Privacy Policy


Purpose

This policy will outline how Hester Hornbrook Academy (HH Academy) will keep the information it collects confidential, according to all relevant legal requirements.

 

Scope

HH Academy is committed to upholding every person’s right to privacy, as outlined in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic), s. 13:

 

“A person has the right –

(a)    not to have his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence unlawfully or arbitrarily interfered with; and

(b)   not to have his or her reputation unlawfully attacked.”

 

Policy

As an Independent School, HH Academy will collect information about its students and employees to ensure that it complies with relevant government regulations.

 

  • This information will be used to report to government and other authorities when required by legislation and compliance reporting.
  • Information collection that is required by government legislation will be compulsory.
  • Such information includes, but is not limited to:
  • Student and employee names
  • Student dates of birth
  • Student medical information
  • Student academic performance
  • Student attendance
  • Student school reports
  • Student behaviour management information
  • Employee qualifications
  • Employee Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) registration information
  • Employee Working With Children Check status

 

HH Academy will ensure that the confidential information it collects is stored securely, and only accessible to people who need to access it for reporting purposes.

 

If in electronic form, the information will be stored in a password protected environment that is only accessible to authorised people.

 

If in hardcopy form, the information will be stored in locked filing cabinets that are only accessible to authorised people.

 

If a person wishes to contact HH Academy regarding the information it has collected, it can contact HH Academy management via the contact details on HH Academy’s website.

 

When responding to requests for information, HH Academy will always consider its responsibilities under State and Commonwealth privacy legislation first.

 

Before providing information to anyone, HH Academy must be satisfied:

 

  • Of the identity of the person seeking the information
  • That the person seeking the information is entitled to seek the information.
  • Where there is any uncertainty, HH Academy will seek expert legal advice.

 

The following table provides general guidance as to how HH Academy can respond to common information requests:

 

Information Requested by

 

  • Action

Authorised Officers - Public Transport

The Transport (Compliance and Miscellaneous) Act 1983 (Vic) permits the disclosure of information to an “authorised officer” for the purpose of enforcing transport infringements.  Schools should comply with these requests.

Centrelink

Centrelink Officers have broad powers under the Social Security Administration Act 1999 (Cth) to obtain information to determine whether a person qualifies for income support benefits. This may include information or documentation relating to a child’s enrolment and attendance at school.

Courts or Tribunals

If a Subpoena, Witness Summons or Court Order requires the production of documents or that staff attend court to give evidence or act as a witness, staff should comply. 

If a Location Order or Recovery Order issued by the Family Court or the Federal Magistrates’ Court is received by a school, staff should contact Legal Services Unit of DET immediately.

 

Department of Health (Victoria)

The Health (Infectious Diseases) Regulations 2009 (Vic) require schools to provide information to the Department of Health in relation to children suffering from infectious diseases.

 

Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Protection

An employee of HH Academy may disclose any information to DHS that is relevant to the protection or development of a child who has been the subject of a protective intervention report.

Employers

Schools are often asked to provide references to employers and should comply if the student provides consent.

The Principal:

  • may write an official reference when the student leaves school addressed “To whom it may concern” to be handed to the student on departure
  • may, with the student’s consent, provide a confidential reference.

 

Explosives inspectors

Schools may provide information of student whereabouts under the provisions of the Dangerous Goods Act 1958.

Lawyers

Where a request is made:

  • in writing by a lawyer acting on behalf of a student or former student, and a written consent is provided, the information should generally be provided.
  • for school staff to provide a statement or information by a lawyer acting on behalf of one parent in a family law dispute or child protection case, the school should decline to provide any information (other than information normally provided to parents) unless subpoenaed.

 

Officers of the Family Court (Independent Children’s Lawyer or Family Consultant)

These Officers are appointed by the Family Court to assist in family law proceedings.  Schools should generally assist such officers and comply with the request for information if:

  • authorised by Court Order/Subpoena; or
  • the parents consent to the provision of the information.

 

Parents

Request for details of school where a child is enrolled

Subject to any Family Court Order, parents have equal ‘parental responsibility’ in respect of the child, including an entitlement to know where their child is enrolled.  Parents who have parental responsibility for “long-term care, welfare and responsibility” have the same entitlement. 

If the school is satisfied that:

  • either there are no Court Orders in place or there is a court order conferring long-term care, welfare and responsibility for the child on the parent
  • and there are no immediate welfare concerns
  • and the school is satisfied of the identity of the parent and his/her relationship to the child then the school may confirm that a child is enrolled at the school. Personal information such as the child’s address should not be released.  

Requests for school reports and ordinary school communications

Parents, guardians and informal carers are generally entitled to information ordinarily provided to parents unless there is a Court Order restricting their right to access this information.

Requests for other documents

Requests from parents for other documents (for example, incident reports, staff diary notes, minutes of meetings etc) should be referred to the FOI & Privacy Unit, who will determine whether the person is entitled to the information.

Private agents/investigators

Schools should not provide private agents with any information except with the written consent of the parent/guardian.

Schools

In the context of student transfers between schools, HH Academy will:

  • provide transfer notes for all students transferring out
  • receive transfer documentation for all students transferring in.

 

Students/Former Students

If a student or former student requests information and documentation, it may be released if:

  • the document/information was given to the school by the student
  • the document/information was previously given to the student
  • the document is publicly available

 

For other documents, the student should be invited to make a formal FOI request.

Victoria Police

Victoria Police have broad powers to investigate and obtain evidence.  Where personal information is requested by police it may be disclosed when:

  • the student or parent/guardian consents;
  • the disclosure is necessary to lessen or prevent:
  • a serious and imminent threat to an individual’s life, health, safety or welfare;
  • a serious threat to public health, public safety or public welfare
  • the disclosure is necessary to assist with the prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of criminal offences or breaches of a law;
  • the disclosure is necessary to assist with the prevention, detection, investigation or remedying or seriously improper conduct.

 

 

 

Accountability

All HHA Staff

  • Hester Hornbrook Academy Student Welfare Policy
  • Hester Hornbrook Academy Communications Policy

Legislative context

  • Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic)
  • Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic)
  • Australian Education Act 2013 (Cth)
  • Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)
  • Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic)
  • Privacy Act 1988 (Cth)
  • Health Records Act 2001 (Vic)
  • School Policy & Advisory Guide – Requests for Information About Students (Vic DET)
  • VRQA Independent School Application Form – C.4.1.ii

 

Supporting Material

Document number

Document title

Version 1

June 2016

Version 2

June 2018 - Reviewed and updated

Version 3

March 2020 – Reviewed and updated

Next review date

March 2022

 

Development and Review

 

Document number

Document title

Owner:

Principal, HHA

Author:

Principal, HHA

Approval Date:

March 2020

Review Date:  

March 2022