Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) is responsible for the administration of approximately 140 Catholic primary and secondary schools and colleges within the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
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, including;
Job applicants, staff members, volunteers and contractors, including:
Other people who come into contact with the school, including name and contact details and any other information necessary for the particular 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 for which you have consented.
Students and Parents: In relation to personal information of students and Parents, a BCE school’s primary purpose of collection is to enable the school to provide a quality Catholic education to the student, exercise its duty of care and perform necessary associated administrative activities, which will enable students to take part in all the activities of the school. This includes satisfying the needs of Parents, the needs of the student and the needs of BCE and the 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:
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 use personal information of job applicants, staff members and contractors include:
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 example, the school’s Foundation or alumni organisation, church and parish authorities or the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Parents, staff, contractors and other members of the wider school community may from time to time receive fundraising information. School publications, like newspapers and magazines, which include personal information, may be used for marketing purposes.
Exception in relation to related schools: The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) 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 and store information with?
Sending and storing information overseas: A school may disclose personal information about an individual to overseas recipients, for instance, to facilitate a school exchange. However, a school will not send personal information about an individual outside Australia without:
The school may use online or ‘cloud’ service providers to store personal information and to provide services to the school that involve the use of personal information, such as services relating to email, instant messaging and education and assessment applications. Some limited personal information may also be provided to these service providers to enable them to authenticate users that access their services. This personal information may be stored in the ‘cloud’ which means that it may reside on a cloud service provider’s server which may be situated outside Australia.
An example of such a cloud service provider is Microsoft. Microsoft provides ‘Office365’ (O365) including email, file storage and processes limiting personal information for this purpose. School personnel, BCE and their service providers may have ability to access, monitor, use or disclose emails, communications (e.g. instant messaging), documents and associated administrative data for the purposes of administering O365 and ensuring its proper use.
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 Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), an individual has the right to seek and 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 applicable legislation.
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, where appropriate.
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.
REFERENCES AND DEFINITIONS
The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Brisbane Catholic Education Office
2A Burke Street, Woolloongabba Qld 4102 Australia
GPO Box 1201 Brisbane 4001 Australia
Phone: (07) 3033 7000
Fax: (07) 3844 5101