The Northern Echo is reporting that angry parents have criticised a school after personal information about children – including addresses, dates of birth and entitlement to free school meals – was accessed and shared by a pupil.
Staff at Greenfield Community College in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, wrote to parents to alert them to a potential data breach last week, causing widespread fears about the school’s IT security.
On Monday, October 12, during a search of the school network, a pupil opened a systems maintenance file which was not password protected.
The file contained personal details about youngsters enrolled at Greenfield between 2010 and 2014, which the pupil downloaded onto a memory stick and a phone and then shared with his classmates.
Last night, David Priestley, executive headteacher at Greenfield Community College, reassured parents that the school took the protection of personal data very seriously and was working to ensure such a breach did not happen again.
He said: “As soon as we became aware of the issue we took immediate action to delete the information from the devices it was stored on and we are satisfied that it was not shared more widely.”
However, many parents remain unimpressed and say they have no faith in the school’s data protection methods…
The leaked information included names, dates of birth, addresses and postcodes, email addresses, student identification numbers and whether the pupil was entitled to free school meals.
It did not contain any sensitive personal data, such as medical information, health records, details of racial or ethnic origin or religious and political beliefs.
In the letter, parents were told the original file had been removed from the college network…
Yesterday we covered reports of the US students facing long jail sentences after hacking into their school computing systems.
This is clearly a completely different situation, but do we take data security seriously enough in our schools?
Please give us your views in the comments or via Twitter…
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