Privacy   Policy

Applicable to all members of the School community (past and present)

Glossary of key terms

Data Controllers” means organisations, including independent schools, that determine how people’s personal data is processed and for what purpose. Strictly – and in liability terms – this may be trustees / board of governors, or the “top” company or charity in a group, depending on how the school (or group of schools) is structured. However, as a pragmatic distinction, each individual school is likely to make its own decisions about use of data and needs its own policies and Privacy Notice. 

Data Subjects” means any living individuals whose data the Data Controller processes.

Processing” means any action in relation to that personal data, including filing and communication.

“Personal Data” includes everything from which a Data Subject can be identified. It can be paper-based or electronically stored information relating to a living individual who can be identified from information in our possession. Personal data can be factual (for example, a name, address or date of birth) or it can be an opinion about that person, their actions and behaviour. This includes any expression of opinion about an individual and intentions towards an individual as well as fact. It also applies to photographs or video clips (including CCTV) or sound recordings of an identifiable individual.

Some categories of Personal Data are “special category data” under the GDPR (broadly equivalent to “sensitive” personal data under the old law, but with criminal data treated separately). These comprise data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, or trade union membership; data concerning health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation; and (new to GDPR) biometric data. Extra safeguards are provided by law for processing of such data.


Benenden School (Kent) Ltd is the data controller of the personal data that it holds in relation to Benenden School (Kent) Ltd and its subsidiaries (collectively “Benenden” or “the School”) and processes the personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (EU 2016/679) effective 25 May 2018 and UJ Data protection Act 2018.


This policy is intended to provide information about how the School will use (or “process”) personal data about individuals including: its staff; its current, past and prospective pupils; and their parents, carers or guardians (referred to in this policy as “parents”), donors or prospective supporters. Collectively we refer to these individuals in the Privacy Notice as the School’s community.

This information is provided because Data Protection Law gives individuals rights to understand how their data is used. Staff, parents and pupils are all encouraged to read this Privacy Notice and understand the school’s obligations to its entire community.

This Privacy Notice applies alongside any other information the school may provide about a particular use of personal data, for example when collecting data via an online or paper form.

This Privacy Notice also applies in addition to the School’s other relevant terms and conditions and policies, including:

  • any contract between the School and its staff or the parents of pupils;
  • any policies or notices applicable to staff concerning the handling of personal data;
  • the School’s policy on taking, storing and using images of children;
  • the School’s CCTV and/or biometrics policy;
  • the School’s retention of records policy;
  • the School’s safeguarding, pastoral, or health and safety policies, including as to how concerns or incidents are recorded; and
  • the School’s IT policies, including its Online Safety and Acceptable Use policies.

Anyone who works for, or acts on behalf of, the School (including staff, pupils, volunteers, governors, seniors, friends and service providers) should also be aware of and comply with this Privacy Notice. 


The School has appointed the Director of Finance and Operations (DFO) as the Privacy and Compliance Officer. They will deal with all requests and enquiries concerning the School’s uses of your personal data (see section on Your Rights below) and endeavour to ensure that all personal data is processed in compliance with this policy and Data Protection Law.

Contact Details:

Telephone:  01580 240592

The School has also appointed an independent Data Protection Officer (DPO) to handle queries and to provide us with assurance that we are compliant with Data Protection Law.

DPO Contact Details: Securys Limited, 161-165 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3AL

0800 193 8700


In order to carry out its ordinary duties to staff, pupils, parents, seniors and friends of the School needs to process a wide range of personal data about individuals (including current, past and prospective staff, pupils or parents and contractors) as part of its daily operation.

Some of this activity the School will need to carry out in order to fulfil its legal rights, duties or obligations – including those under a contract with its staff (as detailed within the separate staff privacy notice) or parents of its pupils. Processing of personal data on the basis of contract includes:

  • Provision of education services, including musical education, physical training or spiritual development, career services, and extra-curricular activities to pupils, and monitoring pupils’ progress and educational needs including where such services are provided remotely (either temporarily or permanently);
  • Fee collection
  • Recruitment, staff management and payroll

Some processing of personal data is on the basis of consent, including:

  • Direct marketing and fundraising communications
  • Website analytics

Other uses of personal data will be made in accordance with the School’s legitimate interests, or the legitimate interests of another, provided that these are not outweighed by the impact on individuals, and provided it does not involve special or sensitive types of data.

