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Under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) ‘education data’ is defined as personal data that consists of information that forms part of an educational record, and is not data concerning health.
This covers most information about current and past pupils that is processed by or on behalf of a school and applies to nearly all schools including maintained schools, independent schools and academies.
Although most personal information a school holds about pupils is likely to form part of their educational records, the following are examples of information that would not fall within these records:
There are two ways in which information held about pupils can be accessed:
It is important to note the following differences between these rights:
If an educational record contains personal data relating to someone other than the requester (such as a family member), you must consider the rules about third-party data under the DPA before disclosing it. The ICO has provided some useful guidance on this issue that can be accessed here.
You should not normally withhold information that identifies a teacher.
You are also exempt from providing education data in response to a subject access request if the education data is supplied in a report, or given as evidence to the court in the course of proceedings and separate rules apply to those proceedings that allow the withholding of the data from the individual it relates to.
In most circumstances, you are also exempt from providing education data in response to a subject access request to the extent that complying with the request would be likely to cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of any individual (for example, there is a safeguarding issue).
Ensure your staff understands the difference between a subject access request and a right of access to educational records.
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