Practical and comprehensive advice and guidance on the new data protection regulations coming into force next May was on offer to schools in the first of three events hosted by Harrison Clark Rickerbys across the UK last week.
Held at the Law Society in London, the event featured presentations by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), two legal experts and several independent schools, speaking from their own experience of the changes.
Delegates from independent schools and leading education sector organisations attended the first Essential Legal Conference for Schools – two more events are planned for Birmingham (30 November) and Manchester (March 2018) so that schools can benefit from expert advice and others’ experience.
Victoria Cetinkaya, the ICO’s senior policy officer, was the key note speaker, giving a comprehensive guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implications for schools and colleges. She reinforced her message by offering delegates access to the ICO’s toolkit, helpline and newsletter, referring them to www.ico.org.uk/dpreform for an overview of essential information.
Matthew Dear from Oundle School, Christopher Ellott from St Mary’s School, Ascot, Andy Barnes from Bryanston School and Dr Chris Pounder from legal information training firm Amberhawk, made up a panel to take delegates’ questions, with legal experts Kristine Scott, head of Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ education team and Paula Williamson, who works with both Harrison Clark Rickerbys and The Information Law Practice.
Each also gave their own presentation during the day, covering a range of topics to ensure that those present, who included bursars, governors, finance directors and IT directors, had all they needed to support their school’s progress towards compliance with the new regulations.
Kristine Scott said afterwards: “We’ve had excellent feedback, with comments that the content was practical and informative and was very helpful for delegates. I think the range of speakers, and the ability to ask questions and know that many of those present had real experience of the issues, was invaluable. We look forward to rolling this out in our next two events.”
Questions from delegates covered the use of pupils’ photos, communications via mailchimp and the collection of pupils’ personal data, among other issues.