Today I have requested copies of my sons school records. I have asked for a copy of his school file, copies of written statements he has given during the school year, and copies of information exchanged about him by staff.
They have not said an outright no, but we’re uncertain that I am entitled to have access to.
I am curious if any body with school experience can advise. I thought the new GDPR that came into place last month would mean I have more rights to this information than before 25th May?
You are making a subject access request which you are entitled to do on behalf of your son if he's not yet competent to make the request himself. They need to provide the information within one month. They can't charge a fee for doing so. They may, however, censor documents which contain personal information of a third party as the would be a breach of that third party's data rights. I guess that might be an issue here if the documents are about bullying and therefore involve information about other children?
Yes they mentioned that they didn’t think I could have his statements because he had named other children’s name and these would need to be blanked out. I told them I will accept the blanked out name copies.
They said I can’t have access to email information where teachers have exchanged information regarding him. I thought same rules would apply due to GDPR coming into affect. As long as they retract information relating to other pupils (or in fact teachers who sent/received emails) that I am entitled to request this information?
They have one calendar month to either give you everything (and that includes emails) or to let you know that they're seeking an extension and the reason why, eg there's so much information they need more time to gather it and will need another month.
If they just refuse to provide any information then you have to complain first to the school and then the ICO.
If your son is 13 or older they may say that it's up to him to ask for his personal data, in which case he just asks for it.
They may hand you heavily redacted documents as they have to remove every directly or indirectly identifiable bit of data about a third party, but they cannot just refuse the request.
Sorry, wasn't clear, their retention policy is on information they should retain but as you've mentioned it's just for this year so less relevant. There may be a charge but only for photocopy costs cannot be for anything else (e.g. Admin time)