Good Practice Note
Good Practice Note – School Websites, Photographs and Data Protection Issues
This Good Practice Note is aimed at those working in schools and concerns some of the data protection issues associated with a school website and blog. Each school is required to have Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) covering the use of all information and communication technologies (ICTs) used in the school. The School’s Internet AUP should cover the use of the school website/blog and the school should consider how digital and video images are captured and stored within the school, and if images of pupils are published on the school website how the Data Protection Act (2003 and 1988) might apply.
Digital and video images of pupils on school websites and blogs
There are however data protection issues to be considered when publishing the image of a minor on the Internet. The school must comply with the requirements of:
- Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003
- The Data Protection Act 1988
- Video Recordings Act 1989
- Asking for parental permission to cover use of such photographs throughout the school year in line with the conditions of the school’s AUP.
- Consider using group photos rather than full-face photos of individual children
- Keeping names and images separate.
- Password locking videos
- Creating a procedure for regularly checking the website for posting of personal data
- Teaching pupils eSafety: see Posting Inappropriate Photos Lesson in Topic 3 of Be Safe Be Webwise and the CSPE booklet "Sign up, Log in, Opt out protecting your privacy and controlling your data" on the Data Protection Website
Each school should develop its own guidelines for the protection of both pupils and staff and these notes will be a starting point. The following sample School Website statements are part of the Webwise Internet AUP Template. The Webwise Internet Safety Education Pack was sent to every school in March 2007 and its Information & Advice for Schools booklet is also available for download.
The School Website (Webwise Sample AUP)
- The publication of student work will be co-ordinated by a teacher.
- Students will continue to own the copyright of any work published.
The Case Study below from the Data Protection Commissioner’s Sign up, Log in, Opt out CSPE Teaching Resource will give an understanding to schools about their obligations and responsibilities pertaining to The Data Protection Acts (1988 and 2003).