The School expects that the following uses will fall within that category of its (or its community’s) “legitimate interests”:

  • For the purposes of pupil selection (and to confirm the identity of prospective pupils and their parents), and retain a record if appropriate for the purpose of future applications or openings;
  • Management and support of staff, as detailed within the Staff Privacy Notice
  • Maintaining relationships with alumni and the School community through newsletters
  • For the purposes of donor due diligence and research on prospective supporters,, and to confirm the identity of prospective donors and relevant information about their background;
  • For the purposes of management planning and forecasting, research and statistical analysis, including that imposed or provided for by law (such as tax, diversity (including gender and ethnicity) or gender pay gap analysis);
  • To enable relevant authorities to monitor the School’s performance and to intervene or assist with incidents as appropriate;
  • To give and receive information and references about past, current and prospective pupils, including relating to outstanding fees or payment history, to/from any educational institution that the pupil attended or where it is proposed they attend; and to provide references to potential employers of past pupils;
  • To enable pupils to take part in national or other assessments, and to publish the results of public examinations or other achievements of pupils of the School;
  • To safeguard pupils’ welfare and provide appropriate pastoral care;
  • To monitor (as appropriate) use of the School’s IT and communications systems in accordance with the School’s IT: Acceptable Use Policy;
  • To make use of photographic images and recordings of pupils in School publications, on the School website and (where appropriate) on the School’s social media channels in accordance with the School’s Communications, Images and Media policy;
  • For security purposes, including access control, biometrics and CCTV in accordance with the relevant School policies;
  • For regulatory record keeping / compliance purposes in respect of immigration requirements, as an employer and/or visa sponsor.
  • To carry out or cooperate with any School or external complaints, disciplinary or investigation process; and
  • Where otherwise reasonably necessary for the School’s purposes, including to obtain appropriate professional advice and insurance for the School.

In addition, the School will on occasion need to process special category personal data (concerning health, ethnicity, religion, biometrics or sexual life) or criminal records information (such as when carrying out DBS checks) in accordance with rights or duties imposed on it by law, including as regards safeguarding and employment, or from time to time by explicit consent where required. These reasons will include:

  • To safeguard pupils’ welfare and provide appropriate pastoral (and where necessary, medical) care, and to take appropriate action in the event of an emergency, incident or accident, including by disclosing details of an individual’s medical condition or other relevant information where it is in the individual’s interests to do so: for example for medical advice, for social protection, safeguarding, and cooperation with police or social services, for insurance purposes or to caterers or organisers of School trips who need to be made aware of dietary or medical needs;
  • To comply with public health requirements in respect of Covid-19 (or similar) testing: including managing on-site testing and-or processing the results of tests taken by pupils or other members of the School community, and sharing this information with relevant health authorities.
  • To provide educational services in the context of any special educational needs of a pupil;
  • To provide spiritual education in the context of any religious beliefs;
  • In connection with employment of its staff, for example DBS checks, welfare or pension plans;
  • To run any of its systems that operate on biometric data, such as for security and other forms of pupil identification;
  • As part of any School or external complaints, disciplinary or investigation process that involves such data, for example if there are special educational needs, health or safeguarding elements; or
  • For legal and regulatory purposes (for example child protection, diversity monitoring and health and safety and immigration / visa sponsorship compliance) and to comply with its legal obligations and duties of care.


This will include by way of example:

  • names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and other contact details;
  • car details (about those who access the School site and use our car parking facilities);
  • biometric information, which will be collected and used by the School in accordance with the School’s biometrics policy
  • bank details and other financial information, e.g. about parents who pay fees to the School, and any anti-money laundering information we are required to collect by law;
  • past, present and prospective pupils’ academic, disciplinary, admissions and attendance records (including information about any special needs), and examination scripts and marks;
  • personnel files, including in connection with academics, employment or safeguarding;
  • nationality and other immigration status information (e.g. right to work / study), including copies of passport information;
  • where appropriate, information about individuals’ health and welfare, and contact details for their next of kin;
  • references given or received by the School about pupils, and relevant information provided by previous educational establishments and/or other professionals or organisations working with pupils;
  • correspondence with and concerning staff, pupils and parents past and present; and
  • images and video/audio recordings of pupils (and occasionally other individuals) engaging in School activities including recorded lessons, and images captured by the School’s CCTV system (in accordance with the School’s policy on taking, storing and using images of children);


Generally, the School receives personal data from the individual directly (including, in the case of pupils, from their parents). This may be via a form, or simply in the ordinary course of interaction or communication (such as email or written assessments).

