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Confidentiality and Data Protection in School Coursework

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Updated: Jun 5th, 2022

Schools are expected to implement clear and strictly followed policies on confidentiality and data protection that are related to both students and staff. These policies should be guided by and grounded in the UK legislation adopted in the field. The purpose of this document is to provide the school staff with important details on confidentiality and data protection in school environments with reference to the UK legislation.

Confidentiality and data protection at any UK school are guaranteed according to the following laws and acts: the Human Rights Act 1998, the Children’s Act 1989 and 2004, and the Data Protection Act 1998. Additional important acts and initiatives include the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Every Child Matters. Confidentiality and private information related to children and adults are guaranteed according to the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Children’s Act 1989 and 2004. However, confidentiality is secured until being repealed because of threats to the public (Children Act 1989 n.d.; Human Rights Act 1998 n.d.). Following the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000, schools collect, store, and use personal data related to students and staff and academic records related to students responsibly. Schools should clarify what data are public or private, as well as conditions for disclosing information according to these acts (Data Protection Act 1998 n.d.; Freedom of Information Act 2000 n.d.). The safety of children associated with protecting personal data is determined according to Every Child Matters (Every Child Matters 2003).

Specific school procedures to guarantee confidentiality and data protection should be listed. They include the formulation of a child protection policy adopted at school, the formulation of rules of disclosing private or confidential information, and the determination of responsibilities for teaching and non-teaching staff. If there are cases when professional judgment regarding confidentiality and data protection is required, teachers and counselors focus on promoting confidentiality but still guarantee the safety of children and act in response to their interests. Schools can share personal data of students only among local authorities and governmental organizations and agencies. The ethical principles of sharing confidential or private data should be followed.

It is important to assure young people and adults regarding confidentiality because it is necessary to guarantee that the well-being and safety of children are a priority. The confidentiality and interests of children are secured until there is a risk for other people at school. These aspects of following the privacy and data protection policy need to be communicated to children, their parents, and staff.

There are also cases when confidentiality may be breached according to school policies and existing laws. These situations include cases when children can hurt themselves or other people or inform the staff about other students hurting them and other persons. In situations when the safety and well-being of children are at risk, confidentiality may be breached in the context of the UK legislation. In spite of protecting the human right to privacy and data security, schools have lists of situations in which the violation of the principle of guaranteeing confidentiality may be observed.

This reference document has provided details on confidentiality and data protection at school. The focus has been on the principles and rules adopted in the British schools that are regulated according to UK legislation. Although the confidentiality of students is secured according to the law, school policies should include clear statements on situations when confidentiality may be breached according to the cases described in the UK legal acts.

Reference List

Children Act 1989 n.d., Web.

Data Protection Act 1998 n.d., Web.

Every Child Matters 2003, Web.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 n.d., Web.

Human Rights Act 1998 n.d., Web.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Confidentiality and Data Protection in School." June 5, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/confidentiality-and-data-protection-in-school/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Confidentiality and Data Protection in School'. 5 June.

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