Virtual School privacy policy

This notice explains what personal data (information) we hold about you, how we collect it, how we use it and how we may share information that we hold about you in order to deliver our services. We are required to give you this information under data protection law. Northamptonshire County Council is committed to protecting your privacy when you use our services. The Privacy Notice below explains how we use information about you and how we protect your privacy.

Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) complies with data protection legislation (the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and is registered as a 'Data Controller' (Reg. No. Z7589390).

Who we are

Children First Northamptonshire is part of Northamptonshire County Council and provides services in the following areas:

  • Adoption and Fostering
  • Help and Protection for Children
  • Early Years
  • Schools, Education and Governance
  • Special Educational Needs and Disability
  • Youth Offending Service

The Virtual School, a statutory service, is a team of teachers and dedicated education professionals who work to support the education of Northamptonshire's children in care by:

  • championing the educational needs of looked after children
  • improving the educational achievement of looked after children
  • monitoring admissions, attendance and exclusions and gives support where appropriate

All children and young people in the care of Northamptonshire County Council belong to the Virtual School as well as their mainstream school, whether this is in Northamptonshire or out of county. The Virtual School also has a statutory responsibility to promote the educational achievement of children and young people who were previously looked after by making available information and advice to parents and other professionals. 

What personal information do we collect to deliver this service?

(Please note that this list is not exhaustive)

  • personal Information such as name, address, date of birth, gender
  • special information such as ethnicity, religion, disabilities, language
  • details of any assigned professionals or practitioners
  • care order details
  • Child in Care status
  • current school
  • education history
  • family information
  • Pupil Premium Plus details
  • SEND details
  • safeguarding information
  • Unique Pupil Reference Number

We also may collect the following information from educational settings (this lists are not exhaustive):

  • details of payments to schools
  • DFE number
  • Governor details
  • Evaluation reports
  • Ofsted category

We will seek information from sources including:

  • Other Northamptonshire County Council departments
  • Ofsted
  • E-PEP web form

How we collect this personal information

  • face to face
  • assessment or report
  • telephone
  • email
  • E-PEP web form

How your personal information is stored

We hold data securely for the set amount of time detailed in our records Retention Schedule. For more information in regards to this and how we keep your information safe please check our Records retention schedule.

Purposes of collecting personal information

  • assessments
  • service delivery
  • service improvement
  • service planning and research

How we use this personal information

  • to discharge statutory duties in regards to Children in Care
  • to promote the educational achievement of Children in Care
  • to advise and provide guidance, support and challenge to schools, other settings and stakeholders

How long your personal information is held for

Information which you have provided the council will be stored securely in line with the retention periods shown below after which time it is archived or securely destroyed, unless we are required by law to retain records for longer than the stated retention period. The information will only be used for the purposes stated when it was collected. Information will not be sold, rented or provided to anyone else, or used for any other purpose than that for which it was originally collected unless required to by law.

What is the legal basis for the collection and use of your personal information?

We collect and use your personal information in order to:

  • perform a Statutory Duty
  • to enable service delivery
  • to enable official reporting
  • to manage funds and grants

The additional legal bases that govern and direct the delivery of services is as follows:

  • The Children Act 1989, as amended by the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
  • The Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010, as amended.

Who we may share your information with

If required we will share your information with other Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) departments such as:

  • Children First
  • Learning, Skills and Education
  • LGSS Legal

We may also share your information outside of NCC with the following organisations (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Adoption Agencies
  • Advocates
  • Department for Education
  • Commissioned Delivery Partners
  • Independent Education providers
  • Local Authorities
  • Ofsted
  • Police
  • Residential care providers
  • Substance services
  • Youth Offending Service

Why do we share this information?

In order for the service to fully carry out its legal duties and to deliver its service it is a necessary requirement to share this information.

We will share personal information with law enforcement or other authorities if required by applicable law.

Your rights

Under GDPR you have rights which you can exercise free of charge which allow you to:

  • know what we are doing with your information and why we are doing it
  • ask to see what information we hold about you (subject access request)
  • ask us to correct any mistakes in the information we hold about you
  • object to direct marketing
  • make a complaint to the Information Commissioners Office
  • withdraw consent at any time (if applicable as this will not be possible in certain circumstances)

Depending on our reason for using your information you may also be entitled to:

  • ask us to delete information we hold about you (if applicable) have your information transferred electronically to yourself or to another organisation
  • object to decisions being made that significantly affect you
  • object to how we are using your information
  • stop us using your information in certain ways

We will always seek to comply with your request however we may be required to hold or use your information to comply with legal duties which will override the requirements of the GDPR. Please note, your request may delay or prevent us delivering a service to you.

For further information about your rights, including the circumstances in which they apply, see the guidance from the UK Information Commissioners Office (ICO) on individuals' rights under GDPR.

We are required under Section 6 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 to participate in the National Fraud Initiative data matching exercise. The data held will be used for cross-system and cross authority comparison for the prevention and detection of fraud. For further information see the National Fraud Initiative webpage.

Keeping your personal information secure

We have appropriate security measures in place to prevent personal information from being accidentally lost, or used or accessed in an unauthorised way. We limit access to your personal information to those who have a genuine business need to know it. Those processing your information will do so only in an authorised manner and are subject to a duty of confidentiality.

We also have procedures in place to deal with any suspected data security breach. We will notify you and any applicable regulator of a suspected data security breach where we are legally required to do so.

Requesting access to your personal information

Under data protection legislation, parents, carers and children have the right to request access to information that we hold on them. To make a request for your personal information please contact:

FOI/Data Protection Team
Northamptonshire County Council
One Angel Square


Phone: 01604 368 360

If you have a concern about the way we are collecting or using your personal information, you should raise your concern with us in the first instance. GDPR also gives you right to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority. The supervisory authority in the UK is the Information Commissioner who may be contacted on 03031 231 113. Or see the ICO Website for further details.

Read our corporate privacy statement for more information.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss anything in this Privacy Notice please contact:

Data Protection Officer
Northamptonshire County Council
One Angel Square


Phone number: 01604 368 360