Cookie Statement

Note that general information regarding cookies in this policy is provided in line with guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Specific information regarding how Search Education Trust (comprising of Heartlands High School and The Grove) use cookies on our school websites in order to ensure that our sites are easy to use, is also provided below.

Section A – general information about cookies and how to control them

What are cookies?

A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that is downloaded on to your computer when you visit a website. Cookies are used by many websites and can do a number of things, e.g. remembering your preferences, recording what you have put in your shopping basket, and counting the number of people looking at a website.

Cookies can be either ‘first party cookies’ – i.e. the files are placed on your device by the website you are using or ‘third party cookies’. Third party cookies are issued by web services other than the website you’re looking at the time, and can allow those web services to track you as you browse from site to site. Facebook and Google do this routinely, as do a number of other advertising networks.

The rules on cookies are covered by the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations. The Regulations also cover similar technologies for storing information, e.g. Flash cookies. The Regulations were revised in 2011, and the ICO is responsible for enforcing these rules.

How do the cookie regulations affect me?

You will come across information about cookies on our websites and you will be given choices about how cookies are used.

Like all organisations that operate websites, Search Education Trust is responsible for providing clear information about the way in which we use cookies, and ensuring that all users are able to make the right choices, in line with their preferences.

How can I control my cookies?

Browser controls: 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’ / ‘incognito’ session, which allows you to browse the internet without storing local data; and
  • install add-ons and plug-ins to extend browser functionality.

Where to find additional information about controlling cookies:

Useful additional sources of information:

  • A number of websites provide detailed information on cookies, including org and
  • The Internet Advertising Bureau website Your Online Choices allows you to install opt-out cookies across different advertising networks.
  • Google has developed a browser add-on to allow users to opt-out of Google Analytics across all websites which use this product.
  • New technologies such as Mozilla’s Do Not Track allow you to tell websites not to track you.
  • Internet Explorer has a feature called Tracking Protection Lists which allows you to import a list of websites you want to block.

Report your cookie concerns to the Information Commissioner’s Office

The Information Commissioner’s Office is asking people to report any cookie concerns, in order to help them to find out how organisations are complying with the cookie law. Rather than replying to each person individually, they plan to publish information about numbers and types of concerns reported, and those who have reported concerns know what they’re doing about them.


Section B – use of cookies by Search Education Trust (comprising of Heartlands High School and The Grove)

At Search Education Trust, we ensure that all data collection, processing and storage is in line with the 6 data protection principles of the GDPR. Further information regarding how we ensure that we comply with all the provisions of GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 are available in our Data Protection Policy, which is published on our school websites.

The first principle of the GDPR includes a requirement for transparency in the processing of any and all personal data (which includes online identifiers). As explained above, cookies are small files of letters and numbers that are downloaded on to your computer when you visit a website. They are widely used in order to make websites work, or work more efficiently, as well as to provide information to the owners of the site. The difference between ‘first’ and ‘third’ party cookies is also explained above.

We have undertaken an audit of Search Education Trust and we use the following sorts of cookies on all of our websites in order to make them easy to use:

  • 2 cookies which inform the website what sort of display to present, which is dependent on the device being used, and to anonymously track the use of the site – these expire at the end of the session;
  • 3 Google Analytics cookies which anonymously track how many times pages are requested, how long they are viewed, and how many users are requesting them; Google Analytics is a web analytics service provided by Google, which uses cookies to help us analyse how visitors use the site in the aggregate. The longest these cookies are retained for is 2 years. It does not collect personally identifiable information, and does not track your movements between different websites.
  • 2 cookies which are essential to ensure that the website continues to function as it should throughout the ‘session’ (or time that the user spends visiting it), which don’t expire; and
  • 2 further cookies – one of which prevents the cookie notice reappearing once it has been closed by the user, which never expires, and the other of which Google uses to remember user preferences, which expires after 6 months

Finally, as outlined above, the use of cookies ensures that the websites operate smoothly, and that they are easy for users to navigate. Should you with to set your browser to ‘block all cookies’, the operation of the websites may be compromise