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school office threatening me with social services for not giving my address - what can they do?

(57 Posts)
kensingtongreen Thu 10-Nov-16 22:09:29

I'm soooo fed up.

Numerous problems with this (private) school but in relation to this , a few weeks ago they involved my ex in something and somewhat excluded me (an educational needs assessment for dc) - basically I have sole custody and am the only ine involved in anything and had organised dc to be assessed. They then went to my ex (abusive) and told him and he organised the dates and told them to Bill me but no one told me anything about it (I had told them to sort it out but heard nothing more so presumed there was a long wait). The only way I found out is they accidentally called my husband thinking it was my ex, saying they were going ahead on x date and would be billing me and is he happy with that. So, I called and asked what it was about and they then said they mistakenly called my husband thinking it was my ex and my ex had given them the go ahead etc etc, but didn't inform me. They then emailed me and my ex giving out my contact details to him. Then my ex gave me a barrage of abuse (because I found out he wanted to give me this shock bill (nearly 1k) but we would even know when/where it was taking place.
Anyway then he cancelled the assessment . The school said he can do that but I don't want to go around in circles organising things for my dc and him calling and cancelling them or changing things around, especially since they don't tell me.
Anyway I moved house and won't give him my address (he randomly turns up banging at my doors but the police can't do anything because he claims he has x,y,z concern "as a father". Given that the dcs school have made such big mistakes in giving my info out (they even put all my details in a circular to all the school parents "incase they want to contact for parties etc") , I didn't tell them I moved. They never even know who they are speaking to on the phone half the time, I've been addressed by several names. My ex turned up yesterday at the school and my dc told me his dad had spoken to him at school (unknown to me but I guess legally there isn't much I can do about that) and said if he doesn't find out my address, he can't come on his weekends anymore . My plan was to make a meeting point, since my court agreement only says I have to make dc available at x time, not that we have to be at home.
So, one of the office staff came to my car this morning and said can she have my address (this is after my ex coning yesterday there) and I said no sorry because they don't keep my information protected, so she replied she was going to have to tell social services . I said that's fine, I'm sure they will be understanding of my situation . Then I received an email from her saying they can't have a child in the school who's address is unknown and she wants me to confirm I will not be giving it and then she will be informing social services .


Given that they have already given out my info to all and sundry (my husband has got texts from my ex, my email was shared and the whole class has my old address, surely I have a right to maintain some privacy if they won't keep my info private ? Can they really call social services ? In what capacity? I called children's services myself today who said it would be nothing to do with them and they won't give my address nor force me to, given the circumstances. Is this protocol or is she just threatening me?

Believeitornot Thu 10-Nov-16 22:12:35

I would threaten them with the data protection law because they've failed miserably. So ask them what their policy is on data protection.

Xmasfairy86 Thu 10-Nov-16 22:17:01

Surely that is a massive breach of data protection!?

Zoflorabore Thu 10-Nov-16 22:17:30

Ask to speak to the head. Familiarise yourself with the data protection act and safeguarding policies.
Ask the school for copies of these policies. Write to the governors if need be. Do not give your address.
Personally I would change schools but I'm sure it's not that simple. Best of luck op smile

PikachuSayBoo Thu 10-Nov-16 22:25:01

They could be fined for information governance breaches.

kensingtongreen Thu 10-Nov-16 22:27:30

Would the school have a data protection policy? I can only find a safeguarding policy but it's about reporting abuse . I don't even know what she means by "social services " - whether it's children's safeguarding she means, or school admissions? It's a private school so I don't think the borough admissions will have much to do with it? But surely she isn't so dim as to make a wild threat via email unless there is some protocol to back this up? They have an address anyway for dc - my old one (I didn't even tell them I moved) and my exs address - it's not like dc is some unidentified child.

Balletgirlmum Thu 10-Nov-16 22:31:13

By law they have to have a data controller & must keep your data private unless they are obliged to pass information to the authorities for child protection or other legal reasons.

Beebeeeight Thu 10-Nov-16 22:37:33

Huge data protection breach!

Send them a lawyers letter!

kensingtongreen Thu 10-Nov-16 22:47:27

Glad it's not me just over reacting or whatever. Honestly, the state schools my other dc attend are so great - they stick to the law and I've never had an issue . They are so understanding and keep me informed if my ex tries to remove emergency contacts etc, but this school just seem to make it up as they go along. When I don't want them to tell my ex something, they seem to go out of their way to tell him and when it's time for me to sign a letter, or pay a trip or fees suddenly he's not in their minds to use as a contact hmm
I've emailed back simply asking for a copy of their data protection policy . I don't want to put in writing about refusing to give my address, she seems to want me to do that.
As an aside, my ex is refusing to take the dc without an address which is a bonus. How the police don't think this is harassment is beyond me ...

