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Permanent exclusions, governors disciplinary hearings and data protection

The statutory guidance on Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England (Sept 2017) states at paragraph 61 that “Where the governing board is legally required to consider the reinstatement of an excluded pupil they should… where possible, circulate any written evidence and information, including a list of those who will be present, to all parties at least five school days in advance of the meeting.”

As a statutory obligation, this would be considered to be a lawful purpose under GDPR Article 6(1)(e) – “processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller.”

Where personal data involved includes special category data, the processing would be lawful under Article 9(2)(g) – “processing is necessary for reasons of substantial public interest, on the basis of Union or Member State law which shall be proportionate to the aim pursued, respect the essence of the right to data protection and provide for suitable and specific measures to safeguard the fundamental rights and the interests of the data subject.”

The information sharing concerned must, as with all personal data processing, comply with the data protection principles.
These include:

  • information provided must be limited to that which is relevant and not excessive (e.g. third party data should be redacted/not included where the recipients do not require it for the purposes of the process being undertaken)
  • the information must only be shared with those who have an entitlement to it, parent(s) (and social worker)
  • the method of sharing must be secure, for example using encrypted email to verified email addresses or hand delivering to the intended recipient

If you are unclear about your obligations under either legislation or would like more specific support with a particular Information Governance issue or request, please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office on 0303 123 1113.
More specific help is available on the links below: