How is the information held about my child protected?
Schools, local education authorities and the Department for Education and Skills (the government department which deals with education) all hold information on pupils in order to run the education system, and in doing so have to follow the Data Protection Act 1998. This means, among other things, that the data held about pupils must only be used for specific purposes allowed by law. We are therefore writing to tell you about the types of data held, why that data is held, and to whom it may be passed on.
North Park Primary School holds information on pupils in order to
- support their teaching and learning,
- monitor and report on their progress,
- provide appropriate pastoral care, and
- assess how well the school as a whole is doing.
This information includes contact details, National Curriculum assessment results, attendance information, characteristics such as ethnic group, special educational needs and any relevant medical information.
From time to time we are required to pass on some of this data to the Local Education Authority (LA), to another school to which the pupil is transferring, to the Department for Education (DfE), and to Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) which is responsible for the National Curriculum and associated assessment arrangements. Local arrangements exist to transfer relevant information to primary health care services.
The Local Education Authority uses information about pupils to carry out specific functions for which it is responsible, such as the assessment of any special educational needs the pupil may have and arrangements for the transport of pupils to and from school. It also uses the information to derive statistics to inform decisions on (for example) the funding of schools, and to assess the performance of schools and set targets for them. The statistics are used in such a way that individual pupils cannot be identified from them.
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority uses information about pupils to administer the National Curriculum tests and assessments for Key Stages 1 to 3. The results of these are passed on to DfE in order for it to compile statistics on trends and patterns in levels of achievement. The QCA uses the information to evaluate the effectiveness of the National Curriculum and the associated assessment arrangements, and to ensure that these are continually improved.
The Department for Education uses information about pupils for statistical purposes, to evaluate and develop education policy and to monitor the performance of the education service as a whole. The statistics (including those based on information provided by the QCA) are used in such a way that individual pupils cannot be identified from them. The DfE will feed back to LAs and schools information about their pupils where they are lacking this information because it was not passed on by a former school. On occasion information may be shared with other Government departments or agencies strictly for statistical or research purposes only.
Pupils, as data subjects, have certain rights under the Data Protection Act, including a general right of access to personal data held on them, with parents exercising this right on their behalf if they are too young to do so themselves. If you wish to access the personal data held about your child, then please contact the relevant organisation in writing:
– the school at North Park Primary School, Bessemer Green, Spennymoor, Durham DL16 6PP;
– the LA’s Data Protection Officer at The Education Department, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UJ;
– the QCA’s Data Protection Officer at QCA, 83 Piccadilly, LONDON, W1J 8QA:
– the DfES’s Data Protection Officer at DfES, Caxton House, Tothill Street, LONDON, SW1H 9NA
The Freedom of Information Act (FOI) Act 2000
The Freedom of Information Act requires publicly funded bodies, including schools, to be clear about the information they publish. We have produced a publication scheme setting out all the information we publish on a regular basis and where to find it. Ask the school office to let you see the scheme or provide you with a copy free of charge.
Access to Information
The school is very happy to share any information about the school and its Policies, provided it is not confidential. Copies of the Complaints Policy and the Reports and Minutes of the Governing Body are available at all times in school. Other policies are available on request.
What can I do if I have a problem or wish to complain?
We work hard to ensure the smooth running of the school, and hope that parents feel any issues are dealt with promptly and fairly. If you have a query regarding your child please contact the class teacher who will deal with the matter promptly, or if unavailable (ie during registration/lesson time) will make an appointment to see you.
If it is a more serious matter which needs immediate attention then the Head Teacher or Deputy Head will listen sympathetically and endeavour to resolve your concerns.
There is also a School Complaints Procedure available from the Head Teacher.