EA Privacy Notice - SEND Services

About Us

The Education Authority (EA) collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you which is processed by EA’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Services. The EA takes your privacy very seriously. Please read this privacy notice carefully as it contains important information on who we are, how we collect, store, use and share personal information in the performance of our SEND Services, and what your data protection rights are.

When we collect or use personal information, we are subject to the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 (“data protection laws”) and we are responsible as the “data controller” of that personal information. As a data controller, we are required to notify you of the information contained in this privacy notice.

It is important that you read and retain this notice, so that you are aware of how and why we are using personal information and what your rights are under the data protection laws.

How do we collect and hold personal information?

In order to perform our SEND Services EA will collect personal information about children & young people and their parents/families/carers/legal guardians either directly from you (in person, by telephone, written correspondence, text or email) or your child’s school.

We may also collect personal information from Health & Social Care Trusts, the Public Health Authority or other medical practitioners and agencies involved with a child or young person, where it is necessary to do so to perform our SEND Services.

What personal information do we collect, store and use?

EA’s SEND Services may collect, store and use the following categories of personal information:

  • basic personal information (such as name, address, parent/carer details, contact details, date of birth, gender)
  • special category information (such as ethnicity, religion, medical information including information about special educational needs and disabilities)
  • reasons for support (such as concerns about learning, barriers to learning and areas that require support)
  • input from child or young person and/or their parent/guardian/carer
  • schools and other setting information (such as attendance, exclusion and behavioural information, national curriculum and exam attainment and educational progress)
  • records and reports in relation to consultations, assessments and involvement with or support provided by EA’s SEND Services or other agencies
  • statutory assessment, annual review and individual learning plan (ILP) or personal learning plan (PLP) (including information used to prepare or support those documents, such as records relating to previous involvement with specialist services and/or external agencies)
  • relevant information regarding status as a child/young person in care
  • other digital and paper records, images, video and audio recordings containing personal information that support the performance of our SEND Services work with a child/young person.

Why do we collect, store and use this information?

EA’s SEND Services process personal information about children and young people (and their parents/families/carers/legal guardians) for the following purposes:

  • The Autism Advisory and Intervention Service supports the personal, social and educational development of pupils with a Special Educational Need arising from an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. 
  • The Special Educational Needs Inclusion Service for Down Syndrome supports the personal, social and educational development of pupils with Special Educational Needs arising from a medical diagnosis of Down syndrome.
  • The Education Psychology Service provides advice and support to children and young people with Special Educational Needs arising from difficulties in the following SEN Categories:
    • Cognition and Learning
    • Social, Behavioural, Emotional and Well-being
    • Speech, Language and Communication Needs
    • Sensory
    • Physical Needs
  • The Language and Communication Service supports children with Special Educational Needs arising from difficulties in the Speech, Language and Communication Needs SEN Category.
  • The Literacy Service provides support for children and young people with learning difficulties in literacy and dyslexia.
  • The Special Educational Needs Inclusion Service for Medical Needs provides early intervention advice and support to educational settings and parents of children and young people living with medical conditions.
  • The Special Educational Needs Inclusion Service for Moderate Learning Difficulties provides support to children and young people with Moderate Learning Difficulties and associated Special Educational Needs.
  • The Special Educational Needs Early Years Inclusion Service provides support for pre-school children who have Special Educational Needs and Disability.
  • The Special Educational Needs Inclusion Service for Severe Learning Difficulties supports the personal, social and educational development of pupils with Special Educational Needs arising from Severe Learning Difficulties.
  • The Sensory Service provides support for children and young people who are deaf/hard of hearing, have a vision impairment, or who have a multi-sensory impairment.
  • The Statutory Assessment and Review Service consider requests for statutory assessment of children and young people’s educational needs and make and maintain statements of special educational needs when appropriate.

Other EA Services that may also be involved in providing support for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability will process personal information about children and young people (and their parents/families/carers/legal guardians for the following purposes):

  • The Primary Behaviour Support & Provisions Service and the Post Primary Behaviour Support & Provisions Service support the personal, social and educational development of pupils with a Special Educational Need arising from social, behavioural, emotional and wellbeing needs.
  • The Exceptional Teaching Arrangements Service support for children and young people who are unable to attend school because of physical or mental illness; are a school age mother or for other exceptional reasons cannot attend school.

In order to perform EA’s statutory functions and responsibilities in relation to the provision of support for children and young people with Special Educational Need (SEN), the EA services involved in providing such support may need to process personal data collected or recorded by other EA services for the purposes set out above.

