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  4. School websites, pupil records, data protection and privacy

School websites, pupil records, data protection and privacy

Schools and we, as the local authority, have a legal duty to keep records of certain educational matters. We follow strict national guidelines about the type of information we can keep, how we can use it, and how we should protect it. We also have a duty to make certain data about schools available. Select a topic below to read in more detail about our information governance.

Pupil records

Schools are responsible for keeping records on your child throughout their school career. These must cover the following areas:

  • Their name, address and date of birth
  • The schools, colleges or similar educational institutions they have attended
  • Information about their academic progress
  • An accurate record of what has happened throughout their school career 
  • Records of who has supported them and why

Schools need to keep records in order to provide an effective education for your child, and we may need to consult the data to offer appropriate support services to them as an individual, to their school or the wider community, or to make strategic plans about schools provision throughout our area. Typical examples of how we use school records include the following:

  • To make sure that the staff in the school and with council services have accurate, up to date information to plan support for your child in the best way we can
  • To make sure that school and council services meet the needs of local communities
  • To make sure that full information is available, if your child needs another type of support, for example a referral to a specialist service (such as speech therapy, or educational psychology)
  • To make sure that we or the school can look into your concerns properly, if you or your child have a complaint
  • To make sure we have an accurate record if we have to review your child's support
  • To check that everyone at your child's school is getting enough support
  • To check that our staff are working well
  • To plan for the future, both locally and nationally, and to monitor the way we spend public money

We have a legal duty to maintain the highest level of confidentiality. There are strict controls over the circumstances when it is acceptable to share pupil school records. Wherever possible, we will talk to you and your child before information is shared to ensure we act with your consent. If we're unable to get your consent for any reason, we will only share information where we feel it is clearly in your child's best interests to do so.

We will normally ask for your or your child's consent, but there are rare times when we may need to share information without your consent, such as the following circumstances:

  • where there is a risk of harm or abuse to your child or other people
  • where a serious crime, such as assault, is being investigated, or could be prevented
  • to control infectious diseases, such as meningitis, tuberculosis (TB) or measles
  • notification of a birth
  • where the courts have made a formal order
  • where there is a legal requirement, for example the Department for Education Annual Pupil Census
  • where we need to share information with other council services, in order to deliver appropriate services to you and your family. Generally, your child's records will only be seen by those involved in supporting them.

When information is shared, it is passed securely and kept confidential by the people who receive it. It will only be used for the purpose for which it has been shared. We only include 'identifying details' such as name and address when we have a legal obligation to do so.

If you want to view pupil records

If you have concerns about the information stored about your child, please contact the Strategic Director of our People and Communities Department, Mike Bowden by email, or by post:

  • Mike Bowden
  • Strategic Director: People and Communities
  • Lewis House
  • Manvers Street
  • Bath
  • BA1 1JG 

If you or your child wish to see or have a copy of school records, or for for further information about your school's individual policies, please contact the headteacher directly.

You should be aware that in exceptional circumstances some information may be withheld to protect you from undue harm, or where a third party is involved. You will usually see all of the information, but very rarely there may be legal reasons why we cannot share everything with you.

School organisation notices, consultations and responses

We have a legal duty to publish our proposals for certain sorts of major school organisation projects, such as opening new schools, and closing, expanding or amalgamating existing ones. In these cases, we will give parents, teachers and members of the public an opportunity to comment on our suggestions, and contribute to our decision making.

We publish these consultations, and any public comments that are made on them, on our website for a period of three years. There are strict rules on how we handle your data; if you would like to read about them in more detail, you can view our privacy notice for public consultations on school organisation. 

School websites

All schools must now have a website, and there are national standards about the information that schools must publish online. Please contact the school directly if you cannot find any of the information in the list below on their site.

Things school websites must include
  • Admissions policy and arrangements, including how to apply
  • Details of the curriculum
  • Behaviour policy (including policy on dealing with bullying)
  • Links to Ofsted reports
  • Links to performance data
  • The school’s latest Key Stages 2 and 4 attainment and progress measures
  • Their policies for children with special educational needs and disabilities
  • The amount of money they receive to support underprivileged children (the ‘pupil premium’), what they do with it, and the effect it’s had on student attainment