School near Wrexham alerts parents as pupil info lost


Charlie Croasdale

DATA containing details on children who have attended a primary school over the past decade has been lost.

Ysgol Sant Dunawd in Bangor-on-Dee near Wrexham is appealing to parents of pupils, past and present, to get in touch over the potential loss of data, after a backup device containing the Schools’ Information Management System (SIMS) database went missing.

The device, which the school claim is ‘highly likely’ to still be on the premises, contains personal information of pupils and parents, and includes some details of card transactions from parents or guardians for school trips and cheque payments.

The loss of data has been reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). It has responded by saying no further action is necessary at this stage, as the hard drive was encrypted and it’s ‘unlikely’ the data contained could be accessed.

However, St Dunawd’s is sufficiently worried about the data loss to want to speak with parents whose children have attended the primary school since 2004.

The school has contacted parents and carers of current pupils to say there are no signs of break-in, damage or theft and the room in which the device was located is within a secured area of the school.

An investigation into the loss by the school and Wrexham Council has concluded it is ‘highly likely’ the device has been misplaced and is still on the premises.

The backup device contained a copy of backup files. These in turn contained the SIMS database, other software, and files.

Headteacher Sara Tate said the school was taking the matter “very seriously”, adding a review into internal procedures had taken place to prevent a repeat incident.

She said: “Parents who may be concerned security of their personal information has been compromised are welcome to contact us so we can give them the full details of the event and the Information Commissioners conclusion. There is every reason to believe the device is still on the school premises. 

“We take the matter very seriously and have followed all best practice procedures. We have also reviewed our internal procedures to safeguard against a similar occurrence in the future.

“This database includes information relating to names, date of births, addresses, telephone numbers. There are details of cheque payments on there and payments by card for school trips. We are asking all parents of pupils from the past 10 years to get in touch with us so we can tick them off the list of people we need to notify.”

A statement from Wrexham Council said the Bangor-on-Dee school has followed the best practice and guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office and parents and carers of children at the school have been notified.

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office said: “At the time of the loss the external hard drive was encrypted making it unlikely that the data it contained could be accessed. Therefore, the case, as reported to us, does not appear to meet the criteria set out in our Data Protection Regulatory Action Policy necessitating further action by the ICO.”

Anyone with concerns is asked to ring the school on telephone number 01978 780757.

See full story in the Leader

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