Schools need and welcome publicity. Children’s photographs add colour, life and interest to articles promoting school activities and initiatives. Making use of photographs for publicity materials and to promote the school in the community can increase pupil motivation and staff morale, and help parents and the local community identify and celebrate the school’s achievements. However, photographs must be used in a responsible way. We need to respect families’ rights of privacy and be aware of potential child protection issues. We minimise risks by following the guidelines detailed in this document and by securing parental consent for the use of photographs.

This policy applies to the use of photographs in school publicity materials, on its website and in the press.

Its implementation is the responsibility of all staff. Parents/carers and visitors are made aware of this policy.

Data Protection Act 1998

Photographs and video images of pupils and staff are classed as personal data under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998. Therefore, using such images for school publicity purposes requires the consent of either the individual concerned or, in the case of pupils, their legal guardians/carers. We do not display images of pupils or staff on websites, in publications or in a public place without such consent. The definition of a public place includes areas where visitors to the school have access. Where photographs are taken at an event attended by large crowds, this is regarded as a public area so it is not necessary to get permission of everyone in a crowd shot. The Data Protection Act does not apply to photographs or films taken for personal use by family and friends.

Appropriate Use of Images in School Publicity Materials

We:

  • ensure that images are stored securely and used only by those authorised to do so
  • ensure that electronic images are stored on a secure network to which members of the public have no access
  • do not use an image of any child who is subject to a court order
  • secure parental consent for the use of children’s photographs
  • not use photographs of children or staff who no longer attend/work at our school without their consent
  • do not photograph children during swimming lessons

School Website

We are aware of the potential risk of inappropriate use of images because of the lack of control over who might see the image and the wide extent of the potential misuse of the Internet. We always seek the consent of parents regarding the use of images of children on the Internet.

Children’s names are not included in photographs of children published on the school website.

The Press

The use of photographs in newspapers and magazines is already subject to strict guidelines. The Press Complaints Commission’s Code of Practice states that:

  • Journalists must not interview or photograph a child under the age of 16 on subjects involving the welfare of the child in the absence of or without the consent of a parent or other adult who is responsible for the children.
  • Pupils must not be approached or photographed while at school without the permission of the school authorities.

There is no breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 in passing on a child’s name to a journalist as long as parental consent has been secured.

We provide names of children to accompany photographs published in newspapers and magazines only where the parent/carer has given consent.

Filming Events

It is usual for parents to take photographs and videos of children at school events such as Christmas plays and Sports Days. Parents/carers are asked to ensure that:

  • No photos or videos are taken using mobile phones
  • No photos/videos are put on Facebook etc
  • No photos are sent electronically to another person, even a family member

Any objections to this policy should be addressed to the Headteacher. On occasions, commercial video films may be made of children on educational visits and performing in school productions. We inform parents/carers where arrangements have been made for a commercial photographer to film such an event. Where a commercial photographer is used, the school will follow the NSPCC guidelines:

  • Schools should provide a clear brief about what is considered appropriate in terms of content and behaviour
  • Schools should issue the photographer with identification which must be worn at all times
  • Schools should let parents and children know that a photographer will be in attendance at an event and ensure they consent to both the taking and publication of films and photographs
  • Schools should not allow unsupervised access to children or one-to-one photo sessions at home
  • Schools should not approve / allow photo sessions outside the event or at a child’s home.

If staff, children or parents/carers have any concerns about inappropriate or intrusive photography, they should report them to the Headteacher who would report them in the same manner as any other child protection concern. If schools or parents have concerns regarding the use of filmed images by television companies they should contact the Office of Communication (Ofcom). Any objections to this policy should be addressed to the Headteacher.

Parental/Carer Consent

We seek the consent of parents/carers regarding the use of photographs of children. The consent includes agreement upon:

  • how and where the photographs will be used
  • the period of consent
  • the storage and deletion of photographs

Consent is sought as part of our admissions procedures. Where circumstances change, it is the responsibility of the parent/carer to inform the Headteacher in writing. Consent forms will be retained as part of a child’s individual records while the child is still at school.

Monitoring and Review

The Headteacher and Governing Body review this policy on a biennial basis. It will next be reviewed in December 2013.