new data protection laws

A recent survey carried out by My School Portal with a sample of Independent schools has revealed a mixed state of readiness for the new data protection laws.

The survey of approximately 20 schools, conducted in March 2018, showed that over half did not believe that their school was ready for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

GDPR is due to come into force on 25 May and is set to transform the protection of personal data. It will enforce security and governance around all personal information held by organisations, including schools.

Our survey set out to find how prepared schools were in relation to the forthcoming legislation and what processes and policies had been put in place.

Key findings of the survey revealed that:
• 71% of schools ask parents to post personal data to the school e.g. student medical forms. However, 86% of schools have looked at a secure way of asking parents to complete personal data forms online.

• 71% of schools email files, such as Excel files, containing personal data. Yet, 52% admitted to having at some point sent an email to the wrong person.

• Less than half of schools surveyed had looked at moving away from email for the communication of sensitive information, but 52% had looked at using a secure file transfer system to send sensitive information.

• 14% of schools had been instructed to collect all memory sticks both from home and in school and have any sensitive data destroyed.

• Over half of schools have a staff policy on the printing of personal data and the usage/printing of sensitive data when working away from school.

Getting ready for GDPR is essential and required by law, but a huge challenge for schools because of the amount of personal data they have to process.

We work closely with relevant stakeholders in the legislative and data fields to continually optimise My School Portal for schools; taking their advice on where to add value and ensuring the Portal meets or exceeds the needs of current or forthcoming data legislation. Feedback from many of the schools that we work with demonstrates that they are strong advocates of the safeguards afforded by My School Portal.

Our latest custom forms feature is an important development in the drive for improved data security and GDPR compliance. Custom forms can be used for joining, induction, medical and trip permission forms so removes the need for paper-based forms as all interactions between the school and parents are captured digitally.

To find out more about this and the many other features of My School Portal please get in touch. We can help you streamline the school’s communication and keep sensitive information safe.