Student Rights

Free legal help for students, parents & caregivers

Schools collecting your information

What information can schools collect?

Privacy Act 1993, s 6 (principle 1)

Schools can only collect information that’s necessary for a school-related purpose. This would include:

  • academic records from previous schools
  • names and contact details of parents and guardians
  • any family circumstances that might affect a student’s progress – for example, parents having recently separated, or the death of a family member.

The school’s responsibilities when it collects information

Privacy Act 1993, s 6 (principle 3)

When schools collect information from you, they must explain the following things to you:

  • the fact that the information is being collected
  • why it’s being collected
  • who’ll see the information
  • where the information will be kept
  • whether the person is legally required to provide the information
  • any consequences if they don’t provide the information
  • the person’s right to have access to the information and to ask for it to be corrected.

These things should be explained to you before you give the information or, if that’s not practical, then as soon as possible afterwards.

However, there are some situations when the school doesn’t have to explain those things – for example:

  • if you’ve recently given similar information
  • if the information is collected for statistical or research purposes and won’t be used in a way that will identify you personally.