Individuals have various rights under Data Protection Law to access and understand personal data about them held by the school, and in some cases ask for it to be erased or amended or have it transferred to others, or for the school to stop processing it – but subject to certain exemptions and limitations.
Any individual wishing to access or amend their personal data, or wishing it to be transferred to another person or organisation, or who has some other objection to how their personal data is used, should put their request in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The school will endeavour to respond to any such written requests as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any event within statutory time-limits (which is one month in the case of requests for access to information).
The school will be better able to respond quickly to smaller, targeted requests for information. If the request for information is manifestly excessive or similar to previous requests, the school may ask you to reconsider, or require a proportionate fee (but only where Data Protection Law allows it).
- Requests that cannot be fulfilled
You should be aware that the right of access is limited to your own personal data, and certain data is exempt from the right of access. This will include information which identifies other individuals (and parents need to be aware this may include their own children, in certain limited situations – please see further below), or information which is subject to legal privilege (for example legal advice given to or sought by the school, or documents prepared in connection with a legal action).
The school is also not required to disclose any pupil examination scripts (or other information consisting solely of pupil test answers), provide examination or other test marks ahead of any ordinary publication, nor share any confidential reference given by the school itself for the purposes of the education, training or employment of any individual.
You may have heard of the “right to be forgotten”. However, we will sometimes have compelling reasons to refuse specific requests to amend, delete or stop processing your (or your child’s) personal data: for example, a legal requirement, or where it falls within a legitimate interest identified in this Privacy Notice. All such requests will be considered on their own merits.
Pupils can make subject access requests for their own personal data, provided that, in the reasonable opinion of the school, they have sufficient maturity to understand the request they are making (see section Whose Rights? below). A pupil of any age may ask a parent or other representative to make a subject access request on his/her behalf.
Indeed, while a person with parental responsibility will generally be entitled to make a subject access request on behalf of younger pupils, the law still considers the information in question to be the child’s: for older pupils, the parent making the request may need to evidence their child’s authority for the specific request.
It should be clearly understood that the rules on subject access are not the sole basis on which information requests are handled. Parents may not have a statutory right to information, but they and others will often have a legitimate interest or expectation in receiving certain information about pupils without their consent. The school may consider there are lawful grounds for sharing with or without reference to that pupil.
Parents will in general receive educational and pastoral updates about their children, in accordance with the Schools Terms and Conditions.
All information requests from, on behalf of, or concerning pupils – whether made under subject access or simply as an incidental request – will therefore be considered on a case by case basis.
Where the school is relying on consent as a means to process personal data, any person may withdraw this consent at any time (subject to similar age considerations as above). Please be aware however that the school may not be relying on consent but have another lawful reason to process the personal data in question even without your consent.
The rights under Data Protection Law belong to the individual to whom the data relates. However, the school will often rely on parental authority or notice for the necessary ways it processes personal data relating to pupils – for example, under the parent contract, or via a form. Parents and pupils should be aware that this is not necessarily the same as the school relying on strict consent (see section on Consent above).
Where consent is required, it may in some cases be necessary or appropriate – given the nature of the processing in question, and the pupil’s age and understanding – to seek the pupil’s consent. Parents should be aware that in such situations they may not be consulted, depending on the interests of the child, the parents’ rights at law or under their contract, and all the circumstances.
In general, the school will assume that pupils’ consent is not required for ordinary disclosure of their personal data to their parents, e.g. for the purposes of keeping parents informed about the pupil’s activities, progress and behaviour, and in the interests of the pupil’s welfare. That is unless, in the school’s opinion, there is a good reason to do otherwise.
However, where a pupil seeks to raise concerns confidentially with a member of staff and expressly withholds their agreement to their personal data being disclosed to their parents, the school may be under an obligation to maintain confidentiality unless, in the school’s opinion, there is a good reason to do otherwise; for example where the school believes disclosure will be in the best interests of the pupil or other pupils, or if required by law.
Pupils are required to respect the personal data and privacy of others, and to comply with the school’s IT Pupil User Guide and the school rules. Staff are under professional duties to do the same as covered under the relevant staff guidelines.