For example, where requests for statutory assessment of children and young people’s educational needs are received (or when carrying out the annual review of an existing statement of special educational needs), the Statutory Assessment and Review Service will need to consider any relevant personal data collected or recorded by other EA services that have been involved with the child / young person in order to perform EA’s statutory functions and responsibilities in this respect.     

What is our lawful basis for processing personal information?

Whilst EA obtains consent to the involvement of SEND Services with a child / young person, the lawful basis for the processing of personal information arising from such involvement and/or in relation to the statutory assessment of children and young people’s educational needs (and the annual review of statements of special educational needs) is Public Task (not Consent), as the processing is necessary for the performance of tasks carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in EA.

EA’s additional condition for the processing by SEND Services of special categories of personal data (i.e. information relating to racial or ethnic origin; political opinions; religious or philosophical beliefs; trade union membership; genetic data; biometric data (where used for identification purposes); health; sex life; and sexual orientation) for the purposes referred to above is that there is a Substantial Public Interest in doing so in the performance of statutory functions.

Who do we share personal information with?

In order to provide support for children and young people with special educational needs and/or to consider requests for statutory assessment of children and young people’s educational needs (and the annual review of statements of special educational needs) EA may need to share a child’s or young person’s personal information (or their parent’s/family’s/carer’s/legal guardian’s personal information) with third parties, such as:

  • The child’s or young person’s school / education setting
  • Health & Social Care Trusts and/or the Public Health Agency and/or other medical practitioners and agencies involved with the child or young person.

We may also disclose and exchange information with government departments, non-governmental public bodies and agencies, law enforcement agencies and regulatory bodies where it is necessary to do so to comply with our legal and regulatory or there is a legitimate interest purpose for doing so.

We also use data processors, who are third parties that process personal information on EA’s behalf to enable us to provide our services. We have contracts in place with our data processors which confirm that they cannot do anything with your personal information unless we have instructed them to do it.

How long do we keep your personal information for?

We will only keep your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes for which we collected it, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements.

We do not store personal information forever; we only hold child and parent/family/carer/legal guardian information for as long as we are legally able to do so.

Personal information relating to children & young people and their parents/families/carers/legal guardians is stored in line with is stored in line with the EA’s Retention and Disposal of Records Schedule, which is available on our Privacy Notices webpage or can be requested by telephone by calling 028 8241 1300 or by emailing [email protected]. This sets out information about how long we keep personal information.

In some circumstances we may anonymise your personal information so that it can no longer be associated with you, in which case we may use such information without further notice to you.

What are your rights?

Under the data protection legislation, you have certain rights in relation to the personal information that we hold about you. Under certain circumstances, a child (who is competent to do so) or young person or a parent/carer/legal guardian has the right to:

  • Request access to personal information (commonly known as a "data subject access request"). This enables you to receive a copy of the personal information we hold about you and/or your child and to check that we are lawfully processing it.
  • Request correction of the personal information that we hold about you and/or your child. This enables you to have any incomplete or inaccurate information we hold corrected.
  • Request erasure of personal information. This enables you to ask us to delete or remove personal information where there is no good reason for us continuing to process it. You also have the right to ask us to delete or remove your personal information where you have exercised your right to object to processing (see below).
  • Object to processing of personal information where we are processing for a task in the public interest or exercise of our authority as a public body, or relying on a legitimate interest (or that of a third party) and there is something about your particular situation which makes you want to object to processing on these grounds. You also have the right to object where we are processing you and/or your child’s personal information for direct marketing purposes.
  • Request the restriction of processing of your personal information. This enables you to ask us to suspend the processing of personal information about you, for example if you want us to establish its accuracy or the reason for processing it.
  • Request the transfer of your personal information to another party.

Data Protection Officer

If you have any questions about this privacy notice or how we handle personal information, please contact our Data Protection Officer (DPO) who monitors EA’s data protection procedures to ensure they meet the standards and requirements of the GDPR. EA’s DPO can be contacted at:

Address:          Data Protection Officer, Education Authority, 40 Academy Street, Belfast, BT1 2NQ

Telephone:     028 8241 1300

Email:              [email protected]

How to complain if you are not happy with how we process your personal information?

If you wish to request access, object or raise a complaint about how we have handled your personal information, you can contact EA’s Data Protection Officer using the details above. If you are not satisfied with our response or believe we are not processing your personal data in accordance with the law, you can also complain to the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioner’s Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

Telephone: 0303 123 1113.

Website: Information Commissioner's Office

Further Information

Full details of the EA’s role as a data controller and your rights in relation to information we hold about you can be found in our main Privacy Notices section or can be requested by calling 028 8241 1300 or by emailing [email protected].

Last updated: 25/10/2023