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The DfE technical guidance and its content is intended for internal use by the DfE community.

Licensing software or code

Everything we produce or use, whether open or closed, should have an appropriate licence applied (as indicated by the service manual). Without a licence, others (even within the DfE) have no way of knowing for sure if they can use it, or how.

At the DfE, we use the MIT License.

Applying the MIT License to our work

Each repository should include a licence file

This should be called LICENCE or “License” is the U.S. English spelling.

GitHub will still show licence details for the British English spelling.

Make sure the licence content is included in full, including the title “The MIT License”, so that readers are quickly able to see what licence is being used.

The Copyright is Crown Copyright; you can put “Department for Education” in brackets. For example:

Copyright (c) 2017 Crown Copyright (Department for Education)

The year should be the year the code was first published. Where the code is continually updated with significant changes, the year can be shown as a period from first to most recent update (e.g. 2015-2017).


Apply for teacher training has a good example of our licence.

Reusing or incorporating others’ work

If a repository or package you want to reuse or build on doesn’t have a licence, we can’t be sure we legally have the right to use it in the way we want.

When adapting an existing project, or incorporating code from one, you should provide proper attribution to the source in your licence. There’s a good guide to proper copyright and licence attribution from the WordPress Theme Review Team.

This repository’s licence file is a good example of how to attribute incorporated works’ licences.