Freedom of Information and GDPR
Freedom of information: publication scheme
All public authorities, including schools, are required under the Freedom of Information Act to adopt a publication scheme that has been approved by the Information Commissioner.
There is currently one approved model publication scheme, which has been produced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Schools must adopt the ICO’s model scheme and make it publicly available.
You can view the ICO’s model publication scheme here.
In principle, with regards to data collection, we are now required to carefully consider:
- what data we need from you
- why we need it
- what we will do with it
- where it will be stored
- who we may share it with, and why
- how we will dispose of data
- how long we will keep it
GDPR and Schools
The new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is replacing the current Data Protection Act (DPA) and is set to strengthen and unify all data held within an organisation. For schools, GDPR brings a new responsibility to inform parents and stakeholders about how they are using pupils’ data and who it is being used by.
What does GDPR mean for schools?
A great deal of the processing of personal data undertaken by schools will fall under a specific legal basis, ‘in the public interest’. As it is in the public interest to operate schools successfully, it will mean that specific consent will not be needed in the majority of cases in schools.
GDPR will ensure data is protected and will give individuals more control over their data, however this means schools will have greater accountability for the data:
- Under GDPR, consent must be explicitly given to anything that isn’t within the normal business of the school, especially if it involves a third party managing the data. Parents must express consent for their child’s data to be used outside of the normal business of the school.
- Schools must appoint a Data Protection Officer and be able to prove that they are GDPR compliant.
- Schools must ensure that their third party suppliers who may process any of their data is GDPR compliant and must have legally binding contracts with any company that processes any personal data. These contracts must cover what data is being processed, who it is being processed by, who has access to it and how it is protected.
- It will be compulsory that all data breaches which are likely to have a detrimental effect on the data subject are reported to the ICO within 72 hours
Your Child's Data
As a school we require some essential data from parents. This data can be simply routine information such as your address, contact telephone numbers or details of any medical conditions your child may have. Such information is legally required by schools and ensures that children and their families are well served by the school for routine matters.
In most cases, this data will be provided by you in written form but will then be processed and entered onto the school's information management system (computer system). Please be assured that our systems are:
- password protected
- restricted to those with a 'need to know'
- regularly backed up externally
- managed in accordance with the law and local guidance
However, as a school we also handle and use a much wider variety of data which may include; CCTV recordings, test and assessment data, referrals to other agencies and SEND and medical information.
Our Published Guide to Information
Schools should publish a guide to information alongside the publication scheme.
The guide should specify:
- the documents available
- the format of the documents
- any charges made for the information
You can view our published guide to information here.
GDPR Mind Map for Parents
Under the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), we are required to provide certain information to data subjects (the people we hold information about). This is normally through a through a privacy or ‘fair processing notice’. Our privacy notice tells you what data we collect, why, how we will store it and how lng we will keep it. You can find our Privacy Notice here.
You have the right to withdraw permission for some information we hold about your child and yourself. We provide an opportunity at least annually to review this data on the ‘Data Collection’ form sent out at the start of each academic year, but you can request to see or make changes at any time by contacting the school office.
If you have any enquiries in relation to GDPR, please contact Mr. Garrie Smith (Data Protection Officer) by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org