Privacy Notice

This policy is the responsibility of the Assistant Bursar and is reviewed by the Governance Committee 

Last review: October 2022 

Next review: Autumn term 2023 



St Mary’s School, Cambridge (the School) is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity (company number 1840431, registered charity 290180). We take our responsibilities as a data controller seriously and are committed to using the personal data we hold in accordance with the law.  

Who this Privacy Notice applies to? 

This Privacy Notice 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 pupils1; and their parents, carers, or guardians (referred to in this policy as "parents"), current and prospective donors, alumnae, supporters and other individuals connected to the School. It also applies to visitors to the School who may supply us with their personal data (e.g., when attending events or meetings). Anyone who works for, or acts on behalf of, the School (including staff, supply staff, agency staff, governors, suppliers, agents, other volunteers, contractors, and sub-contractors) should also be aware of and comply with this Privacy Notice.  

Collectively we refer to these individuals in this Privacy Notice as the School’s Community. Whilst the School operates within the legal jurisdiction of England and Wales this Community is global in nature. When working with data subjects resident in other international jurisdictions, the School will apply the standards of domestic data privacy and processing. 

The School’s separate Privacy Notice for Pupils and Privacy Notice for staff, prospective applicants, volunteers, and governors, and the School's Data Protection Policy (as applicable), also provides further information about how personal data about those individuals will be used. These policies may be found on the policies page of the School website.  

What this Privacy Notice is for? 

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 the Data Protection Policy and 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 Taking, Storing and Using Images of Children Policy 

  • the CCTV Policy 

  • the Data Protection Policy  

  • the guidelines for data storage and retention 

  • the Safeguarding, Pastoral, and Health and Safety Policies, including as to how concerns or incidents are recorded; and  

  • the IT policies, including its IT Acceptable Use Policy, On-line Safety Policy, Social Media Policy, and Bring Your Own Device Policy. 

Responsibility for Data Protection 

The School has appointed the Assistant Bursar as Data Protection Co-ordinator who will deal with your requests and enquiries concerning the School’s use of your personal data (see section on Your Rights below) and endeavour to ensure that all personal data is processed in compliance with this Privacy Notice and Data Protection Law. If you have any questions about this Privacy Notice or how we use personal data please contact the Assistant Bursar, Claire Thorne, by telephone on 01223 224111, by email or by post at The Bursary, St Mary’s School, Cambridge, Bateman Street, Cambridge CB2 1LY. 

Anyone who works for or acts on behalf of the School (including staff, volunteers, governors and service providers) will be subject to suitable training and/or an obligation to read policies commensurate with their role.  

Why the school needs to process personal data 

In order to carry out its ordinary duties to staff, pupils and parents, the School needs to process a wide range of personal data about individuals (including current, past and prospective staff, pupils or parents) as part of its daily operation. Some of this activity is required in order to fulfil its legal rights, duties or obligations – including those under a contract with its staff, or parents of its pupils. 

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 these do 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, to confirm the identity of prospective pupils and their parents and retain a record (if appropriate) for the purposes of future applications or openings. This may include any necessary credit checks, whether with previous schools or other third-party sources, including assessing financial income for the purposes of fundraising activities and the determination of eligibility for scholarship and means-tested bursary awards.  

  • To provide education services, including musical education, physical training or spiritual development, career services, and extra-curricular activities to pupils, monitoring pupils' progress and educational needs, including where such services are provided remotely (either temporarily or permanently), processing entries for public examinations and other assessments, publishing those results and other pupil results/achievements, reporting and storing examination and assessment results and reporting to parents on pupil progress.  

  • The provision of educational courses during the school holidays to pupils enrolled on such courses. 

  • To provide other related services to pupils (and parents) including higher education applications and providing resources (library, career and on-line), administering school trips, sports teams and fixtures and to monitor and administer (as appropriate) use of the School's IT and communications systems and virtual learning environment (and monitoring the same) in accordance with the School's IT acceptable use policies. 

  • Maintaining relationships with alumnae and the wider school community, by communicating with the body of current and former pupils and/or their parents or guardians and organising events including direct marketing or fundraising activity. 

  • For the purposes of donor due diligence, and to confirm the identity of prospective donors and their background and relevant interests. 

