Data Protection Policy (Draft)

Introductory Statement

The school’s Data Protection Policy applies to the personal data held by the school’s Board of Management (BoM), which is protected by the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and the EU General Data Personal Regulation (GDPR). This policy replaces the school’s original Data Protection Policy, which has been in place since 2008.

The policy applies to all school staff, the Board of Management, parents/guardians, students and others (including prospective or potential students and their parents/guardians and applicants for staff positions within the school) insofar as the measures under the policy relate to them. Data will be stored securely, so that confidential information is protected in compliance with relevant legislation. This policy sets out the manner in which personal data and special categories of personal data will be protected by the school

Carlow Educate Together operates a “Privacy by Design” method in relation to Data Protection. This means we plan carefully when gathering personal data so that we build in the data protection principles as integral elements of all data operations in advance. We audit the personal data we hold in order to

  1. be able to provide access to individuals to their data
  2. ensure it is held securely
  3. document our data protection procedures
  4. enhance accountability and transparency

Data Protection Principles

The school BoM is a data controller of personal data relating to its past, present and future staff, students, parents/guardians and other members of the school community. As such, the BoM is obliged to comply with the principles of data protection set out in the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and GDPR, which can be summarised as follows:

  1. Obtain and process Personal Data fairly

Information on students is gathered with the help of parents/guardians and staff. Information is also transferred from their previous schools. In relation to information the school holds on other individuals (members of staff, individuals applying for positions within the School, parents/guardians of students, etc.), the information is generally furnished by the individuals themselves with full and informed consent and compiled during the course of their employment or contact with the School. All such data is treated in accordance with the Data Protection legislation and the terms of this Data Protection Policy. The information will be obtained and processed fairly

  1. Consent

Where consent is the basis for provision of personal data, (e.g. data required to join sports team/ after-school activity or any other optional school activity) the consent must be a freely-given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes. Carlow Educate Together will require a clear, affirmative action e.g. ticking of a box/signing a document to indicate consent. Consent can be withdrawn by data subjects in these situations

  1. Keep it only for one or more specified and explicit lawful purposes

The BoM will inform individuals of the reasons they collect their data and the uses to which their data will be put. All information is kept with the best interest of the individual in mind at all times

  1. Process it only in ways compatible with the purposes for which it was given initially

Data relating to individuals will only be processed in a manner consistent with the purposes for which it was gathered. Information will only be disclosed on a ‘need to know’ basis, and access to it will be strictly controlled

  1. Keep Personal Data safe and secure

Only those with a genuine reason for doing so may gain access to the information. Personal Data is securely stored under lock and key in the case of manual records and protected with computer software and password protection in the case of electronically stored data. (Aladdin, our Student Management System is GDPR compliant.) Portable devices storing personal data (such as laptops) are encrypted and password-protected.

  1. Keep Personal Data accurate, complete and up-to-date

Students, parents/guardians, and/or staff should inform the school of any change which the school should make to their personal data and/or sensitive personal data to ensure that the individual’s data is accurate, complete and up-to-date. Once informed, the school will make all necessary changes to the relevant records. Records must not be altered or destroyed without proper authorisation. If alteration/correction is required, then a note of the fact of such authorisation and the alteration(s) to be made to any original record/documentation should be dated and signed by the person making that change

  1. Ensure that it is adequate, relevant and not excessive

Only the necessary amount of information required to provide an adequate service will be gathered and stored

  1. Retain it no longer than is necessary for the specified purpose or purposes for which it was given

As a general rule, the information will be kept for the duration of the individual’s time in the school. Thereafter, the school will comply with DES guidelines on the storage of Personal Data relating to a student. In the case of members of staff, the school will comply with both DES guidelines and the requirements of the Revenue Commissioners with regard to the retention of records relating to employees. The school may also retain the data relating to an individual for a longer length of time for the purposes of complying with relevant provisions of law and or/defending a claim under employment legislation and/or contract and/or civil law. See School Record Retention table

  1. Provide a copy of their personal data to any individual on request

Individuals have a right to know and have access to a copy of personal data held about them, by whom, and the purpose for which it is held


The Data Protection legislation applies to the keeping and processing of Personal Data. The purpose of this policy is to assist the school to meet its statutory obligations, to explain those obligations to School staff, and to inform staff, students and their parents/guardians how their data will be treated

The policy applies to all school staff, the Board of Management, parents/guardians, students and others (including prospective or potential students and their parents/guardians, and applicants for staff positions within the school) insofar as the school handles or processes their Personal Data in the course of their dealings with the school

Definition of Data Protection Terms

In order to properly understand the school’s obligations, there are some key terms, which should be understood by all relevant school staff:

Personal Data means any data relating to an identified or identifiable natural person i.e. a living individual who is or can be identified either from the data or from the data in conjunction with other information that is in, or is likely to come into, the possession of the Data Controller (BoM)

Data Controller is the Board of Management of the school

Data Subjectis an individual who is the subject of personal data

Data Processing – performing any operation or set of operations on data, including:

Data Processor – a person who processes personal information on behalf of a data controller, but does not include an employee of a data controller who processes such data in the course of their employment, for example, this might mean an employee of an organisation to which the data controller out-sources work. The Data Protection legislation places responsibilities on such entities in relation to their processing of the data. The school uses a number of services where student and staff data is collected: Aladdin (staff and pupils), Sage Accounts (for staff), Blacknight (web hosting), CCTV footage (Netwatch), all social networks that the school uses.

