Who we are
We are Robert Gordon’s College, an independent co-educational day school for children and young people from 3 to 18 years of age. We are a charity registered in Scotland, charity number SC000123. Our registered office is at Schoolhill, Aberdeen, Scotland AB10 1FE. For the purposes of this document, we will refer to ourselves as “we” or “the College”.
What this Privacy Statement is for
This document is intended to provide information about how the College will use (or "process") personal data about individuals. These individuals include our staff, governors, benefactors, prospective, current and former pupils and their parents (in this document, “parents” includes carers or guardians). It includes individuals with both a current and former association with the College.
This information is provided because Data Protection Law gives individuals rights to understand how their data is used. Staff, parents and pupils are all encouraged to read this Privacy Statement and understand the College’s obligations to its entire community.
This Privacy Statement applies alongside any other information the College may provide about a particular use of personal data, for example when collecting data via an online or paper form.
This Privacy Statement also applies in addition to the College's other relevant terms and conditions and policies, including: any contract between the College and its staff or the parents of pupils;
- the College's policy on taking, storing and using images and video of children;
- the College’s CCTV policy;
- the College’s retention of records policy;
- the College's safeguarding, pastoral, and health and safety policies, including as to how concerns or incidents are recorded; and
- the College's IT policies, including its Acceptable Use policies (Junior College/Senior College/Staff) and its eSafety policy.
Anyone who works for, or acts on behalf of, the College (including staff, volunteers, governors and service providers) should also be aware of and comply with the College's data protection policy for staff.
Responsibility for Data Protection
- The College has appointed the Director of IT Services as our Information Officer
- The Information Officer will deal with all your requests and enquiries concerning the College’s uses of your personal data (see section on Your Rights below) and endeavour to ensure that all personal data is processed in compliance with this Privacy Statement and Data Protection Law
- The Information Officer can be contacted via our website (Select Data Privacy) or via the main switchboard 01224 646346 or by post to Director of IT Services, Robert Gordon’s College,Schoolhill, Aberdeen, AB10 1FE.
Why we need access to personal data
In order to carry out its ordinary duties to staff, pupils and parents, the College needs to process a wide range of personal data about individuals (including current, past and prospective staff, pupils or parents) as part of its daily operation.
Some of this activity the College will need to carry out in order to fulfil its legal rights, duties or obligations – including those under a contract with its staff, or parents of its pupils.
Other uses of personal data will be made in accordance with the College’s legitimate interests, or the legitimate interests of another, provided that these are not outweighed by the impact on individuals, and provided it does not involve special or sensitive types of data.
The College expects that the following uses will fall within the category of its (or its community’s) “legitimate interests”:
- For the purposes of pupil selection (and to confirm the identity of prospective pupils and their parents);
- To provide education services, including musical education, physical training or personal development, career services, and extra-curricular activities to pupils, and monitoring pupils' progress and educational needs;
- Maintaining relationships with former pupils and the College community, including marketing or fundraising activity;
- For the purposes of donor due diligence, and to confirm the identity of prospective donors and their background and relevant interests;
- For the purposes of management planning and forecasting, research and statistical analysis, including that imposed or provided for by law (such as tax, diversity or gender pay gap analysis);
- To enable relevant authorities to monitor the College's performance and to intervene or assist with incidents as appropriate;
- To give and receive information and references about past, current and prospective pupils, including relating to outstanding fees or payment history, to/from any educational institution that the pupil attended or where it is proposed they attend; and to provide references to potential employers of past pupils;
- To enable pupils to take part in national or other assessments, and to publish the results of public examinations or other achievements of pupils of the College;
- To safeguard pupils' welfare and provide appropriate pastoral care;
- To monitor (as appropriate) use of the College's IT and communications systems in accordance with the College's IT Acceptable Use policies;
- To make use of photographic images and videos of pupils in College publications, on the College website and (where appropriate) on the College's social media channels in accordance with the College's policy on taking, storing and using images of children;
- For security purposes, including CCTV in accordance with the College’s CCTV policy;
- To carry out or cooperate with any College or external complaints, disciplinary or investigation process; and
- Where otherwise reasonably necessary for the College's purposes, including to obtain appropriate professional advice and insurance for the College.
