Schools across the North East of England are faring well with the impact of new data protection laws implemented across Europe last year, says Ward Hadaway.
New research carried out by the firm’s Education team asked school business leaders and managers how they were faring since new data protection laws were introduced in May.
Of the school leaders who responded to the survey, 84% said they had now fully encrypted school data and carried out anti-hacking testing of their networks. There was also evidence that schools are taking greater care of personal data.
Almost half of them said, however, that downloading of data on to USB and other portable devices was still permitted, showing that there is still room for improvement. All survey respondents rated their compliance as ‘good’.
The results of the survey were on the agenda of the firm’s Data Protection Law and Schools workshop held in Newcastle recently.
In the area of training, two thirds of respondents said they provided data protection updates for staff, but only 70% had taken steps to update their induction procedures to cover data protection.
Commenting on the findings, Frank Suttie, a Partner in the Education team, said: “These findings tell us that schools are working hard to protect the personal data of pupils, parents and staff despite the ever-increasing risks and other demands on their time and finances.
“However the Education sector should be looking to achieve even greater compliance – particularly in areas such as data encryption, given the extent to which personal data is shared with Government, local authorities and others in the Education system.
“Attention to more training is an area in which the sector could do better, which is particularly important when it comes to inducting new staff into an organisation.
“Schools need to remember that many of the personal data breaches that hit the news headlines arise from staff errors and inadequate training.”