However in some cases personal data will be supplied by third parties (for example another School, or other professionals or authorities working with that individual); or collected from publicly available resources.


Processing by third parties. For the most part, personal data collected by the school will remain within the School, and will be processed by appropriate individuals only in accordance with access protocols (i.e. on a ‘need to know’ basis). However, some functions are outsourced including e.g. cloud storage. In accordance with Data Protection Law, this type of external data processing is always subject to contractual assurances that personal data will be kept securely and used only in accordance with the school’s specific directions.

Data sharing. Occasionally, the School, including its trustees and Governing Council, will need to share personal information relating to its community with third parties, such as:

  • the Benenden School Parents Association and the Benenden School Seniors Association;
  • appropriate contractors, such as visiting teachers who are not employees of the School;
  • professional advisers (e.g. lawyers, insurers, PR advisers and accountants);
  • examination boards
  • Stage 3 complaints panels, which will include independent panel members;
  • Third parties and their advisers in the event of any restructure of the School; and
  • government authorities (e.g. HMRC, DfE, CAFCASS, police, Home Office, a relevant public health / NHS body and/  or the local authority) and / or appropriate regulatory bodies e.g. the Teaching Regulation Agency, the Independent Schools Inspectorate, and the Charity Commission].


Particularly strict rules of access apply in the context of “special category” data, most notably:

  • medical records; and
  • pastoral or safeguarding files.

Medical data. The School needs to process such information to comply with statutory duties and to keep pupils and others safe, but the school will ensure only authorised staff can access information on a need-to-know basis. This may include wider dissemination if needed for school trips or for catering purposes. Express consent will be sought where appropriate.

However, a certain amount of any SEND pupil’s relevant information will need to be provided to staff more widely in the context of providing the necessary care and education that the pupil requires. 

Safeguarding data. Staff, pupils and parents are reminded that the school is under duties imposed by law and statutory guidance (including Keeping Children Safe in Education or KCSIE) to record or report incidents and concerns that arise or are reported to it, in some cases regardless of whether they are proven, if they meet a certain threshold of seriousness in their nature or regularity. This is likely to include file notes on personnel or safeguarding files, low-level concerns records kept about adults, and in some cases referrals to relevant authorities such as the LADO or police. 

KCSIE also requires that, whenever a child leaves the school to join another school or college, his or her child protection file is promptly provided to the new organisation. The school will retain a copy in accordance with its retention policy for material related to safeguarding matters.

For further information about this, please view the school’s Safeguarding Policy. 


The School will retain personal data securely and only in line with how long it is necessary to keep for a legitimate and lawful reason. Typically, the legal recommendation for how long to keep staff and pupil personnel files is up to seven years following departure from the School. However, incident reports and safeguarding files will need to be kept much longer, in accordance with specific legal requirements.

If you have any specific queries about how our retention policy is applied, or wish to request that personal data that you no longer believe to be relevant is considered for erasure, please contact the Director of Finance & Operations. However, please bear in mind that the School will often have lawful and necessary reasons to hold on to some personal data even following such request.

A limited and reasonable amount of information will be kept for archiving purposes, for example; and even where you have requested we no longer keep in touch with you, we will need to keep a record of the fact in order to fulfil your wishes (called a “suppression record”).


The School will use the contact details of parents, alumni and other members of the School community to keep them updated about the activities of the School, or alumni and parent events of interest, including by sending updates and newsletters, by email and by post.

Unless the relevant individual objects, the School will also share personal data about parents and/or alumni, as appropriate, with organisations set up to help establish and maintain relationships with the School community, such as the Benenden School Seniors Association and Benenden School Parents Association;

