School publishes personal details of vulnerable pupils on its WEBSITE

February 22, 2013 | by | 0 Comments
Pupils and teachers at Cuxton Junior school, where confidential details about pupils were published on its website (file photo)

Pupils and teachers at Cuxton Junior school, where confidential details about pupils were published on its website (file photo)

A headmistress apologised today after confidential information about vulnerable pupils was published on a primary school’s website.

The blunder revealed the names of children receiving counselling, children in foster care and those who get free school meals.

The details could be accessed via a link on the school’s home page – alongside term dates and other school news.

The pages were removed soon after a parent alerted Cuxton Community junior school in Kent of the privacy breach.

Headteacher Tracey Terry apologised unreservedly to the parents of the pupils affected.

She said: “We go to great lengths to ensure this type of sensitive information is kept private and we deeply regret that this has occurred.

“The school is looking at the processes it uses to upload sensitive information and will be agreeing some changes with the governors to ensure this type of error doesn’t happen again.”

The document included information about seven pupils who were listed as having weekly counselling for emotional or psychological problems.

Another list gave the names of 17 pupils receiving extra maths and literacy tuition and the cost.

And 14 pupils claiming free school meals were named together with a further 10 past claimants.

Four pupils were also listed as having parents in the Armed Forces and one vulnerable child was revealed as being in foster care.

The mother of one young pupil said: “It’s not fair on the children or parents.

“We’re being educated as much as possible to stay safe online and I think the school should be setting a good example.

“We’re all on social networks and try to keep things as private as possible.

“Schools are a definitely an institution that should lead by example.”

A concerned father, who asked not to be named, said: “I am horrified. This is appalling. This is a clear safeguarding breach and very wrong.

“No personal details should be put online. Data protection nowadays is meant to be really tight.”

Barbara Peacock, director of children’s services at Medway Council, said the blunder was an “unfortunate issue.”

She said: “All schools are required by the Department for Education to publish information about how the government’s pupil premium is spent.

“However, no individual details should be made public.

“In this case there was a very unfortunate issue where a working document was mistakenly put on to the site before some details had been removed.”

She added that the website was operated by the school and not the council.


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