Confidentiality Policy

St. Mary's Confidentiality Policy Information

 

Aim

To protect all members of the school community, especially our pupils, and to give all staff clear, unambiguous guidance as to their legal and professional roles with regard to confidentiality and to ensure good practice throughout the school which is understood by pupils, parents/carers and staff.

Rationale

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School seeks to put the child at the heart of the learning process and to provide a safe and secure learning environment. It seeks to implement the underlying principles of the Every Child Matters Agenda and to address the issues, which may arise about confidentiality. It is committed to developing creative and positive ways for the child’s voice to be heard whilst recognising the responsibility to use, hold and safeguard information received.

Sharing information unnecessarily is an erosion of trust. The school is mindful that it is placed in a position of trust by all stakeholders and there is a general expectation that a professional approach will be used in all matters of confidentiality.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School has a duty of care and responsibility towards pupils, parents/carers and staff. It also needs to work with a range of outside agencies and share information on a professional basis. The care and safety of the individual is the key issue behind this document.

 

Objectives:

  1. To provide consistent messages in school about handling information about children once it has been received.

  2. To foster an ethos of trust within the school.

  3. To ensure that staff, parents and pupils are aware of the school’s confidentiality policy and procedures.

  4. To encourage children to be aware of confidentiality issues relating to their peers.

  5. To reassure pupils that their best interests will be maintained.

  6. To encourage children to talk to their parents and carers.

  7. To ensure that pupils and parents/carers know that school staff cannot offer unconditional confidentiality.

  8. To ensure that parents have a right of access to any records the school may hold on their child but not to any other child that they do not have parental responsibility for as set out in the Data Protection and Freedom of Information Acts.

 
Guidelines

  1. All information about individual children is private and should only be shared with staff that need to know.

  2. All social services, medical and personal information about a child should be held in a safe and secure place which cannot be accessed by individuals other than identified school staff.

  3. The school prides itself on good communication with parents and carers and staff are available to talk to both children and parents/carers about issues that are causing concern. The school encourages children to talk to parents/carers about issues causing them concern and may in some cases support the children to talk to parents.

  4. All children have a right to the same level of confidentiality irrespective of gender, race, religion, medical concerns and special educational needs.

  5. Confidentiality is a whole school issue. Clear ground rules must be set for any classroom work such as circle time and other PHSCE session dealing with sensitive issues such as relationships, family situations and alcohol/drug use.

  6. All children, parents, staff members and governors must enjoy privacy from gossip. All matters are dealt with according to the school’s procedures and out of the eye of the wider community. It is important that:-

    • Staff do not discuss details of individual cases arising in any staff meetings to any person without direct professional connection to and interest in the welfare and education of the individual concerned.

    • No member of staff discusses an individual child’s behaviour in the presence of another child in school.

    • Staff do not enter into detailed discussion about a child’s behaviour with other children or their parents.

    • Governors, in particular those sitting on Discipline Committees, do not divulge details about individuals (be they staff, families or individual children) to any person outside of the meeting.

    • Parents in school, working as volunteers do not report cases of poor behaviour or pupil discipline to other parents in the school. This allows teachers to deal with such matters in line with school policy.

    • At full Governing Body meetings matters such as pupil exclusion, personnel issues and personal details of any member of the school community will be dealt with in the headteachers Report whilst protecting the individual’s identity. This is not for the knowledge of persons outside the Governing Body meeting. Minutes in Part 2 are minuted separately and minutes are not published.

    • Staff performance management will be carried out privately. Targets for individuals, named lesson observation sheets and other performance data will be in the headteachers office and electronic records will only be available from the headteachers computer.

    • Matters of Child Protection are made known to staff on a need to know basis.

    • It is important that class teachers and support staff are aware of some confidential matters in order to support individuals. These staff will respect the sensitivity of such cases and not divulge information to people unconnected professionally with the individual concerned.

    • When volunteers, such as parents and friends of the school are working in classes, they do not discuss educational matters outside the classroom. For example the specific use of teaching assistant time for particular pupils or groups of pupils, teaching assistants have different roles within a class, including the support of children with special educational needs, the provision and work with these children is for the teacher to discuss with the relevant parents or carers.

    • Volunteers, students and supply teachers are asked to read this policy before working in school.

      Other Professionals

      Health professionals are bound by their professional codes of conduct to maintain confidentiality when working in a one to one situation. When working in a classroom, they are bound by relevant school policies. In line with best practice guidance, like other school staff, they will seek to protect privacy and prevent inappropriate personal disclosures in a classroom setting, by negotiating ground rules and using distancing techniques

  7. Staff should be aware of children with medical needs. This information should be accessible to staff who need it (through the school registers) but not on general view to other parents/carers and children.

  8. Photographs of children should not be used without parents/carers permission especially in the press and internet. The school gives clear guidance to parents about the use of cameras and videos during public school events (see child protection and Safeguarding policies).

  9. Information about children will be shared with parents but only about their child. However parents should be aware that information about their child will be shared with the receiving school when they change school.

  10. All personal information about children including social services records should be regarded as confidential. It should be clearly understood by those who have access to it, and whether access to all, or some of the information.

    • Logs of administration of medication to children should be kept secure.

    • In all other notes, briefing sheets etc a child should not be able to be identified.

    • Addresses and telephone numbers of parents and children will not be passed on except in exceptional circumstances or to a receiving school.

 

APPENDIX 1

SIX KEY POINTS ON INFORMATION SHARING

  1. You should explain to children, young people and families at the outset, openly and honestly, what and how information will, or could be shared and why, and seek their agreement. The exception to this is where to do so would put that child, young person or others at increased risk of significant harm or an adult at risk of serious harm, or if it would undermine the prevention, detection or prosecution of a serious crime (see glossary for definition) including where seeking consent might lead to interference with any potential investigation.

  2. You must always consider the safety and welfare of a child or young person when making decisions on whether to share information about them. Where there is concern that the child may be suffering or is at risk of suffering significant harm, the child’s safety and welfare must be the overriding consideration.

  3. You should, where possible, respect the wishes of children, young people or families who do not consent to share confidential information. You may still share information, if in your judgement on the facts of the case, there is sufficient need to override that lack of consent.

  4. You should seek advice where you are in doubt, especially where your doubt relates to a concern about possible significant harm to a child or serious harm to others.

  5. You should ensure that the information you share is accurate and up-to-date, necessary for the purpose for which you are sharing it, shared only with those people who need to see it and shared securely.

  6. You should always record the reasons for your decision – whether it is to share information or not.