Confidentiality, Data Protection and Disclosure in schools
DfEE Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (July 2000) states 'Schools should have a clear and explicit confidentiality policy which is advertised to pupils, staff, parents and visitors'.
The Data Protection, Freedom of Information and Human Rights Acts all need to be taken into consideration (see below).
Schools need to develop their policy on confidentiality (with particular reference to giving support and advice to children and young people on issues relating to sex and relationships).
It is important schools have an established procedure for dealing with confidentiality, which is understood by pupils, staff, parents, carers and visitors rather than develop ad hoc arrangements in response to a crisis. The procedures need to be consistent and protect the interests of both pupils and staff. Having a policy will help to ensure there is a shared understanding of how confidentiality operates in your school community. A consistent, shared ethos and practice will help pupils, staff, parents, carers and visitors deal with and know where they stand with confidential issues and will help you to deal with disclosure of information and establish ways of working (for example in PSHE) which respect privacy and avoid unnecessary personal disclosure.
This document does not suggest that all members of the school community should offer the same levels of confidentiality. Steps need to be taken to ensure that confidential disclosures are made to the appropriate person at the appropriate time. In order to ensure this, all members of the school community need to be aware of the limits of confidentiality available in different circumstances and by different individuals.
As part of a whole school policy on confidentiality schools should consider other aspects of school life...