Does the Data Protection Law stop me taking photos of my children at school?

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Christmas is just around the corner and the season of Nativity plays, prize giving’s and school events is upon us. Each year we receive lots of enquiries from anxious parents wanting to know whether or not they are in breach of Data Protection Law by taking photographs of their children in their school productions. Hopefully this guidance will help anyone concerned.

Does the Data Protection Law stop me taking photos of my children at school?

The Data Protection Law is unlikely to apply in most cases where photographs or videos are taken in schools and other educational institutions. If photos are taken for personal use they are not covered by the Law.

Photos taken for official school use may be covered by the Law, so pupils and students should be advised why they are being taken.

Examples

Personal use:

1. A parent takes a photograph of their child and some friends taking part in the school Sports Day to be put in the family photo album. These images are for personal use and the Data Protection Law does not apply.

2. Grandparents are invited to the school Nativity play and wish to video it. These images are for personal use and the Data Protection Law does not apply.

Official use:

3. Photographs of pupils or students are taken for building passes. These images are likely to be stored electronically with other personal data and the terms of the Law will apply. The school is responsible for the use and storage of those images.

4. A small group of pupils are photographed during a science lesson and the photo is to be used in the school prospectus. This will be personal data but will not breach the Law as long as the children and/or their guardians are aware this is happening and the context in which the photo will be used. Again, the school is responsible for the use and security of those images.

Media use:

5. A photograph is taken by a local newspaper of a school awards ceremony. As long as the school has agreed to this, and the children and/or their guardians are aware that photographs of those attending the ceremony may appear in the newspaper, this will not breach the Law.

Should you have any questions in relation to the above guidance, please contact the office for further assistance.