Privacy Policy

Puzzle of the Week (from here on referred to as POTW) strongly believe in the importance of privacy, security and transparency when dealing with data. The processes involved in the running of the competition have been designed to be GDPR compliant. This Privacy Policy has been written to give you as transparent and detailed a description as possible of how and why data are used by POTW.

One of the most important things to note is that with the POTW system, schools do not ever share student data with POTW. Students/parents submit their own data and consent to POTW sharing that data with teachers at their school.

Puzzle of the Week

POTW is run by Andrew Sharpe and Jennifer Dickson.

Andrew is an experienced, freelance, mathematics educator. He has taught mathematics and trained mathematics teachers in many countries across primary schools, secondary schools and universities. He maintains an up to date 'Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service Check' issued in England as well as up to date, online (and in-school) safeguarding qualifications from the NSPCC. He acts as the data protection officer for POTW and can be contacted at

Jennifer is an experienced, practicing mathematics teacher in Scotland. She is a member of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme managed by Disclosure Scotland, and has completed online safeguarding qualifications from the NSPCC . She is the primary contact for schools and teachers for POTW and can be contacted at

Why we ask for data

When a User registers, POTW asks for the following data for the following reasons. Data are not used in any way other than is described here:

  • User's name - To help identify a User, enabling POTW to give them, and their teachers, feedback on their performance in the competition.

  • User's age - To help ensure that they are entered into the correct age category of the competition. Additionally, to ensure they are old enough to offer consent for the use of their data themselves (i.e. 13 or over).

  • User's email address - To be used as a part of their login details and to enable POTW to give them their login details and feedback.

  • School name - To ensure that only teachers from a User's school can access that particular User's data. Additionally, to ensure that a User's answers count towards their school in the leaderboards.

  • Chosen anonymity status - To allow a User to decide whether they wish to appear anonymously or publicly on leaderboards.

  • Parental email address - To help verify the authenticity of parental consent for Users under the age of 13. Additionally, to provide parents with feedback on their child's performance in the competition.

When a teacher registers their school, POTW ask for the following data for the following reasons. Data are not used in any way other than is indicated in these bullet points:

  • Teacher's name - To help identify teachers when communicating. Additionally, to verify that a teacher is a genuine member of staff at the school

  • School name - To identify schools in league tables and to aid communication.

  • School location - To help distinguish between schools with several names. Additionally, to enable the production of a registered schools map.


To register for the POTW competition Users fill out an online registration form. Consent for the storing and sharing of their data is given when submitting that registration form. Users under the age of 13 are not legally allowed to offer that consent themselves, so a parent (or legal guardian) must complete their registration form.

Personal Choice

Consent should always be given freely by all parties. An important example of personal choice is that a teacher can never tell a student that they "must" register for POTW, or be pressure students into doing so.

Sharing of Data

A User's data is shared only with registered teachers from that User's school. Users decide whether their name will be published publicly on leaderboards, or an anonymous code will appear in place of their name. Data are stored securely using Google Drive and are not shared with any other third party.

Storage of Data

All data are stored online using Google Drive, with teachers requiring passwords to access their Users' data. The data controller of Google Drive is is Google LLC. Google LLC is based in the USA so a data transfer takes place from the UK to the USA. This is done in accordance with paragraph 1 of article 45 of the GDPR. Google LLC's confirmation of compliance from European Data Protection Authorities can be found on their GDPR compliance webpage.

User and teacher data are deleted after the conclusion of each competition. These data are deleted before the end of the calendar year in which that competition concluded. For example, data from the 2021-2022 competition will be deleted on or before the 31st December 2022.


POTW will not send any communication such as third-party advertisements, marketing or promotions. Below is a description of the emails that POTW sends.

  • POTW send emails to teachers containing puzzles, competition updates, solutions, and general POTW communication.

  • POTW send emails to Users to give them their User ID numbers and to give them feedback on their progress in the competition.

  • POTW send an email to parents (of Users under the age of 13) to verify the authenticity of the parental consent given on the registration form.


Users and teachers have the following rights with regards to their data.

  • Right to access: POTW will provide a copy of all data, free of charge, in an electronic format at the request of any User. With the POTW system, Users will automatically be emailed a copy of all data stored about them with the solution to the puzzle each week (Users will only receive this email if they submit an answer to that puzzle).

  • Right to be forgotten: At any point Users and/or teachers can withdraw their consent and have their data deleted. It is made clear how this can be done from registration and reminders are given throughout the competition.

  • The right to lodge a complaint: At any point Users may lodge a formal complaint about the handling of their data with the UK's data protection supervisory authority, the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office).