Student Rights

Free legal help for students, parents & caregivers

Schools storing and protecting your information

What obligations do schools have to protect student information?

Privacy Act 1993, s 6 (principle 5)

Schools must use reasonable safeguards to prevent students’ information being lost, being misused, or being accessed or given out when this isn’t authorised. For instance, a teacher shouldn’t leave a student’s private information lying on the teacher’s desk while the teacher isn’t there so that students or other school staff could see it.

What happens to information about a student who has left the school?

Privacy Act 1993, s 6 (principle 9)
Public Records Act 2005

Schools shouldn’t keep student information that they no longer need. There are, however, legitimate reasons for holding on to some information – for example, state schools are legally required to keep some school records for archival purposes.

If a school wants to keep student information so that that they can provide references and maintain a record of ex-students, they need to get the former student’s permission.