Keeping schools safe

Have you lawfully disposed of student records during the summer break? Secure shredding in your school is a vital part of being GDPR compliant and will contribute to boosting your Ofsted score. As UK fraud reached record highs last year, there has never been a better time to re-organise filing systems and legally dispose of outdated student records, exam papers and staff records via secure on-site shredding, to help protect schools and educational institutions from a data breach.

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), there was a 22% increase in the loss or theft of paperwork in 2017; the ICO suggested that these figures were a result of problems with effective disposal of paper records.

To lawfully and efficiently dispose of data, it’s important to realise what types of data should be shredded and when. We’ve outlined them below:

How long to keep school records?

Our most requested service from schools is to bulk shred school records and exam papers which have to be kept for a certain amount of time after students or staff members leave the school or college. Records often contain personal details such as names, addresses, dates of birth and educational details.

When records are no longer needed it can be difficult to decide when they should be destroyed. Keeping pupil records indefinitely can pose their own threats including a lack of space or the risk of a data breach. Even though you no longer need or use student records, under the new GDPR regulations it is still your responsibility to make sure they’re held securely or disposed of securely. As the data holder, you have a responsibility to set a time frame for the destruction of records and you should notify the person it relates in case they wish to have their own copy of the record before the original is destroyed.

Financial records do differ slightly from school records in that they may need to be available for a longer period of time. For this reason, it may be worth transferring data to an online storage cloud service or send it for safe storage off-site, which will free up physical space in your workplace.

GDPR compliance in schools

The issue of safe and secure disposal also applies to technical equipment. Under the Data Protection Act 2018 you have to actively demonstrate that you are compliant. In order to make sure you are GDPR compliant and therefore compliant to Ofsted standards you can’t just throw technical equipment in the bin as they need to be disposed of carefully. Even broken or unused hard drives, computer towers or laptops may still contain accessible sensitive information which needs to be correctly destroyed. Topwood can provide a media shredding service which can shred hard drives equipment along with paper, making it impossible for data to be retrieved.

The safe and secure disposal of documents or hard drives is only part of the requirement. Data or information holders are also required to prove that the data has been securely destroyed. This not only shows compliance but offers peace of mind. If you’re struggling for space and are surrounded by old files, student records, exam papers and storage devices, don’t just put them in the bin. As a data holder you are responsible for storing and removing the data and you would be held accountable if the data got into the wrong hands. Whether it’s a shredding, storage, or an online archive solution we can help you remove physical clutter safely and lawfully so you can start fresh for the new school year.

Do I need to remove staples before shredding?

No, you do not need to remove staples or any other stationery before shredding. Don’t let your staff waste their time by removing staples, as our shredders can cut through any stationery and cross-cut your documents and files to the highest security standard EN15713. Have a look at just some of the stationery our shredders can cut through below – read more about shredding staples here. 100% of the paper shredded on-site gets taken away for recycling. We also provide a certificate of destruction afterwards for the complete chain of custody process.