Academy Uniform Change - A breach of trust...?

Sarah Dobbs's picture
My daughter's school is undergoing academy conversion and going through a change of uniform. For us this is especially frustrating as she is in year 8 now, and has still got very good quality old style uniform left which is now totally useless. I find the waste appalling - not just in financial terms but in environmental and moral ones too. The fact that it is just being done to appease the whims of a corporate sponsor is, quite frankly, nauseating.

So when I turned up to the relevant shop with a money off voucher to get the first batch of totally unnecessary stuff, I was a bit grouchy to say the least. But then as I went to hand in the voucher I was asked for my daughter's date of birth, name and her year group. The shop worker then matched against and ticked off my daughter's name from a long list of names held in a file behind the till. I asked why they were keeping personal information on my child, and who had given them the information. The shop assistant told me that the information had been given to them by the school in order for them to process the vouchers.

I am sure that this most be quite common. But is it right - either legally or morally - for a school to pass on this personal information to a firm without parental consent or knowledge?
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Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 06/08/2012 - 15:10

The school might be in breach of the Data Protection Act. Principle 2 says, "that personal data must not be processed for any purpose that is incompatible with the original purpose or purposes." Handing on a list of names and dates of birth to a shop could be in breach of this principle.

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 06/08/2012 - 15:22

Guidance from the Department for Education about school uniform says that schools should:

"consult widely on its proposed school uniform policy and on any changes to an
established policy;" and

"consider the timeframe for introducing a new uniform policy or amending an existing one".

It would seem that the academy is ignoring government guidelines in imposing a new uniform with wide consultation and too speedily.

What next? Employing unqualified teachers? Changing the times of day without consultation? Insisting, like the Great Yarmouth primary academy, that children stay in school until 5 and 6pm?

Sarah Dodds's picture
Tue, 07/08/2012 - 06:22

In fairness to the school Janet, the consultation was in some places very good. They originally wanted a black blazer with red trim, but this was rejected on the back of parental complaints about extra cost. However, they did change the PE kit without including that in the original consultation.

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