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GDPR in the Classroom – End of year advice for teachers & assistants.

by | Jun 21, 2023 | Ask Eileen

End of School – Guide For Teachers, Teaching Assistants and Classroom Assistants

It is every teachers favourite time of the year- the end is in sight and the holidays are calling, sports days, end of year concerts, the dreaded tests….all done but before you head off on summer holidays it is worth taking a quick look at the tips below
to make sure you GDPR compliant before closing off the classroom until September.

All schools and colleges and other education environments should have a GDPR policy and programme in place. There should be someone who is responsible for the managing and monitoring of data of children, employees, volunteers etc. Ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure you are GDPR compliant within you role – and within your classroom. Follow the tips below to make sure you get a head start for next year ;

1) Make sure you don’t have a duplication of data that is not needed. Do you have the same information stored a few times that is not needed?

2) If you use notebooks to make notes or plans alongside the name and personal data of your students, assistants etc then what are you doing with them now? Are you going to delete them securely- ie shred them or are you storing them away securely
for the summer? Do you start a new notebook at the start of the new academic year- if so then what happens to the old one? Think about what you have in your lesson planners, do you have notes to phone a parent “Joe’s Dad 085…” written down, or do you have a note on someones home life scribbled in a margin? this all needs to be destroyed or securely stored if there is a reason for you to keep them.

3) Pictures/ artwork/ work on display in the classroom- what happens to that at the end of the school year? Make sure to destroy them if they contain personal data and its not collected by the relevant parent/ guardian. Many younger children paint and draw artwork that tells a lot about their family and home life, make sue these end up back with the artist or are destroyed.

4) Class records – are they stored securely? Make sure you ask the questions about how they are stored and how long they will be stored etc. Are they stored in locked areas or in general offices? once they leave your classroom do they become responsibility of someone else if there is a breach? All things worth considering and asking questions about.

5) Know your role under GDPR. You could be considered both a Data Controller and Data Processor and as both you have legal responsibilities under GDPR. Also, what if you are a Teaching Assistant, SNA or Classroom Assistant – what role do you play?
Has the school supplied training on GDPR? as an SNA you are likely working with other agencies and privy to a lot more personal information – if you feel like you have questions regarding data and data protection ask for specialist training in this area.

6) Hybrid and Post Covid situations- are you still operating any element of remote learning? If so, do you have any notes in any platforms that need to be reviewed, downloaded, or deleted? Do you have Zoom sessions recorded which show faces of children you may no longer teach as well as email addresses? If you want to keep these online lessons you need to think about editing them to only show you and your information. Likewise if you have old email chains from the pandemic years or microsoft teams files….all can be reviewed and likely deleted now.

7) Segregation of Duties- make sure only those who need to have access to sensitive data (medical, legal, criminal data) can view it. Do not have this category of data in an open environment in a classroom- it must be stored securely and limited in the access everyone has, this means locking it up for the summer so anyone doing work in the classroom or cleaning same can’t access it.

8) End of year photos- do not share any images of children in your class. It is the schools responsibility to obtain consent of parents if they want a class picture. If a parent wants to take pictures on the last day etc then make sure they only capture their child and not the whole class. While this is a bit of a grey area with who owns the data/photo it would be very proactive of a school to make sure they are educating parents on the taking of photos at events. I’ve got a blog here on Sharing images of children online. 

These are just some tips you can check-off when you are finishing off for the summer and when you start again in September you know you are starting with a clear slate. In the mean time…Enjoy that hard earned summer rest!