All staff, service providers (contractors) and agents, (whether paid or unpaid) of the Department, and this Victorian government school (our school), must comply with Victorian privacy law and this policy.
In Victorian government schools the management of ‘personal information’ and ‘health information’ is governed by the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and Health Records Act 2001 (Vic) (collectively, Victorian privacy law).
Personal information is recorded information or opinion, whether true or not, about a person whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information. The information or opinion can be recorded in any form. A person’s name, address, phone number and date of birth (age) are all examples of personal information.
Sensitive information is a type of personal information with stronger legal protections due to the risk of discrimination. It includes information or opinion about an identifiable person’s racial or ethnic origin, political opinions or affiliations, religious beliefs or affiliations, philosophical beliefs, sexual orientation or practices, criminal record, or membership of a trade union.
Personal and sensitive information is regulated in Victoria under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic).
Health information is information or opinion about an identifiable person’s physical, mental or psychological health or disability. Health information is a type of personal information which, because of its sensitivity, also has different and stronger legal protections.
Health information is regulated in Victoria under the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic).
Note: De-identified information about individuals can become personal information if it is re-identified or if it is at high risk of being re-identified, for example, if it is released to the public or is a small sample size.
What information do we collect?
Schools collect the following types of information.
Information about students and their families provided by students, their families and others – for example, contact and enrolment details, health information, and parenting and access arrangements.
Information about job applicants, staff, volunteers and visitors provided by job applicants, staff members, volunteers, visitors and others – for example, qualifications, working with children checks, teacher registration and banking details.
Information about the activities of students, staff and families if they are on school grounds (for example captured through CCTV) or using school or departmental systems (such as school networks or school-acquired software).
How do we collect this information?
Schools collect information in a number of ways, including:
in person and over the phone: from students and their families, staff, volunteers, visitors, job applicants and others
from electronic and paper documentation: such as job applications, emails, invoices, letters, and forms (such as enrolment, excursion, medical, specialist or consent forms)
through school websites and school-controlled social media
through online tools: such as apps and other software used by schools
through any CCTV cameras located at schools
through photographs, film and other recordings
through polls, surveys and questionnaires
and, in some cases, through authorised information sharing arrangements with other services.
Why do we collect this information?
Primary purposes of collecting information about students and their families
Schools collect information about students and their families when necessary to:
support students’ social and emotional wellbeing, and health
fulfil legal requirements, including to:take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of reasonably foreseeable harm to students, staff and visitors (duty of care)
make reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities (anti-discrimination law)
ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of people in school workplaces (occupational health and safety law)
enable schools to:communicate with parents about students’ schooling matters and celebrate the efforts and achievements of students
maintain the good order and management of schools
enable the Department to:ensure the effective management, resourcing and administration of schools
fulfil statutory functions and duties
plan, fund, monitor, regulate and evaluate the Department’s policies, services and functions
comply with reporting requirements
investigate incidents in schools and/or respond to any legal claims against the Department, including any of its schools.
Primary purposes of collecting information about others
Schools collect information about staff, volunteers and job applicants:
to assess applicants’ suitability for employment or volunteering
to administer employment or volunteer placement
for insurance purposes, including public liability and WorkCover
to fulfil various legal obligations, including employment and contractual obligations, occupational health and safety law and to investigate incidents
to respond to legal claims against schools/the Department.
When do we use or disclose information?
Using and/or disclosing information refers to how it is utilised for a specific purpose, and how it is shared and/or made available to other individuals or organisations.
Schools use or disclose information consistent with Victorian privacy law and other associated legislation, including as follows:
for a primary purpose – as defined above
for a related secondary purpose that is reasonably to be expected – for example, to enable the school council to fulfil its objectives, functions and powers
with notice and/or consent – for example, consent provided for the use and disclosure of enrolment details (the information collected will not be disclosed beyond the Department without consent, unless such disclosure is lawful)
when the Department reasonably believes it is necessary to lessen or prevent a serious threat to:a person’s life, health, safety or welfare
the public’s health, safety or welfare
when required or authorised by law – including as a result of our anti-discrimination law, occupational health and safety law, child wellbeing and safety law, family violence law, or reporting obligations to agencies such as the Department of Health and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and complying with tribunal or court orders, subpoenas, summonses or search warrants, and in some circumstances to meet our duty of care
when required under the Child and Family Violence Information Sharing Schemes, with other Victorian schools and Victorian services to promote the wellbeing or safety of children, or to assess or manage family violence risk
to investigate or report suspected unlawful activity, or when reasonably necessary for a specified law enforcement purpose, including the prevention or investigation of a criminal offence or seriously improper conduct, by or on behalf of a law enforcement agency
as de-identified information, for research or school statistics purposes, or to inform departmental policy and strategy
to establish or respond to a legal claim.
Updating your information
It is important that the information we hold about students, families and staff is accurate, complete and up to date. Please contact your school’s general office when information you have provided to them has changed.