Introduction to Education Records

This Step-by-Step Guide covers the process of obtaining information from the school and other services that can be used as evidence to support a challenge to a school exclusion.

This includes the processes of Subject Access and Freedom of Information requests.

Subject Access Requests

Subject Access Requests ("SAR") are the process of obtaining information that relates to an individual. If a document, video or other form of information held by a school or other service relates to or clearly identifies a person, then it will likely constitute personal information that can be obtained through the right of subject access.

This will include a young person's school file and the school's correspondence that relates to them.

Freedom of Information

A freedom of information The process for obtaining information about a school or other body that is not personal to any individual. request is the process of obtaining information from a public body An organisation that performs a public function with public funds. Includes schools (includes academies and free-schools, but not independent or private schools), CAMHS, the local authority and the police. that does not relate to an individual. This can include information about the organisation itself, it's finances or operations.

The School File

There is a separate right to access the school file contained in the Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005. This applies only to maintained schools A school that is funded by and under the control of the local authority A borough, county or city council that has responsibility for providing education to children in their area. . and does not include correspondence or other documents that is recorded, but not placed on a students' school file.

The steps in this guide:

  1. Obtaining the young person’s or parent’s authority to request information;
  2. Identifying relevant places to request information;
  3. Identifying the type of request you need to make;
  4. Checking to see if the family have already made a subject access request The legal process for obtaining information about yourself or a person you are representing that is held by a school or other body. ;
  5. Making a subject access request The legal process for obtaining information about yourself or a person you are representing that is held by a school or other body. or freedom of information The process for obtaining information about a school or other body that is not personal to any individual. request;
  6. Chasing a subject access request The legal process for obtaining information about yourself or a person you are representing that is held by a school or other body. or freedom of information The process for obtaining information about a school or other body that is not personal to any individual. request;
  7. Reviewing the response to a subject access request The legal process for obtaining information about yourself or a person you are representing that is held by a school or other body. or freedom of information The process for obtaining information about a school or other body that is not personal to any individual. request to make sure you have all the information you are entitled to;
  8. Raising concerns with the data-controller An organisation that holds information about a person. In relation to school files, the school holding the file is the data-controller over an unsatisfactory response to a subject access request The legal process for obtaining information about yourself or a person you are representing that is held by a school or other body. or freedom of information The process for obtaining information about a school or other body that is not personal to any individual. request;
  9. Making a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office about an unsatisfactory subject access request The legal process for obtaining information about yourself or a person you are representing that is held by a school or other body. or freedom of information The process for obtaining information about a school or other body that is not personal to any individual. request.

When to use this guide

It’s always best to request information as early as possible. It can take some time to get the information you want and hearings may come up sooner than a deadline to receive information.

More Information

                                                     Begin