Special categories of Personal Data refers to Personal Data regarding a person’s

 Personal Data Breacha breach of security leading to the accidental or unlawful destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to personal data transmitted, stored or otherwise processed. This means any compromise or loss of personal data, no matter how or where it occurs


In addition to its legal obligations under the broad remit of educational legislation, the school has a legal responsibility to comply with the Data Protection Acts 1988 to 2018 and the GDPR

This policy explains what sort of data is collected, why it is collected, for how long it will be stored and with whom it will be shared. The school takes its responsibilities under data protection law very seriously and wishes to put in place safe practices to safeguard individual’s personal data. It is also recognised that recording factual information accurately and storing it safely facilitates an evaluation of the information, enabling the Principal and Board of Management to make decisions in respect of the efficient running of the School. The efficient handling of data is also essential to ensure that there is consistency and continuity where there are changes of personnel within the school and Board of Management

Other Legal Obligations

Implementation of this policy takes into account the school’s other legal obligations and responsibilities. Some of these are directly relevant to data protection. For example:

Under Section 9(g) of the Education Act, 1998, the parents of a student, or a student who has reached the age of 18 years, must be given access to records kept by the school relating to the progress of the student in their education.

Under Section 20 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the school must maintain a register of all students attending the School

Under Section 20(5) of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, a Principal is obliged to notify certain information relating to the child’s attendance in school and other matters relating to the child’s educational progress to the Principal of another school to which a student is transferring. Carlow Educate Together sends, by post or email, a copy of a child’s Passport, as provided by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, to the Principal of the Post-Primary School in which the pupil has been enrolled

Where reports on pupils which have been completed by professionals, apart from Carlow Educate Together staff, are included in current pupil files, such reports are only passed to the Post-Primary school following express written permission having been sought and received from the parents of the said pupils.

Under Section 21 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the school must record the attendance or non-attendance of students registered at the school on each school day

Under Section 28 of the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the School may supply Personal Data kept by it to certain prescribed bodies (the Department of Education and Skills, Tusla, the National Council for Special Education and other schools). The BoM must be satisfied that it will be used for a ‘relevant purpose’ (which includes recording a person’s educational or training history or monitoring their educational or training progress; or for carrying out research into examinations, participation in education and the general effectiveness of education or training)

Under Section 14 of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, 2004, the school is required to furnish to the National Council for Special Education (and its employees, which would include Special Educational Needs Organisers) such information as the Council may from time to time reasonably request

The Freedom of Information Act 1997 provides a qualified right to access to information held by public bodies which does not necessarily have to be “personal data”, as with data protection legislation. While most schools are not currently subject to freedom of information legislation, (with the exception of schools under the direction of Education and Training Boards), if a school has furnished information to a body covered by the Freedom of Information Act (such as the Department of Education and Skills, etc.) these records could be disclosed by that body if a request is made to that body

Under Section 26(4) of the Health Act, 1947 a School shall cause all reasonable facilities (including facilities for obtaining names and addresses of pupils attending the school) to be given to a health authority who has served a notice on it of medical inspection, e.g. a dental inspection

Under Children First Act 2015, mandated persons in schools have responsibilities to report child welfare concerns to TUSLA- Child and Family Agency (or in the event of an emergency and the unavailability of TUSLA, to An Garda Síochána)

Relationship to characteristic spirit of the School:

Carlow Educate Together seeks to:

We aim to achieve these goals while respecting the privacy and data protection rights of students, staff, parents/guardians and others who interact with us. The school wishes to achieve these aims/missions while fully respecting individuals’ rights to privacy and rights under the Data Protection legislation.

Personal Data

The Personal Data records held by the school may include:

1.     Staff records:

Categories of staff data:

As well as existing members of staff (and former members of staff), these records may also relate to applicants applying for positions within the school, trainee teachers and teachers under probation. These staff records may include:


Staff records are kept for the purposes of:

 Location and Security procedures of Carlow Educate Together:

  1. Manual records are kept in a secure, locked filing cabinet in a locked administration office only accessible to personnel who are authorised to use the data. Employees are required to maintain the confidentiality of any data to which they have access.
  2. Digital records are stored on password-protected computer with adequate encryption and firewall software in a locked office. The school has the burglar alarm activated during out-of-school hours.

2.     Student records:

Categories of student data:

These may include:

Purposes: The purposes for keeping student records include:

(Location and Security procedures as above):

3.     Board of Management records:

Categories of Board of Management data:


To enable the Board of Management to operate in accordance with the Education Act 1998 and other applicable legislation and to maintain a record of Board appointments and decisions.