  • For the purposes of management planning and forecasting, research and statistical analysis, including that imposed or provided for by law (such as tax, diversity or gender pay gap analysis and census returns), to enable relevant authorities to monitor the School's performance and to intervene or assist with incidents as appropriate (e.g. recording accidents in accordance with our health and safety policies), keeping records for insurance purposes, or to obtain appropriate professional advice keeping financial information to process invoices, fee accounts and manage debtors, compiling information for inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate, submission of annual census information to each of the Independent Schools Council and Department for Education and for commercial operations and other charitable activities. 

  • For security purposes, including the management of the School’s property, biometrics and CCTV. 

  • 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 safeguard pupils' welfare and provide appropriate pastoral care, welfare and health care services by school staff, including recording concerns and incidences of bullying and support given, monitoring the use of the internet and email (if required) in accordance with our On-Line Safety Policy and IT acceptable use policies. 

  • Promoting the aims and achievements of the School through our website, publications, our social media platforms and sometimes in the media this includes making use of photographic images and/or videos of pupils (in accordance with the School’s policy on Taking, Storing and Using Images of Children. 

  • For the purposes of fulfilling our duties as an employer including for the recruitment of staff, volunteers, and contractors, including appropriate safeguarding checks as required by law, payroll, and pension processing, keeping records of other staff matters including that relating to sickness, grievances and disciplinary action and providing and receiving references. 

  • 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. 

  • 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, union membership or pension plans and in pastoral, complaint or disciplinary context. 

  • To run any of its systems that operate on biometric data, such as for security and other forms of pupil identification (registration, lockers, lunch etc.). 

  • As part of any school or external complaints, disciplinary or investigation process that involves such data, for example if there are Special Educational Need / Disability (SEN), health or safeguarding elements. 

  • For legal and regulatory purposes (for example child protection, diversity monitoring and health and safety and immigration/visa sponsorship compliance) and to comply with our legal obligations and duties of care. 

Types of personal data processed by the school 

This will include by way of example:  

  • Names, addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and other contact details. 

  • Car details (about those who use our car parking facilities). 

  • Biometric information, which will be collected and used by the School. 

  • Bank details and other disclosed or publicly available financial information, e.g. about parents (or others) 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 (eg 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). 

  • Images of pupils (and occasionally other individuals) engaging in school activities, and images captured by the school's CCTV system (in accordance with the School's policies on CCTV and Taking, Storing and Using Images of Children). 

How the school collects data 

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 or by engaging in various activities). 

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

Who has access to personal data and who the school shares it with? 

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 payroll, IT services, cloud storage, photography, some marketing functions, occupational health, monitoring, and mailing. 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 governing board - will need to share personal data  relating to its community of staff, pupils, and parents with third parties, such as: 

  • Professional advisers (e.g., lawyers, insurers, PR advisers, the School doctor, occupational health and accountants) in the UK and overseas. 

  • The School’s Junior School Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and our past pupils organisation - Pastonians   

  • Appropriate contractors, such as visiting music teachers. 

  • Suppliers, service providers and subcontractors and other third party organisations both in the UK and other international territories with which the School has recruitment and admissions, alumnae, fundraising, and other charitable or commercial activities. Some of our systems are provided by third parties, eg hosted databases, school website, school calendar, school post, my school portal and cloud storage providers. The School currently uses Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software which includes ISAMS and ToucanTech.  

  • Examination boards. 

  • Stage 3 complaints panels, which will include independent panel members. 

  • Third parties and their advisers in the event of a possible or actual sale, merger or other restructuring of the school. 

  • Relevant authorities (HMRC, UKVI, DfE, CAMH, CAFCASS, police, Home Office, relevant public health / NHS body / local authority and/or Safeguarding Children Partnership Board); and/or appropriate regulatory bodies e.g., the Teaching Regulation Agency (TRA), the Independent Schools Inspectorate, the Charity Commission, or the Information Commissioner).  

Access to sensitive data 

Particularly strict rules of access apply in the context of: 

  • Medical records 

  • 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 Special Educational Need / Disability (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 (KCSIE) – as updated) 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, and in some cases referrals to relevant authorities such as the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO), the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Safeguarding Children Partnership Board (SCPB) or police. We keep a record of low-level safeguarding concerns that are reported even if they do not meet the statutory thresholds for reporting on a confidential basis. 