PickAChew Thu 10-Nov-16 22:53:16

Personaly, I'd welcome the opportunity to pull my kids out of the school, pointing out their data protection failings to them - of course, if they want to bill you for the whole term, you can always escalate a complaint....

LadyLapsang Thu 10-Nov-16 23:32:50

Out of interest, do you pay all the school fees?

venusinscorpio Thu 10-Nov-16 23:52:59

The school have no right to give your personal information out to anyone without either your consent, it forming part of a serious police investigation or a legal proceeding. They could get into serious trouble and they may put you or another victim of domestic abuse in danger. It doesn't matter whether it was an accident, the legal onus is on them to manage data responsibly. Please challenge their sloppy data protection.

Tomorrowillbeachicken Thu 10-Nov-16 23:59:17

I'm another person that would be looking into their massive data protection breach.

Astro55 Fri 11-Nov-16 00:05:35

Yes data protection!

They sound mental!

Write back and ask why X was done since according to Y, Z should be confidential

And if Ex had no parental rights why is he even in the loop?

GiddyOnZackHunt Fri 11-Nov-16 00:09:54

Any organisation that holds personal information electronically is subject to the Data Protection Act. They must keep it safe, only store what they need and only use it for reasonable purposes. They have failed to keep it safe.

dontpokethebear Fri 11-Nov-16 00:11:45

Didn't you post the same subject a couple of months ago?

kensingtongreen Fri 11-Nov-16 06:49:19

Similar subject yes - like I said , ive had nothing but trouble recently from this school. This is just their latest episode.

Re-reading her email she says she "cannot have a child in school who's address we don't know " - should I take that to mean dc has been excluded for now?

kensingtongreen Fri 11-Nov-16 06:51:27

Ex has parental rights but I have sole custody and organise everything - he doesn't ask me anything but from time to time goes to schools etc to get info (never parents evening or anything like that - and only this school as he knows the others are strict on protecting the dc)

StealthPolarBear Fri 11-Nov-16 06:55:09

I assume there is a reason he can't go to the same school as your other dcs? This school sounds incredibly shit - on safeguarding and on grammar! I'd be getting tough personally, could you afford to get some advice from a solicitor? Assuming moving him is not an option. Is he generally happy there?

AnotherNewt Fri 11-Nov-16 06:59:09

The school has to comply with data protection because it it the law.

I'd report them to the ICO now on the basis of their earlier actions, and state that you will await the outcome of their investigation before providing personal details.

Yes, this is hard ball, but there are still schools (in both sectors) whose data protection standards are woeful.

If you want to know if they have excluded your DD, write and ask. Or include in your email about reporting to ICO if they intend to exclude her whilst their (not her or your) actions are investigated.

AnotherNewt Fri 11-Nov-16 07:02:59

Oh, and do tell them that you would be absolutely delighted for them to call Social Services, as you have already done so about the need to safeguard your DC from your abusive ex, and although they were happy to talk to you they said they could not intervene. As your DC's safety is your only concern here, you think it is an excellent idea if they call them in to establish how the flow of information to the XH needs to be controlled in future.

StealthPolarBear Fri 11-Nov-16 07:19:57

Sorry I've assumed ds, think you have been careful to say dc. Good luck op, hope you get a good solution x

Bluntness100 Fri 11-Nov-16 07:27:26

No, don't assume he has been excluded, keep him at school and let them come back to uou on data protection.

I would also ask for a meeting with the head,

On th flip side, did uou specifically ask the school not to give your address out? Sending contact info to other parents is quite normal, although to be fair here, my daughters school only gave out email address and a phone number, not peoples addresses and we were asked to confirm we were ok with it in advance.

secrethideaway Fri 11-Nov-16 07:31:16

Would put everything in your post, everything that has happened, including all data protection breaches, and specifically how you are at risk of harm through their actions/demands, in a formal letter assessed to the Head.

Letter might have more impact coming from a lawyer.

MrsKCastle Fri 11-Nov-16 07:35:37

It sounds to me like the trust between you and the school has completely broken down. I think in your place I would be looking to move your DC.
In terms of your ex being involved, if he has parental responsibility and is contacting the school, there probably isn't a huge amount that they can do. They can't refuse to engage with him or give him information. However, they can and should keep your details secure and not hand them out without permission. I think the school are right not to want a pupil on roll without having their address, but I can see why you're reluctant to give it. Not sure how you can move past that.

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