Whilst the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) is nothing new, 50% of schools continue to store inaccurate student data.
In a bid to help support those that are struggling to maintain compliance, I’ve drawn up a list of considerations that could help lighten the burden.
- Be ready to respond
Take subject access requests (SARs) for instance – one of the areas tightened up under GDPR. As the ICO website explains, your pupils and their parents have the right to make a SAR to see the personal information you hold about them, and you have to provide this data, free of charge.
Whilst receiving a SAR may be a rare occurrence in your school, the addition of any incentive programmes could act as a catalyst for more requests.
Take the example of a Year 11 student who is not allowed to attend the school prom due to poor conduct, or a primary school pupil who misses out on a trip organised for children with 100% attendance. These are just the sort of situations where a parent might request to see all the data stored on their child’s behaviour or attendance.
- Ease the burden on your school
It would be far easier for schools if they could access all their pupil data from one place – and that is the thinking behind the latest developments in Capita SIMS. To compile the data you need to respond to a SAR may currently involve running multiple reports in your system.
To make this task easier, our solution allows you to export significant amounts of data to a Word document, which will take a fraction of the time.
So when you receive a SAR, you are able to quickly pull together the data you need to respond.
- Be present and correct
But how can you be sure that the data you hold on your pupils is accurate – which is another significant requirement of GDPR?
Family situations change throughout the year, as parents move house, switch jobs or form new relationships. Traditionally, schools send out a paper-based data collection sheet at the beginning of the academic year, but the details it contains may be inaccurate by the time the office staff key it into the system.
And when entering data from handwritten forms, even the most diligent administrator can fall foul of spelling errors and typos.
- Make updates easy
To help schools ensure they have up-to-date information in their systems, the SIMS Parent app allows parents to log on and see their existing core data and make change requests as and when they need to, greatly reducing the chance of a school holding an old mobile number, or the email address from a parent’s previous job.
A busy parent may not always remember to update their details, but schools will be able to send out regular reminders to parents via the app, and they can also ask for parents’ consent to use the data for specific activities, as required by GDPR.
- Don’t forget… Help is at hand
Although GDPR continues to be a worry for schools, help is there to ease the strain.
With better parental engagement, improved communication and a simpler mechanism for pulling together data, schools will have the building blocks for good data practice.
Find out more about the enhanced data reporting functions and the SIMS Parent app.