Benenden flourishes today because of the generous philanthropy of members of our community over prior decades. Every major capital investment to improve the School, our Complete Education, and the outstanding pastoral care we provide has been made possible through funding raised by the School’s Development Office. In recent years, this has enabled Benenden to build a new Science Centre, the All Weather Pitch and Pavilion, vital new Staff Housing, and the Theatre. In order to continue to invest in new facilities, the Development Office collects and uses personal data of members of our community so that we can manage our relationships with them, whilst better understanding how we can meet and exceed their expectations. This allows us to fundraise more efficiently and effectively to ultimately help us reach our goal to provide the best possible all-round education to every single Benenden pupil. It also enables us to ensure that we are fully compliant with laws and regulations that govern the acceptance of charitable donations, including the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Benenden is committed to protecting the personal data that we collect and process. We aim to be clear and transparent and not do anything you wouldn’t reasonably expect. We do this by ensuring you are provided with an explanation about how we collect and process the information you provide us with, or that we collect about you, whether online, via phone, email, in letters or in any other correspondence or from third parties. In the course of our planning we may acquire and use information such as business network information and publicly available information including residential location, wealth and assets, family, career, donations to other organisations (including political parties where they are made public by the individual) and hobbies and interests. From time to time we might also use third parties to undertake research on prospective supporters.  We may also work with third party consultants to help us develop innovative new ways to engage members of our community.  Such activities help us understand the background and preferences of individual members of our community and help us to provide updates about the School that will interest them, and then, in turn, make appropriate requests for gifts. They also enable us to invite members of our community to special events and briefings that we feel may be of particular interest to them.

We process information on potential donors in advance of contacting them on the basis of our Legitimate Interest in approaching people from a well-informed standpoint. Our research has shown that donors prefer this approach. Should you wish to limit or object to any such use, or would like further information, please contact the Development Director ( in writing. You always have the right to withdraw consent, where given, or otherwise object to direct marketing or fundraising. However, the School is nonetheless likely to retain some of your details (not least to ensure that no more communications are sent to that particular address, email or telephone number).


Individuals (including both pupils and parents) have various rights under Data Protection Law to access and understand personal data about them held by the School, and in some cases ask for it to be erased or amended or have it transferred to others, or for the School to stop processing it – but subject to certain exemptions and limitations. 

Any individual wishing to access or amend their personal data, or wishing it to be transferred to another person or organisation, or who has some other objection to how their personal data is used, should put their request in writing to the Director of Finance & Operations. 

The School will endeavour to respond to any such written requests as soon as is reasonably practicable and in any event within statutory time-limits (which is generally one month in the case of requests for access to information but fulfilling more complex or multiple requests, e.g. those involving third party information, may take 1-2 months longer).

        •    Rights of access, etc.

The School will be better able to respond quickly to smaller, targeted requests for information made during term time. If the request for information is manifestly excessive or similar to previous requests, the School may ask you to reconsider, or require a reasonable fee for the administrative costs of complying with the request, or in certain cases refuse the request (but only where Data Protection Law allows it, and in accordance with relevant regulatory guidance).

If you consider that the personal data we hold on you is inaccurate, please let us know. However, the school will not necessarily delete or amend views, opinions, notes or records purely on the request of an individual who disputes the account, although we may keep a record of all parties’ viewpoints.

        •     Requests that cannot be fulfilled

You should be aware that GDPR rights (the right of access) is limited to your own personal data, and certain data is exempt from the right of access. This will include information which identifies other individuals (and parents need to be aware this may include their own children, in certain limited situations – please see further below), or information which is subject to legal privilege (for example legal advice given to or sought by the School, or documents prepared in connection with a legal action, or where a duty of confidence is owned by a legal advisor).

The School is also not required to disclose any pupil examination scripts (or other information consisting solely of pupil test answers, potentially including mock exam scripts or other types of exams / tests used to assess performance – although markers’ comments may still be disclosable if they constitute pupil personal data).  The School is also not required to provide examination or other test marks ahead of any ordinary publication, nor share any confidential reference given by the School itself for the purposes of the education, training or employment of any individual.

These exemptions necessarily apply also in the context of teacher-assessed grades, where required in the absence of formal public examinations due to pandemic conditions. Please see our communications which explain what information will be provided to all relevant pupils, and when, in respect of their grades.

You may have heard of the “right to be forgotten”. However, we will sometimes have compelling reasons to refuse specific requests to amend, delete or stop processing your (or your child’s) personal data: for example, a legal requirement, or where it falls within a legitimate interest identified in this Privacy Notice. All such requests will be considered on their own merits.

  • Requests by or on behalf of pupils

Pupils can make subject access requests for their own personal data, provided that, in the reasonable opinion of the School, they have sufficient maturity to understand the request they are making (see section Whose Rights? below). A pupil of any age may ask a parent or other representative to make a subject access request on their behalf.

Indeed, while a person with parental responsibility will generally be entitled to make a subject access request on behalf of younger pupils, the law still considers the information in question to be the child’s: for older pupils, the parent making the request may need to evidence their child’s authority for the specific request. 

