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 Post subject: Legal advice
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:03 pm 
I was wondering if parents have the right to obtain a reference or report sent from a school to another school about their child under the freedom of information act or similar. I can't go into much detail but I believe it likely that a report that may be sent will be inaccurate and false in places. I also want to know that if a head divulges information to another school about schools we are looking into, is that breaching confidentiality laws as it is the parent who should be divulging that information to the school/s they are looking at. All of these queries relate to independent schools but I am hoping it will make no difference and any rules would apply to both sectors.

I'd be really grateful for advice, thank you. :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:59 am
Posts: 2001
I don't believe that they are covered under the FOI :roll:

http://www.foi.gov.uk/yourRights/covera ... htm#school


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 Post subject: Re: Legal advice
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:16 pm 
T.i.p.s.y wrote:
I was wondering if parents have the right to obtain a reference or report sent from a school to another school about their child under the freedom of information act or similar.
I'd be really grateful for advice, thank you. :(



Tipsy, I think I am right in saying that you have a right to see any report on your child, but only from the school that wrote it. It would doubtless be marked Confidential, and the receiving school would not be able to show it to you if so, even if they wanted to. You certainly have a legal right to see your child's school record, which by law has to be kept (or at least certain specified parts of it) by the school concerned, pretty much for the rest of eternity these days. You can't do much about Heads gossiping to each other over the phone, though, provided they don't commit anything to paper or email.

I am sure if I am wrong someone will correct me, but that is my belief and experience.

Charities (which includes most schools) are exempt from the FOI Act, but that doesn't prevent you having the right to see any information they hold about your child, and to get it corrected if it is wrong.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:20 pm 
Thanks mitasol and KES.

I do know a snippet of what the head said over the phone because when I went to the other school the first thing they said to me is "we hear you've been in contact with X school" and that could have only come from his current school.

Any more advice much appreciated! :?


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 Post subject: Re: Legal advice
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 13, 2007 8:03 pm
Posts: 1827
Location: Gloucestershire
KES Parent wrote:
Charities (which includes most schools) are exempt from the FOI Act, but that doesn't prevent you having the right to see any information they hold about your child, and to get it corrected if it is wrong.

Of course, there may be occasions when the information is correct, but you might not have wanted divulging!

_________________
Capers


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 9:03 pm
Posts: 120
For employment references you need to make a request under the Data Protection Act to the employer to whom the reference was sent, not the employer that wrote it. But I don't know about school references - sorry! The website of the Information Commissioner's Office says that the receiving employer 'will then consider if any exemptions apply and if they can release this information to you'. So not very clear cut.

The ICO does have a helpline number on 08456 30 60 60 during office hours, might be worth a call?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 12:06 pm
Posts: 48
I think (although I hope someone better qualified than me will be along in a minute!) that personal information is covered by the Data Protection Act and that an organisation's information is covered by the FOI Act.

For example - you could apply under the DP Act to get your own child's 11+ raw scores from an LEA, but would apply under the FOI Act to get the number of children who qualified!

With most schools, an enquiry to the head elicits the required information without recourse to the law - have you requested a copy of the letter and been refused?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:36 pm 
Its not got to that stage but if I have to request it I wondered if I was able to.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Sep 15, 2006 8:51 am
Posts: 8113
T.i.p.s.y wrote:
Thanks mitasol and KES.

I do know a snippet of what the head said over the phone because when I went to the other school the first thing they said to me is "we hear you've been in contact with X school" and that could have only come from his current school.

Any more advice much appreciated! :?


Possible of course that the comment was made by phone / another parent / casual conversation in the teaching network......

... not necessarily in the written report. walls have ears you know


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:12 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:12 pm
Posts: 1300
Location: Birmingham
Tipsy

Unfortunately Independent schools are not covered under the FOI Act

Quote:
Schools
All state schools are subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Independent (fee paying) schools are not. For more information, see what you can do if an organisation isn't covered.



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