(Location and Security procedures as above):

4.     Other Records: Creditors

 Categories of Board of Management data:

The school may hold some or all of the following information about creditors (some of whom are self-employed individuals):

Purposes: The purposes for keeping creditor records are:

This information is required for routine management and administration of the school’s financial affairs, including the payment of invoices, the compiling of annual financial accounts and complying with audits and investigations by the Revenue Commissioners.

(Location and Security procedures as above):

5.     Other Records: Charity Tax-back Forms

Categories of Board of Management data:

The school may hold the following data in relation to donors who have made charitable donations to the school:

Purposes: The purposes for keeping creditor records are:

Schools are entitled to avail of the scheme of tax relief for donations of money they receive. To claim the relief, the donor must complete a certificate (CHY2) and forward it to the school to allow it to claim the grossed up amount of tax associated with the donation. The information requested on the appropriate certificate is the parents’ name, address, PPS number, tax rate, telephone number, signature and the gross amount of the donation. This is retained by the School in the event of audit by the Revenue Commissioners.

(Location and Security procedures as above):

CCTV images/recordings

CCTV is installed in Carlow Educate Together.

8 cameras are installed externally around the school building on external walls. 1 camera is installed internally in the foyer covering the main entrance to the school. These CCTV systems record images of staff, students and members of the public who visit the premises. The viewing station is in the server room of the school and is password protected.


Safety and security of staff, students and visitors and to safeguard school property and equipment. It is not used to investigate incidents of behaviour or interactions between people.


Access to images/recordings is restricted to the Principal, Deputy Principal and Caretaker of the school. Recordings are retained for 7 days, except if required for the investigation of an incident. Images/recordings may be viewed or made available to An Garda Síochána pursuant to Data Protection Acts legislation.

Examination results

The school will hold data comprising examination results in respect of its students. These include class, mid-term, annual and continuous assessment results and the results of Standardised Tests


The main purpose for which these examination results are held is to monitor a student’s progress and to provide a sound basis for advising them and their parents or guardian about educational attainment levels and recommendations for the future. The data may also be aggregated for statistical/reporting purposes, such as to compile results tables. The data may be transferred to the Department of Education and Skills, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and other schools to which pupils move. Location and Security procedures are as outlined above

Links to other policies and to curriculum delivery

Our school policies need to be consistent with one another, within the framework of the overall School Plan. Relevant school policies already in place or being developed or reviewed, shall be examined with reference to the Data Protection Policy and any implications which it has for them shall be addressed.

The following policies may be among those considered:

Processing in line with a data subject’s rights

Data in this school will be processed in line with the data subject’s rights. Data subjects have a right to:

Data Processors

Where the school outsources to a data processor off-site, it is required by law to have a written contract in place (Written Third party service agreement).Carlow Educate Together’s third party agreement specifies the conditions under which the data may be processed, the security conditions attaching to the processing of the data and that the data must be deleted or returned upon completion or termination of the contract.

Personal Data Breaches

All incidents in which personal data has been put at risk must be reported to the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner within 72 hours

When the personal data breach is likely to result in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of natural persons, the BoM must communicate the personal data breach to the data subject without undue delay

If a data processor becomes aware of a personal data breach, it must bring this to the attention of the data controller (BoM) without undue delay.

Dealing with a data access request

Individuals are entitled to a copy of their personal data on written request

The individual is entitled to a copy of their personal data

Request must be responded to within one month. An extension may be required e.g. over holiday periods. Data can only be guaranteed to be recovered during term time. Requests can be made from August 25th to June 30th each year. Any request outside of this time will not be guaranteed their data within one month of the request.

No fee may be charged except in exceptional circumstances where the requests are repetitive or manifestly unfounded or excessive

No personal data can be supplied relating to another individual apart from the data subject

Providing information over the phone

An employee dealing with telephone enquiries should be careful about disclosing any personal information held by the school over the phone. In particular, the employee should:

Implementation arrangements, roles and responsibilities

The BoM is the data controller and the Principal implements the Data Protection Policy, ensuring that staff who handle or have access to Personal Data are familiar with their data protection responsibilities

The following personnel have responsibility for implementing the Data Protection Policy:

Name                                     Responsibility

Board of Management:    Data Controller

Principal:                       Implementation of Policy

Ratification & communication

Ratified at the BoM meeting on [Date] and signed by Chairperson. Secretary recorded the ratification in the Minutes of the meeting

Monitoring the implementation of the policy

The implementation of the policy shall be monitored by the Principal, staff and the Board of Management

Reviewing and evaluating the policy

The policy will be reviewed and evaluated after 2 years. On-going review and evaluation will take cognisance of changing information or guidelines (e.g. from the Data Protection Commissioner, Department of Education and Skills or TUSLA), legislation and feedback from parents/guardians, students, school staff and others. The policy will be revised as necessary in the light of such review and evaluation and within the framework of school planning

Signed: …………………………………………………….

For and behalf of Board of Management

Date: Ratified ……………………………………

Please see our Data Audit for specific information on how long we keep records for.