BCE is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
What kinds of personal information does a school collect and how does a school collect it?
The type of information schools collect and hold includes (but is not limited to) personal information, including health and other sensitive information, about:
- Students and parents and/or guardians (Parents) before, during and after the course of a student’s enrolment at the school;
- Job applicants, staff members, volunteers and contractors; and
- Other people who come into contact with the school.
Personal information you provide: A school will generally collect personal information held about an individual by way of forms filled out by Parents or students, face-to-face meetings and interviews, emails and telephone calls. On occasions people other than Parents and students provide personal information.
Personal information provided by other people: In some circumstances a school may be provided with personal information about an individual from a third party, for example a report provided by a medical professional or a reference from another school.
How will a school use the personal information you provide?
A school will use personal information it collects from you for the primary purpose of collection, and for such other secondary purposes that are related to the primary purpose of collection and reasonably expected, or to which you have consented.
Students and Parents: In relation to personal information of students and Parents, BCE’s schools primary purpose of collection is to enable the school to provide a quality Catholic education to the student. This includes satisfying the needs of Parents, the needs of the student and the needs of BCE and school throughout the whole period the student is enrolled at the school.
The purposes for which BCE and its schools use personal information of students and Parents include:
- to keep Parents informed about matters related to their child’s schooling through correspondence, newsletters and magazines;
- day to day administration;
- looking after students’ educational, social, spiritual and medical well being;
- seeking donations and marketing for the school; and
- to satisfy BCE’s and the school’s legal obligations and allow schools to discharge its duty of care.
In some cases where a school requests personal information about a student or Parent, if the information requested is not obtained, the school may not be able to enrol or continue the enrolment of the student or permit the student to take part in a particular activity.
Job applicants, staff members and contractors: In relation to the personal information of job applicants, staff members and contractors, BCE and a school’s primary purpose of collection is to assess and (if successful) engage the applicant, staff member or contractor, as the case may be.
The purposes for which BCE and a school uses personal information of job applicants, staff members and contractors include:
- in administering the individual’s employment or contract, as the case may be;
- for insurance purposes;
- seeking funds and marketing for the school; and
- to satisfy BCE’s and school’s legal obligations, for example in relation to child protection legislation.
Volunteers: A school also obtains personal information about volunteers who assist the school in its functions or conduct associated activities, such as alumni associations, to enable the school and the volunteers to work together.
Marketing and fundraising: BCE Schools treat marketing and seeking donations for the future growth and development of the school as an important part of ensuring that the school continues to be a quality learning environment in which students and staff thrive. Personal information held by a school may be disclosed to an organisation that assists in the school’s fundraising, for the example the School’s Foundation or alumni organisation, Church and parish authorities or the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Exception in relation to related schools: The Privacy Act allows each school, being legally related to each of the other schools administered by BCE to share personal (but not sensitive) information with other BCE administered schools and colleges. Other schools administered by BCE may then only use this personal information for the purpose for which it was originally collected by the BCE school. This allows schools to transfer information between them, for example when a student transfers from one BCE school to another.
Who might a school disclose personal information to?
A school may disclose personal information, including sensitive information, held about an individual to:
- another school;
- government departments;
- the School’s parish;
- medical practitioners;
- people providing services to the school including specialist, visiting teachers, counsellors and sports coaches;
- recipients of school publications, such as newsletters and magazines;
- anyone you authorise the school to disclose information to; and
- anyone to whom we are required to disclose information by law.
Sending information overseas: A school may disclose personal information about an individual to overseas recipients, for instance, when storing personal information with ‘cloud’ service providers which are situated outside Australia or to facilitate a school exchange. However, a school will not send personal information about an individual outside Australia without:
- obtaining the consent of the individual (in some cases the consent will be implied); or
- otherwise complying with the Australian Privacy Principles or other applicable privacy legislation.
How does a school treat sensitive information?
In referring to ‘sensitive information’, a school means: information relating to a person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion, trade union or other professional or trade association membership, philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation or practices, or criminal record, that is also personal information: health information and biometric information about an individual.
Sensitive information will be used and disclosed only for the purpose for which it was provided or a directly related secondary purpose, unless you agree otherwise, or the use or disclosure of sensitive information is allowed by law.
Management and security of personal information
BCE and the schools’ staff are required to respect the confidentiality of students’ and Parents’ personal information and the privacy of individuals.
Each school has in place steps to protect the personal information the school holds from misuse, interference and loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure by use of various methods including locked storage of paper records and password access rights to computerised records.
Access and correction of personal information
Under the Commonwealth Privacy Act, an individual has the right to obtain access to any personal information which BCE or a school holds about them and to advise BCE or the school of any perceived inaccuracy. There are some exceptions to this right set out in the Act. Students will generally be able to access and update their personal information through their Parents, but older students may seek access and correction themselves.
There are some exceptions to these rights set out in the Act.
To make a request to access or update any personal information that BCE or a school holds about you or your child, please contact the school’s Principal in writing.
The school may require you to verify your identity and specify what information you require. The school may charge a fee to cover the cost of verifying your application and locating, retrieving, reviewing and copying any material requested. If the information sought is extensive, the school will advise the likely cost in advance. If we cannot provide you with access to that information, we will provide you with written notice explaining the reasons for refusal.
Consent and rights of access to the personal information of students
BCE respects every Parent’s right to make decisions concerning their child’s education.
Generally, a school will refer any requests for consent and notices in relation to the personal information of a student to the student’s Parents. A school will treat consent given by Parents as consent given on behalf of the student, and notice to Parents will act as notice given to the student.
As mentioned above, Parents may seek access to personal information held by a school or BCE about them or their child by contacting the school’s principal. However, there will be occasions when access is denied. Such occasions would include where the release of the information would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others, or where the release may result in a breach of the school’s duty of care to the student.
A school may, at its discretion, on the request of a student grant that student access to information held by the school about them, or allow a student to give or withhold consent to the use of their personal information, independently of their Parents. This would normally be done only when the maturity of the student and/or the student’s personal circumstances so warranted.
Enquiries and complaints
If you would like further information about the way BCE or a school manages the personal information it holds, or wish to make a complaint that you believe that BCE or a school has breached the Australian Privacy Principles, please contact the school’s principal. BCE or the school will investigate any complaint and will notify you of a decision in relation to your complaint as soon as is practicable after it has been made.
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