Pupils aged 13 and above are generally assumed to have this level of maturity, although this will depend on both the child and the personal data requested, including any relevant circumstances at home.  Slightly younger children may however be sufficiently mature to have a say in this decision, depending on the child and the circumstances.

  • Parental requests, etc.

It should be clearly understood that the rules on subject access are not the sole basis on which information requests are handled. Parents may not have a statutory right to information, but they and others will often have a legitimate interest or expectation in receiving certain information about their daughters without their consent. The School may consider there are lawful grounds for sharing with or without reference to that pupil.

Parents will in general receive educational and pastoral updates about their children, in accordance with the Parent Contract. Where parents are separated, the School will in most cases aim to provide the same information to each person with parental responsibility, but may need to factor in all the circumstances including the express wishes of the child.

All information requests from, on behalf of, or concerning pupils – whether made under subject access or simply as an incidental request – will therefore be considered on a case by case basis.

  • Consent

Where the School is relying on consent as a means to process personal data, any person may withdraw this consent at any time (subject to similar age considerations as above). Examples where we do rely on consent are: e.g. biometrics, certain types of uses of images, certain types of fundraising activity.

Please be aware however that the School may not be relying on consent but have another lawful reason to process the personal data in question even without your consent.

That reason will usually have been asserted under this Privacy Notice, or may otherwise exist under some form of contract or agreement with the individual (e.g. an employment or parent contract, or because a purchase of goods, services or membership of an organisation such as an alumni or parents’ association has been requested).

  • Whose rights?

The rights under Data Protection Law belong to the individual to whom the data relates. However, the School will often rely on parental authority or notice for the necessary ways it processes personal data relating to pupils – for example, under the parent contract, or via a form. Parents and pupils should be aware that this is not necessarily the same as the School relying on strict consent (see section on Consent above).

Where consent is required, it may in some cases be necessary or appropriate – given the nature of the processing in question, and the pupil’s age and understanding – to seek the pupil’s consent. Parents should be aware that in such situations they may not be consulted, depending on the interests of the child, the parents’ rights at law or under their contract, and all the circumstances.

In general, the School will assume that pupils’ consent is not required for ordinary disclosure of their personal data to their parents, e.g. for the purposes of keeping parents informed about the pupil’s activities, progress and behaviour, and in the interests of the pupil’s welfare. That is unless, in the School’s opinion, there is a good reason to do otherwise.

However, where a pupil seeks to raise concerns confidentially with a member of staff and expressly withholds their agreement to their personal data being disclosed to their parents, the School may be under an obligation to maintain confidentiality unless, in the School’s opinion, there is a good reason to do otherwise; for example where the School believes disclosure will be in the best interests of the pupil or other pupils, or if required by law.

Pupils are required to respect the personal data and privacy of others, and to comply with the School’s Online Safety and Acceptable Use policies and the School rules. Staff are under professional duties to do the same covered under the relevant staff policies.


The School will endeavour to ensure that all personal data held in relation to an individual is as up to date and accurate as possible.  Individuals must please notify the Director of Finance & Operations, or other individuals as relevant, of any significant changes to important information, such as contact details, held about them.   

An individual has the right to request that any out-of-date, irrelevant or inaccurate or information about them is erased or corrected (subject to certain exemptions and limitations under Data Protection Law): please see above for details of why the School may need to process your data, of who you may contact if you disagree.

The School will take appropriate technical and organisational steps to ensure the security of personal data about individuals, including policies around use of technology and devices, and access to School systems. All staff and governors will be made aware of this policy and their duties under Data Protection Law and receive relevant training. 


The School will update this Privacy Notice from time to time. Any substantial changes that affect your rights will be provided to you directly as far as is reasonably practicable.


Any comments or queries on this policy should be directed to the Director of Finance & Operations.

If an individual believes that the School has not complied with this policy or acted otherwise than in accordance with Data Protection Law, they should utilise the School complaints / grievance procedure and should also notify the Director of Finance & Operations. You can also make a referral to our Data Protection Officer or lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), although the ICO recommends that steps are taken to resolve the matter with the School before involving the regulator. 

See the Responsibility for Data Protection section above for contact details for the Director of Finance & Operations and the Data Protection Officer. Contact details for the Information Commissioner’s Office can be found at Contact us | ICO.

Updated January 2022