Data safety concerns about online pupils' records

Privacy threat from data streamlining?

Reuters reports that UK school pupils aged 14 to 19 are to have their personal details and exam results stored permanently online as of this coming September. The move is part of a new system which will keep a record of qualifications and information including pupils’ name, address and date of birth.

Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education Bill Rammell said: "It will allow each learner to build up a record of the skills they have gained and the learning they have achieved."

Article continues below

Privacy concerns

The Confederation of British Industry, which represents UK employers, welcomed the move. "This system could enable employers to double check an applicant's qualifications," said spokesman Richard Wainer.

Following a number of recent cases of details being lost, including those of 25 million child benefit claimants in November, some concerns have been raised about the implications of universities, colleges and employers having access to these records.

TechRadar spoke with Stuart Swann, an education and technology consultant this morning who told us:

“Schools have been storing data online for quite some time, but most of the time its locked down to public view and at the school, so this may not be such a great leap forward as it might seem.

“To me, this looks like a sound idea - streamlining processes and taking weight off paperwork and so on, but it needs to be very carefully implemented and with the support and co-operation of parents.”