Anger after pupil accesses and shares personal data on school computer

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…

More at: Anger after pupil accesses and shares personal data on school computer


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…


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link

Islamic preacher who called on God to 'prepare us for the Jihad' spoke at Park View Academy
Trojan Horse schools 'employed teachers through secret clique and mosque'
Categories: Secondary and Security.


  1. Such personal information held on a computer should be password-protected.  But in the old days when teachers had paper registers details such as address and contact number were written in registers.  These were often left lying around in classrooms or outside the school office.

Let us know what you think...