Headteachers and staff deserve significant credit for the way schools have found new ways of educating and involving pupils during the ongoing pandemic but need to exercise caution when signing up for some of the online resources now on offer.

We were recently approached by one school that was planning to sign up to Seesaw, an online learning platform that lets teachers upload work for pupils and then showcase the results.

One issue with Seesaw, as with other US-based platforms, is that the company behind it is headquartered in San Francisco, which means its GDPR assurances aren’t necessarily watertight because of the European Court of Justice’s ruling over the validity of the Privacy Shield. Essentially schools now have to take their own considered view on whether any risk to privacy is real or significant.

The school came to Accordio for advice on the GDPR question, specifically around whether or not it needed to obtain consent from the parents before including their children on the Seesaw circulation list.

When we studied the documentation, though, it quickly became apparent that the GDPR issue was a secondary one. The contract the school was being asked to sign made it clear that the school needed consent from the parents of all children under 13, regardless of any other considerations.

While Accordio specialises in data handling and offers first class GDPR support for schools, groups and charities, it also provides broader management support – including taking an overview on contractual issues and highlighting areas of concern. In this case we were able to ensure that the school met its contractual obligations as well as protecting the privacy of its pupils’ data.