In addition, the College will on occasion need to process special category personal data (concerning health, ethnicity, religion, or sexual life) or criminal records information (such as when carrying out PVG checks) in accordance with rights or duties imposed on it by law, including as regards safeguarding and employment, or from time to time by explicit consent where required. These reasons will include:
- To safeguard pupils' welfare and provide appropriate pastoral (and where necessary, medical) care, and to take appropriate action in the event of an emergency, incident or accident, including by disclosing details of an individual's medical condition or other relevant information where it is in the individual's interests to do so: for example for medical advice, for social protection, safeguarding, and cooperation with police or social services, for insurance purposes or to caterers or organisers of College trips who need to be aware of dietary or medical needs;
- To provide educational services in the context of any special educational needs of a pupil;
- In connection with employment of our staff, for example PVG checks, welfare, union membership or pension plans;
- As part of any College or external complaints, disciplinary or investigation process that involves such data, for example if there are Additional Support Needs, health, or safeguarding elements; or
- For legal and regulatory purposes (for example child protection, diversity monitoring and health and safety) and to comply with our legal obligations and duties of care.
Types of personal data processed by the college
This will include by way of example:
- names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and other contact details;
- car details (about those who use our car parking facilities);
- bank details and other financial information, e.g. about parents who pay fees to the College;
- past, present and prospective pupils' academic, disciplinary, admissions and attendance records (including information about any special needs), and examination scripts and marks;
- personnel files, including in connection with academics, employment or safeguarding;
- where appropriate, information about individuals' health and welfare, and contact details for their next of kin;
- references given or received by the College about pupils, and relevant information provided by previous educational establishments and/or other professionals or organisations working with pupils;
- correspondence with and concerning staff, pupils and parents past and present; and
- Images of pupils (and occasionally other individuals) engaging in College activities, and images captured by the College's CCTV system (in accordance with the College's policy on taking, storing and using images of children);
How the College collects data
Generally, the College receives personal data from the individual directly (including, in the case of pupils, from their parents). This may be via a form, or simply in the ordinary course of interaction or communication (such as email or written assessments).
In some cases personal data will be supplied by third parties (for example another College, or other professionals or authorities working with that individual); or collected from publicly available resources.
Who has access to personal data and who the College shares it with
Occasionally, the College will need to share personal information relating to its community with third parties, such as:
- professional advisers (eg. lawyers, insurers, and accountants);
- government authorities (eg. HMRC, Education Scotland, police or the local authority); and
- appropriate regulatory bodies (eg. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education, the Charity Commission or the Information Commissioner).
- The College has a specific data sharing arrangement in place with The Gordonian Association (our alumni organisation) to administer and communicate with former pupils of the College.
The College may also share your personal data with third party trusts for the purpose of applying for financial support. If this is the case we will inform you.
For the most part, personal data collected by the College will remain within the College, and will be processed by appropriate individuals only in accordance with access protocols (i.e. on a ‘need to know’ basis). Particularly strict rules of access apply in the context of:
- medical records; and
- pastoral or safeguarding files.
A certain amount of relevant information for pupils with Additional Support Needs will need to be provided to staff more widely in the context of providing the necessary care and education that the pupil requires.
Staff, pupils and parents are reminded that the College is under duties imposed by law and statutory guidance to record or report incidents and concerns that arise or are reported to it, in some cases regardless of whether they are proven, if they meet a certain threshold of seriousness in their nature or regularity. This is likely to include file notes on personnel or safeguarding files, and in some cases referrals to relevant authorities such as the police. For further information about this, please view the College’s Child Protection Policy.
The College may also record more low-level concerns in line with its Wellbeing Concern Policy.
Finally, in accordance with Data Protection Law, some of the College’s processing activity is carried out on its behalf by third parties. This includes online software systems, cloud storage services, and business administration functions. This is always subject to contractual assurances that personal data will be kept securely and only in accordance with the College’s specific directions.
How long we keep personal data
The College will retain personal data securely and only in line with how long it is necessary to keep for a legitimate and lawful reason.
