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question re confidentiality issue at dc school

(24 Posts)
newnamechange10 Sat 15-Mar-14 13:12:46

I'm not sure how big an issue this is so asking for some opinions please.

DD came home with a pile of scrap paper in her bag and I checked through it to see if there were any school letters mixed up in it. The scrap paper from the class often has old letters or class activities on one side and I also check to see it's not part of any homework she needs to do. One of the sheets (of which she had at least 5 copies) was headed up Guided Reading Groups and lists all the children's first names split into groups SEN, Less able, Main, More able and Most able. Now this is not my dd's class but I know all the names and it's made me feel uneasy that this information is being left around the school for anyone to read. It's not affected my dc but I know many of the parents of these children and I'm sure they would be upset knowing that I and who knows who else have seen. Also it's made me think now that my own children's names could be on lists around the school being seen by random parents.

I feel I need to bring this to the school's attention but then started thinking maybe as it is guided reading the information on the sheets is already open to the class. I think it's seeing SEN list that worries me the most. Although I have no intention of speaking to any other parent about this, there are names of children on there of whom I am friends with their parents.

clam Sat 15-Mar-14 13:15:47

I would have a quiet word with the teacher/Head and point out that this piece of paper has come home and you wonder if they're aware?

That should be enough to, hopefully, make them review their recycling policy pretty sharpish!

Aelfrith Sat 15-Mar-14 13:17:39

(Used to work in a school)...yes this def. should not have made its way into the scrap paper drawer, but mistakes do happen from time to time.

You must of course keep any info compleetly confidential even if you saw it in error, and you've said that you will in your OP.

I think you should return the piece of paper and have a quiet word with the HT so s/he can remind all staff of the necessary care that must be taken.

Martorana Sat 15-Mar-14 13:20:33

It was a mistake. Tell the teacher. She'll make sure it doesn't happen again.

Aelfrith Sat 15-Mar-14 13:21:43

And don't worry unduly about your own DC's information being accidentally circulated....it's not a common thing to happen (i've got 3 school age DC and I've never accidentally seen or been sent something that I shouldn't, and that in over 14 years of school life), and anyway, despite what you read on here, 99.9% of parents are very sensible as you are and are incredibly discreet if they ever accidentally here/see anything about other people's children.

peppermintsticks Sat 15-Mar-14 13:25:22

It was just a mistake. These things happen when everyone is busy printing and photocopying hundreds of sheets a day from the same printer. If it's not your DD's class then it likely got caught up in the middle of a big photocopy job or something. I wouldn't make a big deal about it, no teacher would deliberately leave things like that lying around.

newnamechange10 Sat 15-Mar-14 13:26:24

Thanks all. I was doubting myself and thought I may be over reacting. I'll hand them back to the teacher on Monday.

SapphireMoon Sat 15-Mar-14 13:35:29

yes, teacher first rather than Head..

Aelfrith Sat 15-Mar-14 13:41:06

Sorry but I think HT def. The teacher won't be off to the Head to confess, and therefore the systemic problem won't get addressed and it's more likely to recur.

Nocomet Sat 15-Mar-14 13:56:31

Teacher first, quite likely your DD garbed scrap paper from the teachers recycling or similar without asking and the pile hadn't been sorted.

PiqueABoo Sat 15-Mar-14 13:59:01

@Aelfrith If I had lots of reasons to already believe they were incompetent then it might be another story, but what happened to benefit of doubt? To err is human... and I would much rather have my child in a class with a grateful teacher who will likely be more careful than one with a grudge.

clam Sat 15-Mar-14 14:06:57

My HT would be furious if she found out this had gone on in her school and she hadn't been informed.

newnamechange10 Sat 15-Mar-14 14:10:36

I don't have any concerns re the dd's teacher but I am starting to feel less trusting of the school's general administration. Have been at least 3 instances where school letters were not given to my dc causing me to miss deadlines for 2 activities and also getting a phone call as to why they had not received a reply from me about a trip. Their website supposedly has all the letters and newsletters uploaded but it's very hit and miss as to what gets put on there. The sheets were for the other class in dd's year group but refer to the previous school year so it makes me wonder why such old information has appeared in my dd's classroom scrap paper tray.

Cerisier Sat 15-Mar-14 14:15:57

In our classrooms we have boxes for recycling paper but in the department office is a special box for shredding. Anything confidential goes in there. One of the admin staff does all the shredding.

The school needs to have a system in place to avoid this sort of thing happening.

Aelfrith Sat 15-Mar-14 14:21:39

Agree with clam.

Picque it's not about benefit of doubt...no-one's saying the teacher did it it on purpose. I was a teacher for 20+ years and made loads of errors I'm sure, but children's privacy is a big deal and the school system needs to react to that, not the individual teacher.

It may well be an issue with printer queues, photopcopying etc, that needs to be properly dealt with.

TBH when I was in senior management in a school. you often rely on 'complaints' to be able to lever the LA/Governors into sorting a problem you were aware of but didn't have the money to deal with. I have often asked very nice parents who 'popped in for a quiet word' to go home and write me a really stroppy letter threatening all sorts of legal action, which I could show to the LA. My goodness how quickly a rickety fence can be repaired (at no cost to the school) when a parental letter arrives!

Shockers Sat 15-Mar-14 14:39:30

I spent 2 days looking for my daily readers record sheet last week and then found it in the scrap paper drawer. One of the children had put some other stuff down on top of it as I turned to talk to another child, then picked up the lot together without me seeing. I thought I was going mad! Mistakes do happen!

tiaramasu Sat 15-Mar-14 16:53:25

I would have concerns about the admin at the school too.
Personally, as well as the advice above, I would speak to other parents to see if they have similar concerns.

mrz Sat 15-Mar-14 19:49:55

Clam do/would you label your groups SEN / Less Able/ Main / More Able / Most Able?

Personally I would never write that down anywhere hmm

clam Sat 15-Mar-14 20:07:33

mrz Absolutely not! But my hmm about that might come up in the quiet word with the HT. If s/he's not already aware that staff are referring to groups in that way, then s/he ought to be.

asandwichshort Sat 15-Mar-14 20:08:21

Anything with children's names on is classed as confidential info and is shredded at my school. This also includes photos that are printed out that don't "make the grade". I agree with the comment about mix ups in photocopying, as we now don't have different printers just an all singing all dancing networked photocopier - I have raised this at staff meetings as it is easy to pick up someone else's work when collecting your own. In a network system your computer can be a long way from the printer/copier. Although pointing it out to the class teacher would seem like a kinder option to not get her/him into bother, I would definitely be more inclined to bring this to the ht's attention so that ALL staff can be informed to be ultra careful with sensitive documents in the future.

mrz Sat 15-Mar-14 20:11:01

I agree clam

asandwichshort Sat 15-Mar-14 20:18:11

Another point I would like to make regarding the OP's post about the admin situation. In all the schools I've had dealings with letters home are given to the teachers or TA's to be given out to children AND THE CARETAKER regularly brings back letters left in the cloakroom, blowing around in the yard etc etc . . . so the admin are not to blame for that!

Aelfrith Sat 15-Mar-14 20:27:19

asandwich networked printers can usually be set with a PIN that buffers the print run til you get to the machine in perosn, then you type in your PIN and it prints your stuff. That's what we did in my last school for exactly this reason...we only had one printer for the whole school...you don't want someone's job reference disappearing off to Class 4 with some worksheets.

newnamechange10 Sat 15-Mar-14 21:08:19

asandwichshort, Yes I accept my dc may not be the most reliable in always getting letters home so I'm probably being harsh in my critisism of the school's admin. I just get the impression that the place is not as organised as it once was.

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