Releasing information to parents, other relatives and third parties
Parents, other relatives and third parties may contact the College to request personal data about students. It is not uncommon for parents, particularly those who are contributing to tuition fees, to ask for information about the academic progress of their son or daughter, to inquire how they are performing at the College or to try and find out where they are since they have not been in touch. Unfortunately, the College is not able to disclose this sort of personal data (even to parents) other than in the most exceptional of circumstances because of the provisions of the Data Protection Act .
Privacy rights of the student
The Data Protection Act protects an individual’s rights to privacy with regards to their personal data. It establishes a set of principles and conditions about the use and disclosure of personal data with which the College must comply. This means that the College cannot pass on information about its students unless it is permitted to do so under the Act.
The policy of the College is not to disclose personal data about its students to anyone unless the student has given fully-informed consent for the information to be released.
What can the College tell you?
The Act is very strict so that even confirming or denying that an individual is a student at the College could infringe privacy and may, in extreme circumstances, put an individual in danger. Although the College recognises that parents may have concerns about their son/daughter it cannot routinely disclose personal data if there is no authorisation to do so. If a student has consented to the release of information the College will provide the specific information requested.
How does the student provide consent?
The student will be required to send an email (from their College email account) to the information officer firstname.lastname@example.org stating that they are happy for the College to speak with a specified person about a particular matter.
The College is pleased to discuss general information about, for example, College procedures, examination processes, the implications of failing a module, accommodation costs etc. You can contact the Student Services on 01480 422060.
How can the College help if you have serious concerns?
There may be circumstances when you may have major concerns about your son or daughter – You have not heard from them for months or maybe you are concerned over a serious medical condition they have . In such cases a person may leave contact details/correspondence with the College and we will endeavour to pass the message on and encourage the student (assuming the individual is a student at the College) to make contact. If the individual is not a student at the College the details will be destroyed.
The Data Protection Act does permit the College to disclose information in certain exceptional circumstances; these are usually life or death situations. In such cases the routine need to obtain consent before disclosing personal data may be waived.