Typically, the legal recommendation for how long to keep ordinary staff and pupil personnel files is up to 7 years following departure from the College. This is because the limitation period for bringing a claim (eg. for fraud or negligence) is typically 6 years.
Incident reports and safeguarding files will need to be kept much longer, in accordance with specific legal requirements.
Summarised pupil and staff files and other categories of personal information form the basis of our historical archives and may be retained indefinitely for reference, historical and research purposes.
Retained personal data will be held securely and accessed only by those with reason to view it. Retained personal data will be regularly reviewed to ensure it remains relevant, necessary and accurate. When it is no longer necessary to keep the data, it will be securely destroyed.
If you have any specific queries about how our retention policy is applied, or wish to request that personal data that you no longer believe to be relevant is considered for erasure, please contact the Information Officer (select Data Privacy). However, please bear in mind that the College will often have lawful and necessary reasons to hold on to some personal data even following such request.
A limited and reasonable amount of information will be kept for archiving purposes, for example; and even where you have requested we no longer keep in touch with you, we will need to keep a record of the fact in order to fulfil your wishes (this is called a “suppression record”).
Keeping in touch and supporting the College
The College will use the contact details of parents, former pupils and other members of the College community to keep them updated about the activities of the College, including College news and events by email and by post. Unless the relevant individual objects, the College will also:
- Share personal data about former pupils, as appropriate, with the Gordonian Association to help maintain relationships with the College community.
- Contact former pupils by email and post in order to update former pupils of the College about alumni news, events, publications and new initiatives;
- Collect information from publicly available sources about parents' and former pupils' occupation and activities in order to maximise the College's development programmes (mentoring, events, careers advice and fundraising)
- Should you wish to limit or object to any such use, or would like further information about them, please contact the Information Officer in writing. You always have the right to withdraw consent, where given, or otherwise object to direct marketing or fundraising. However, the College is nonetheless likely to retain some of your details (not least to ensure that no more communications are sent to that particular address, email or telephone number).
Rights of access
Individuals have various rights under Data Protection Law to access and understand personal data about them held by the College, and in some cases ask for it to be erased or amended or have it transferred to others, or for the College to stop processing it - but subject to certain exemptions and limitations.
Any individual wishing to access or amend their personal data, or wishing it to be transferred to another person or organisation, or who has some other objection to how their personal data is used, should put their request in writing to the Information Officer.
The College will endeavour to respond to any such written requests as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any event within statutory time-limits (which is one month in the case of requests for access to information). The College will be better able to respond quickly to smaller, targeted requests for information. If the request for information is manifestly excessive or similar to previous requests, the College may ask you to reconsider or require a proportionate fee where Data Protection Law allows it.
We may have to contact you initially to confirm your identity before we can proceed to act on any request.
Requests that cannot be fulfilled
You should be aware that the right of access is limited to your own personal data, and certain data is exempt from the right of access. This will include information which identifies other individuals (and parents need to be aware this may include their own children, in certain limited situations - please see further below), or information which is subject to legal privilege (for example legal advice given to or sought by the College, or documents prepared in connection with a legal action).
The College is also not required to disclose any pupil examination scripts (or other information consisting solely of pupil test answers), provide examination or other test marks ahead of any ordinary publication, nor share any confidential reference given by the College itself for the purposes of the education, training or employment of any individual.
You may have heard of the “right to be forgotten”. However, we will sometimes have compelling reasons to refuse specific requests to amend, delete, or stop processing your (or your child’s) personal data: for example, a legal requirement, or where it falls within a legitimate interest identified in this Privacy Statement. All such requests will be considered on their own merits.
Pupils can make subject access requests for their own personal data, provided that, in the reasonable opinion of the College, they have sufficient maturity to understand the request they are making (see section Whose Rights? below). A pupil of any age may ask a parent or other representative to make a subject access request on his/her behalf.
Indeed, while a person with parental responsibility will generally be entitled to make a subject access request on behalf of younger pupils, the law still considers the information in question to be the child’s: for older pupils, the parent making the request may need to evidence their child's authority for the specific request.
Pupils aged 12 and above are generally assumed to have this level of maturity, although this will depend on both the child and the personal data requested, including any relevant circumstances at home. Slightly younger children may however be sufficiently mature to have a say in this decision, depending on the child and the circumstances.
