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Once a child has left

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by welshwales, Jul 22, 2019.

  1. welshwales

    welshwales Occasional commenter

    Hello wise people. Can anyone clarify something for me? Once a child has left the school, and the parents have no other siblings with us ,so they cease to be a 'parent' at the school, can they ask for a full investigation into a behaviour incident that happened whilst the child was with us [a minor one]?
    Thanks in advance- I know it's a trivial one really..
  2. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Umm... I guess so. But you probably shouldn't have any records (cos of GDPR) by which to investigate??
  3. nomad

    nomad Star commenter


    However, at the end of the summer term as you will have run out of 'working days' in which to comply with matters as per your complaints policy.
  4. Easyasabc

    Easyasabc Occasional commenter

    Was the inicident in question dealt with at the time with parents informed and was the child in question the victim or the perpetrator?

    If it was a minor incident did it impact in any way on the child's chance of success in final exams?

    What do you think is the parents motives for asking for the information now?

    Is there a school policy relevant here ?.
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  5. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Well there's nothing to stop you investigating anything you like. You are the head, you have the legal power and responsibility for the management of the school, including behaviour and discipline, so it's up to you. There's no law saying that you can or that you can't although you'd need to comply with any relevant school polices, but I'd be surprised if you had any specifically covering this scenario.

    What you can't do though is impose any disciplinary sanctions on a child who is no longer on the school roll, nor require he or she to come in and be interviewed or co-operate with any investigation. Or (perhaps more to the point - it's a primary school isn't it?) get their parents to co-operate. So (a) is it worth doing anything if you couldn't take any action anyway? and (b) how would you fairly investigate the behaviour incident? Bearing in mind this DfE advice [from the statutory exclusions guidance but applies to any decision about behaviour incidents] how would you carry out an investigation that was "reasonable and fair"?

    "Any decision of a school, including exclusion, must be made in line with the principles of administrative law, i.e. that it is: lawful (with respect to the legislation relating directly to exclusions and a school’s wider legal duties, including the European Convention on Human Rights and the Equality Act 2010); rational; reasonable; fair; and proportionate"
    Was it previously investigated or is this the first time it's come to you?

    What are the parents hoping to achieve?

    It would be different if it was a serious incident that might result in a referral to the LADO or Police but it's a minor incident.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2019
  6. louloulou2017

    louloulou2017 New commenter

    Is it a formal complaint they are putting in? If not then no you don't have to do it - if it is then a parent can put in a complaint (or a child) even when they have left the school (the more time which has past the more exceptional the claim would have to be). But the complaint would have to be around procedure.
  7. welshwales

    welshwales Occasional commenter

    Thank you for these responses, It is a minor incident that is being blown up that was fully discussed with her at the time - she didn't agree with how it was dealt with-, but the parent in question has now asked for all information abut her child under the FOI..and I suspect this may just rumble until she runs out of steam with it. Hopefully a summer break might have made a difference..
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Parent needs to do their research better - they can't use FOI to ask for personal information!

    They have to submit a GDPR/Data Protection Act Subject Access Request.
  9. Admin Princess

    Admin Princess Occasional commenter

    I think that would probably depend on when the pupil left the school, and what your data retention schedule says. We (Primary school) retain records for three years after the pupil leaves us.
  10. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    Be aware that this is completely non-compliant for GDPR. You are required to send all documents to secondary school, they sign a GDPR form to state they received records, and you should retain absolutely nothing from that date forwards. Otherwise you are retaining information without the explicit knowledge and consent of the child/parents, which is a breach of GDPR.
  11. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    It isn't a breach of GDPR if Admin Princesses's school can justify having that in their retention schedule

    Per ICO

    How should we set retention periods?

    The GDPR does not dictate how long you should keep personal data. It is up to you to justify this, based on your purposes for processing. You are in the best position to judge how long you need it.
    Maybe 3 years can justified, maybe it can't. I don't know - and neither do you!

    It does not need the explicit consent of parents. Pupils' Educational Records are not processed based on 'Consent'. Schools process pupil data under the 'Legal Obligation' basis of lawful processing.
  12. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    I know you are quite good at this stuff Rott, but I have attended at least 5 events in the last 18 months, and every one made it clear that primary schools should retain not a single file and that it should transfer to secondary school. If they become electively home educated, it transfers to the local authority.

    Also, much of the data does require consent. Medical, child protection etc, is actually quite murky as often the processes involved required consent of parents to refer to external agencies.

    In short, the school does not own the data, so it doesn't have a justification to retain it.
  13. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    To be clear, I did not say and am not saying the school has has a justification for how long it keeps this information.

    I am saying:

    (1) GDPR does not specifiy what is a justifiable retention period. See the ICO guidance quoted.

    (2) Admin Princess has not disclosed her setting nor the justification for the retention period. So neither you nor I are in a position to state whether the retention is justified.

    The thread is about a behaviour and discipline incident. The school is highly unlikely to process that on the basis of 'consent'.
  14. Flanks

    Flanks Senior commenter

    @Rott Weiler General behaviour logs normally travel with CTF Logs to new school.

    Formal discipline incidents will travel with the transfer documentation for pastoral teams.

    In both cases, no justifiable reason for the primary school to retain.

    The issue is the basic question: If parents wish to request information about education, who should they approach? The answer is: Their school.
  15. Admin Princess

    Admin Princess Occasional commenter

    I'm afraid those who ran your 5 events have given incorrect advice, possibly through misinterpretation. My school had a full day's advisory visit from a senior ICO auditor last term (at my request, I hasten to add!), and she was more than happy with our retention schedule. We're a bog standard, medium-sized maintained Primary, no special circumstances. There ARE areas for action in our report, but that isn't one of them.
  16. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    In answer to your question, no they cannot ask for an investigation into an incident; they can, however raise a complaint according to your Complaints Procedure and an investigation may take place. In which case, their first port of call would be the teacher responsible at the time and then to the HT, finally to the CoG which is the usual process outlined in your policy.

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