DATA PROTECTION ACT
School, 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.
The School holds information on pupils in order to support their teaching and learning, to monitor and report on their progress, to provide appropriate pastoral care, and to assess how well the school as a whole is doing. This information includes contact details, National Curriculum assessment results, attendance information, and characteristics such as ethnic group, special educational needs and any relevant medical information.
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. 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 support them in setting targets. 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 test and assignments for Key Stage 1 & 2, The results of these are passed on to DfES 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 of Education and Skills 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 DfES will feed back to LEAs and school 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 Lady Joanna Thornhill Primary School, Bridge St, Wye, Ashford, Kent TN25 5EA
- The LEA’s Data Protection Officer at Room 2.42 Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1XQ
- The Data Protection Officer at QCA, 83 Piccadilly, London W1J 8QA
- The Data Protection Officer at DfES, Caxton House, Tothill St, London SW1H 9NA