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Former head fined for unlawfully obtaining pupils’ data

Darren Harrison fined £700, ordered to pay £364 costs and victim surcharge of £35

Data protection

Darren Harrison fined £700, ordered to pay £364 costs and victim surcharge of £35

A former headteacher has been fined in court for unlawfully obtaining school children’s personal data from previous schools in which he had worked.

Darren Harrison of Twickenham obtained the information from two primary schools and uploaded it to his then current school’s server.

As he had no lawful reason to process the personal data, he was in breach of data-protection legislation.

Mr Harrison was suspended six months into his role as deputy head at Isleworth Town Primary School.

An IT audit found large volumes of sensitive personal data on the school’s server from his previous schools, Spelthorne Primary – where he had been head – and the Russell School in Richmond.

Mr Harrison – who said he had taken the information for professional purposes – uploaded the data onto the server via a USB stick.

Appearing before Ealing Magistrates’ Court, Harrison admitted two offences of unlawfully obtaining personal data.

He was fined £700 and ordered to pay £364.08 costs, as well as a victim surcharge of £35.

Mike Shaw, criminal investigation group manager at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), said: “Children and their parents or guardians have the right to expect that their personal data is treated with respect and that their legal right to privacy is adhered to.

“A headteacher holds a position of standing in the community and with that position comes the added responsibility to carry out their role beyond reproach.

“The ICO will continue to take action against those who we find have abused their position of trust.”

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