It should be clearly understood that the rules on subject access are not the sole basis on which information requests are handled. Parents may not have a statutory right to information, but they and others will often have a legitimate interest or expectation in receiving certain information about pupils without their consent. The College may consider there are lawful grounds for sharing with or without reference to that pupil.
Parents will in general receive educational and pastoral updates about their children in accordance with the Enrolment Agreement. Where parents are separated, the College will in most cases aim to provide the same information to each person with parental responsibility, but may need to factor in all the circumstances including the express wishes of the child.
All information requests from, on behalf of, or concerning pupils – whether made under subject access or simply as an incidental request – will therefore be considered on a case by case basis.
Where the College is relying on consent as a means to process personal data, any person may withdraw this consent at any time (subject to similar age considerations as above). Examples where we do rely on consent are: certain types of uses of images and video, certain types of fundraising activity. Please be aware however that the College may not be relying on consent but have another lawful reason to process the personal data in question even without your consent.
That reason will usually have been asserted under this Privacy Statement, or may otherwise exist under some form of contract or agreement with the individual (e.g. an employment contract or enrolment agreement, or because a purchase of goods, services or membership of an organisation such as an alumni or parents' association has been requested).
The rights under Data Protection Law belong to the individual to whom the data relates. However, the College will often rely on parental authority or notice for the necessary ways it processes personal data relating to pupils – for example, under the enrolment agreement, or via a form. Parents and pupils should be aware that this is not necessarily the same as the College relying on strict consent (see section on Consent above).
Where consent is required, it may in some cases be necessary or appropriate – given the nature of the processing in question, and the pupil's age and understanding – to seek the pupil's consent. Parents should be aware that in such situations they may not be consulted, depending on the interests of the child, the parents’ rights at law or under their contract, and all the circumstances.
In general, the College will assume that pupils’ consent is not required for ordinary disclosure of their personal data to their parents, e.g. for the purposes of keeping parents informed about the pupil's activities, progress and behaviour, and in the interests of the pupil's welfare. That is unless, in the College's opinion, there is a good reason to do otherwise.
However, where a pupil seeks to raise concerns confidentially with a member of staff and expressly withholds their agreement to their personal data being disclosed to their parents, the College may be under an obligation to maintain confidentiality unless, in the College's opinion, there is a good reason to do otherwise; for example where the College believes disclosure will be in the best interests of the pupil or other pupils, or if required by law.
Pupils are required to respect the personal data and privacy of others, and to comply with the College's Responsible Use Agreement and the College rules. Staff are under professional duties to do the same covered under the Staff Responsible Use Agreement and Data Protection Policy.
Data accuracy and security
The College will endeavour to ensure that all personal data held in relation to an individual is as up to date and accurate as possible. Individuals must please notify the College via firstname.lastname@example.org of any significant changes to important information, such as contact details, held about them.
An individual has the right to request that any out-of-date, irrelevant or inaccurate or information about them is erased or corrected (subject to certain exemptions and limitations under Data Protection Law): please see above for details of why the College may need to process your data, of who you may contact if you disagree.
The College will take appropriate technical and organisational steps to ensure the security of personal data about individuals, including policies around use of technology and devices, and access to College systems. All staff and governors will be made aware of this policy and their duties under Data Protection Law and receive relevant training.
The College will update this Privacy Statement from time to time. Any substantial changes that affect your rights will be provided to you directly as far as is reasonably practicable.
Queries and complaints
Any comments or queries on this policy should be directed to the Information Officer via our website (select Data Privacy) or by post to Robert Gordon’s College, Schoolhill, Aberdeen AB10 1FE.
If an individual believes that the College has not complied with this policy or acted otherwise than in accordance with Data Protection Law, they should utilise the College Guidelines for Complaints procedure and should also notify the Head of College. You can also make a referral to, or lodge a complaint with, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), although the ICO recommends that steps are taken to resolve the matter with the College before involving the regulator.
Data protection and legislation
Current legislation includes the Data Protection Act 2018 and the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 (the General Data Protection Regulation).