Developing a Policy on Confidentiality in Schools for Issues Related to Sex and Relationships

Last Updated: 02 Apr 2023
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Schools need to develop their policy on confidentiality (with particular reference to giving support and advice to children and young people on issues relating to sex and relationships). It is important schools have an established procedure for dealing with confidentiality, which is understood by pupils, staff, parents, careers and visitors rather than develop ad hoc arrangements in response to a crisis. The procedures need to be consistent and protect the interests of both pupils and staff.

Having a policy will help to ensure there is a shared understanding of how confidentiality operates in your school community. A consistent, shared ethos and practice will help pupils, staff, parents, careers and visitors deal with ND know where they stand with confidential issues and will help you to deal with disclosure of information and establish ways of working (for example in SHE) which respect privacy and avoid unnecessary personal disclosure.

This document does not suggest that all members of the school community should offer the same levels of confidentiality. Steps need to be taken to ensure that confidential disclosures are made to the appropriate person at the appropriate time. In order to ensure this, all members of the school community need to be aware of the limits of confidentiality available in different circumstances and by different individuals.

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As part of a whole school policy on confidentiality schools should consider other aspects of school life where confidentiality may be pertinent, such as handling pupil data. You should also consider the professional support and supervision that teaching and non-teaching staff, including volunteers, such as mentors, need to ensure the protection, health, safety and well being of both the pupils and staff and practical considerations which require school staff to share information in the best interests of individual pupils and all pupils collectively.

Human Rights Act 1998: Gives everyone the right to "respect for his private ND family life, his home and his correspondence", unless this is overridden by the 'public interest', e. G. For reasons of Child Protection, for the protection of public safety, public order, health or morals or for the rights and freedoms of others. Data Protection Act 1998: This applies to personal data of living, identifiable individuals, not anonymous data; manual and electronic records.

Schools need to be clear, when collecting personal data, what purposes it will be used for and schools should have policies to clarify this to staff, pupils and parents. Freedom Of Information Act 2000: Amends the Data Protection Act. Gives everyone the right to request any records a public body, including schools, holds about them. A school may withhold information it has if it is considered the information may damage the recipient, if disclosed. A School's data or record keeping policy should also cover the requirements of this Act. . Children and young people particularly can feel vulnerable about making disclosures for fear of being in trouble themselves, the repercussions of anyone else getting into trouble and fearing they might be guilty or responsible themselves. They do not always rationalist on wider issues such s the fact that problems do not always go away by themselves, their own human right to respectful treatment and are capable of not speaking and dwelling on problems and perhaps enlarging them in their own minds.

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Developing a Policy on Confidentiality in Schools for Issues Related to Sex and Relationships. (2018, Apr 22). Retrieved from

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