Internet Explorer

Chrome - Chrome help – Manage cookies

Firefox - Firefox help – Give certain websites the ability to store passwords, set cookies and more 

Apple browsers including Safari – Support for cookies

Privacy information

Image of a sole penguin standing on a small iceberg, surrounded by sea

Education Scotland takes your privacy seriously and recognises that your privacy is important to you. Education Scotland is registered with the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998 and is committed to respecting online privacy.

We will apply appropriate protection and management of any personally identifiable information you share with us. Any personal information you do provide will be held and processed by Education Scotland in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. We will not pass on your details to any third party unless you give us permission to do so.

The following privacy statement covers the Education Scotland website at; it does not cover other websites to which links are provided from this website.

Privacy statement

The Data Protection Act 1998 protects the rights of individuals by making sure that any organisation that collects or holds information about living people does so in a way that is fair to those people.

Education Scotland takes your privacy seriously and is committed to responsible handling of personal information in accordance with our Information Charter, which is as follows.

When we ask for personal information we promise:

  • to make sure you know why we need it.
  • to ask only for what we need, and not to collect too much or irrelevant information.
  • to protect it and make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn't.
  • to let you know if we share it with other organisations to give you better public services - and if you can say no.
  • to make sure we don't keep it longer than necessary.
  • not to make your personal information available for commercial use without your permission.

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