KCSIE also requires that, whenever a child leaves the school to join another school or college, her child protection file is promptly provided to the new organisation, along with any other information which the School’s Designated Safeguarding Lead considers material to the ongoing care needs of any pupil. The decision as to what information is necessary to share with the new school or college is a safeguarding question that must be reserved to the School 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 and Child Protection Policy 

How long we keep personal data 

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 ordinary staff and pupil personnel files is up to 7 years following departure from the School although it is necessary to keep some information for longer. 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 long we keep records or wish to request that personal data that you no longer believe to be relevant is considered for erasure, please contact the Assistant Bursar at the School. 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 retain Personal Data securely and only in line with how long it is necessary to keep for a legitimate and lawful reason. The retention of data is outlined in the Retention and Deletion guidelines (available on request) which set out the time period for which different categories of data are kept. If you have any specific queries about how these guidelines are applied or wish to request that Personal Data that you no longer believe to be relevant is considered for erasure, please contact the Assistant Bursar. However, please bear in mind that the School may have lawful and necessary reasons to hold on to some data.  

Keeping in touch and supporting the School 

The School and/or any relevant other organisation, e.g. alumnae/development will use the contact details of parents, alumnae and other members of the School community to keep them updated about the activities and developments of the School (including fundraising initiatives), and alumnae and parent events of interest, including by sending updates, invitations, and newsletters, by email and by post. We fundraise from individuals, companies and foundations who want to support our charitable purposes and do so in accordance with the Fundraising Promise and Fundraising Code of Practice. Unless the relevant individual objects, the School will also:  

  • Share personal data about parents and/or alumnae, as appropriate, with organisations set up to help establish and maintain relationships with the School community, such as ToucanTech, Pastonian and Pastonians Connect. 

  • Contact parents and/or alumnae (including via the organisations above) by post and email in order to promote and raise funds for the School and, where appropriate, other worthy causes. 

  • Collect information about invitations and attendance at School events, key relationships with other Pastonians and supporters of the School, donations made and personal interests. We also collect information from publicly available sources (such as LinkedIn, Companies House, Charity Commission, Who’s Who, articles and publications) about parents' and former pupils' occupation and activities, to create a profile of interests and preferences so that we can make appropriate requests and maximise the School's fundraising potential. 

We ask you to let us know your contact preferences so that we can ensure our communications are relevant to you. Should you wish to limit or object to any such use, update your data preferences, or would like further information about them, please contact the Director of Development, Emma Hanbury, by email to or by post to Development office, St Mary’s School, Cambridge, Bateman Street, Cambridge CB2 1LY. 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).  

Your rights 


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

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, but fulfilling more complex or multiple requests, e.g. those involving third party information, may take 1-2 months longer).  

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 the 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 delate 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 (including the right of access) is limited to your own personal data, and certain data is exempt. 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 owed by a legal adviser).  

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 date, nor share any confidential reference held by the School that was (or will be) given for the purposes of the education, training, appointment, 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.  

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 her 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.  Requests not considered in the child’s best interests may sometimes be refused.  

Pupils at Senior School 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. 

Parental requests 

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 pupils 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, court orders, or pastoral issues. 

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.  


Where the School is relying on consent 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 biometrics, certain types of use of images and 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 the PTA).  

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, either alongside or in place of parental 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 Pupil Internet and IT Acceptable Use Policy, the On-line Safety Policy, and the School Rules and Code of Conduct. Staff are under professional duties to do the same and should refer to the Data Protection Policy, the Staff Behaviour Policy, the IT Acceptable Use Policy, the On-line Safety Policy, the Social Media Policy and the Bring Your Own Device to Work Policy.  

Data Accuracy and Security 

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 Human Resources department 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 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.  

This Policy 

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. 

Queries and Complaints  

Any comments or queries on this policy should be directed to the Assistant Bursar (see responsibility for data protection page 2 above).  

If an individual believes that the School has not complied with this policy or acted otherwise than in accordance with Data Protection Law, you should contact the Assistant Bursar. If you feel unable to contact the Assistant Bursar, you should contact the Head. You can utilise the School complaints / grievance procedure and should also notify the Assistant Bursar. You can also make a referral to 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.   

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