West Sussex Virtual School privacy notice

Privacy notice specifically for statutory school-aged children/young people previously in care and using the Virtual School, and their carers and families.

This privacy notice explains:

  • how personal information is going to be used
  • what it is used for
  • who it might be shared with and why
  • how long it is kept.

The information you provide helps us deliver our services effectively.

Personal and special category data

The categories of personal data we are processing are:

  • personal identifiers and contacts of the child or young person and any adult considered to be their parent in accordance with the Education Act 1996 (such as their full name, contact details and addresses, unique pupil number, parent reference numbers)
  • characteristics of the child or young person of statutory school age (such as ethnicity, language spoken and free school meal eligibility)
  • characteristics of any adult considered a parent under the Education Act 1996 (such as language spoken, housing, employment status)
  • safeguarding information (such as court orders and professional involvement)
  • special educational needs (including the needs and ranking)
  • school attendance information (such as sessions attended, number of absences, absence reason and any previous schools attended)
  • information relating to the commission of offences and/or defence of offences (including health issues of the child or young person) within the Education Act 1996 and any criminal court proceedings arising from this
  • school records
  • behavioural information (such as exclusions and any relevant alternative provision placement put in place)
  • details of educational provision where this is not within a school setting (such as elective home education, or other independent providers).

Data Controller

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) complies with the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is registered as a ‘Data Controller’ with the Information Commissioner’s Office (Reg. No. Z6413427). 

You can find details for the WSCC Data Protection Officer (DPO) on our Privacy Policy.

We ensure that your personal data is accurate, processed fairly and lawfully, kept secure and retained for no longer than is necessary.

The legal basis for processing personal data

Processing is necessary:

  • for compliance with a legal obligation
  • to protect the vital interests of a data subject or another person
  • for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller.

The legal basis for processing special category data

Processing is necessary for:

  • carrying out obligations under social protection law
  • the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims or where the courts are acting in their judicial capacity
  • reasons of substantial public interest on the basis of law which is proportionate to the aim pursued and which contains appropriate safeguards.

If a child or other person is considered to be at risk of significant harm, people working with them will have a duty of care to share the information with the relevant services without consent.

How we use your personal information

We collect and hold personal information relating to children, young people, parents (as defined by the Education Act 1996), carers and other family members. We may also receive information from schools, colleagues, other local authorities and the Department for Education (DfE).

Our Privacy Policy determines how we use personal data. We use it specifically to:

  • undertake accurate assessments
  • ensure we discharge our statutory functions which include providing advice and guidance to all parties concerning the education of looked after and previously looked after children
  • help us develop and improve our services and those of our partner agencies
  • develop policies
  • administer and protect public funds
  • provide you with appropriate services including those from external agencies.

Who we share your information with

We do not share information about children and young people and their parents with anyone without consent, unless the law and our policies allow us to do so.

When information can be shared we may pass this securely to:

  • internal departments
  • other local authorities (education, social care and other services)
  • central Government
  • governing bodies of schools, including non-maintained and special schools and Pupil Referral Units (PRUs)
  • governing bodies of further education colleges and sixth form colleges
  • proprietors of academies, free schools and independent schools
  • Youth Offending Teams and relevant youth custodial establishments
  • HM Court Services
  • other third party organisations as allowed by law
  • other partner agencies that provide services on our behalf
  • agencies with whom we have a duty to cooperate, such as police and probation services
  • partners within the Health Service.

We will not share data with third parties for marketing purposes.

See our Privacy Policy if you require more information about how we use this data.

How long we keep your personal data

Personal data will not be retained for longer than is necessary in relation to the purposes for which they are collected.

The council is currently reviewing and updating its retention policies. See our records management page for published retention schedules.

Your rights

See our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.


See our Privacy Policy for information about making a complaint.

Last updated:
30 May 2024
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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.