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Network and Classroom Management Thread, Changes to data protection act in Technical; New here, but think I may have an issue Is anyone aware of the changes to the data protection act, ...
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    Changes to data protection act

    New here, but think I may have an issue

    Is anyone aware of the changes to the data protection act, that now allow all records (not just electronic) to be viewed by any student/staff member and supplied back dated to 1998 with one month of the request I think.

    What are you doing about it, and does anyone out there use a document managemnet system with SIMS.net?

    Sorry for the long question, and found this link

    http://www.invu.net/news/dataprotectionchanges.aspx

    Thanks

    SJ

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    I asked my boss about what our policy is with respect to the data protection act. His response was that the school can effectively ignore it, because it could cause 'child protection issues'. The example he quoted was that parent/guardian requests a record of a student and finds evidence some outrageous behaviour of that the parent/guardian fundamentally disagrees with - parent then assaults/abuses/murders child - thus all our records can be kept free from data protection act because child protection overrides it. Likewise a student finds out some life-changing information, such as a secret sibling, or parent etc that ruins the child's life forever. thats the defence, anyway.

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    lol ... I like it.

    However, should it be taken to court you have to show that you made an attempt to collate the information and decided that it was not appropriate to divulge to the requestor.

    Those damned lawyers ... spoilsports.

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    In somerset we have to outline the rights for all pupils on our school website, in our prospectus and via a mailshot to all parents (or so it seems from my brief initial reading of the info from county).

    So we aren't ignoring it...

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    We have to allow all pupils over 13 access to their records - if requested, and by law, can't stop them!!

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    Excellent! I think that in practice full compliance with the DPA is close-to if not completely impossible in our environment already - this ensures that it is definitely completely impossible...

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    richard
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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    Quote Originally Posted by sjplot
    New here, but think I may have an issue

    Is anyone aware of the changes to the data protection act, that now allow all records (not just electronic) to be viewed by any student/staff member and supplied back dated to 1998 with one month of the request I think.

    What are you doing about it, and does anyone out there use a document managemnet system with SIMS.net?

    Sorry for the long question, and found this link

    http://www.invu.net/news/dataprotectionchanges.aspx

    Thanks

    SJ
    Anyone got a copy of the pdf thats on the site as it seems the link is broken at present.

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    When I last looked at this regarding paper records you could only supply information if your filling system allowed you to go to the particualr details requested without leafing through all the other information to find it.

    Ben

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    Quote Originally Posted by NickJones
    Excellent! I think that in practice full compliance with the DPA is close-to if not completely impossible in our environment already - this ensures that it is definitely completely impossible...
    Why is it impossible?

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    I think that the diversity of the locations and ways in which information is stored makes it nigh-on impossible to ensure that you get all of it in the time required. You would need to get every mark-book, record sheet and report card from every teacher's MyDocs folder (plus presumably all their home computers too), plus all the paper records they keep, plus all the boxes of sample or old coursework that all the teachers have in their attics - and get it all in just 5 weeks.

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    Here's the pdf from that web site, I had it sent to me by a colleague.

    Nickjoines makes a good point, hence my original question about 'electronic document management' which, if I understand it right, does extacly what nickjones questions, but if it could link into sims.net we would be home and dry!!!
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    The thing is though, that it only relates to 'personal information'. Does old coursework come under this definition?

    Also, markbooks should all now be done via your school's chosen MIS system. All reports should be filed under your child's personal folder also, when they are released. No information should be on a home computer - as this would be a breach of the DPA as it is not a maintained system which complies with your school policies.

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    SIMS does have a document manager thingy; IIRC, what it does is upload a copy of said document to the SIMS server, you would still need to ensure that teachers actually did this with each and every file which they keep which contains any information about the child, and of course you then need to get them to update the one on the SIMS server each time they change theirs - so if they keep an Excel file logging attendance, they need to update SIMS every day. Never going to happen!

    As I see it, the only way to fully comply with the strictest letter of the DPA is to never write anything down in the first place :-)

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk
    The thing is though, that it only relates to 'personal information'. Does old coursework come under this definition?
    That comes down to how you define "personal information" really, and I've never managed to find a clear answer to that. Do grades constitute personal information? What about comments the teacher might have added?

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk
    Also, markbooks should all now be done via your school's chosen MIS system.
    "should" according to whom? And how far does this go? If the French teacher does a 10 question vocab test every week, they might want to keep a copy of the results, but surely you wouldn't expect them to enter them all into the MIS. Even if they did, I'm sure that lots of staff would keep separate copies for their own records as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk
    All reports should be filed under your child's personal folder also, when they are released.
    They are, but can we be sure that the teacher didn't keep a copy for their own reference, or just forget to delete their draft copy?

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk
    No information should be on a home computer - as this would be a breach of the DPA as it is not a maintained system which complies with your school policies.
    What about their pen drives? Our class lists often list dates of birth, and many teachers keep copies of class lists.

    Minefield :-)

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    Re: Changes to data protection act

    Minefield - yes!

    But it's our legal obligation under the DPA and FOI act's, we don't have a choice, and from what I heard schools (and heads) will be liable for breach's of the act - here comes 'big brother'

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