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Photographing children at school

The subject of photographing children during school plays and sports days has become quite an emotive one. Schools are having their hands tied supposedly by regulations and procedures. At one nursery school, a blanket ban on photographing any event was put into place although written requests could be made to the headteacher. However, in almost all cases, the written requests were refused. The headteacher cited the reason as being “due to the safeguarding of all children”.

Schools often invoke the Data Protection Act 1988 and the Children Act 2004 as the reason for banning photography. However, as Eleanor Coner, Information Officer at the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, says “There is nothing in the Children Act that says ‘Thou shalt not photograph children’.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has also become involved and now puts out regular statements refuting the myth that the Data Protection Act prohibits photography. David Smith, Director of Data Protection at the ICO says “If there is something that people don’t want to do, but they can’t explain it easily, they say it’s because of the Data Protection Act”.

Unfortunately, due to all the restrictions, it’s the loving parent who is unable to record the milestones in a child’s life who suffers.