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Harris, Family Law Expert
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 2851
Experience:  Family Law - Specialist in Divorce, Financial Relief and Children Matters
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Could you tell me the law around whether schools can

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Hello - could you tell me the law around whether schools can keep records about your child which are false and irrelevant? My ex husband is encouraging my daughter, adopted under US law, to say things. To the school when she feels I have been too disciplinarian with her. Much of this is her attempt to divert attention when she has not done her homework or forgotten her gym kit. So far I have read the records and they are pretty snide and insinuating. As a mother who may have to fight for the kids in court,I am concerned as to my remedy here.
Hi, thanks for your question.
The schools will have a duty to keep records regarding any reports that children make. If they feel that the report/allegation is serious then the matter is referred to the police and/or children services. However, it does not appear that this has happened.
If you were to proceed to court regarding child arrangements, an independent CAFCASS officer will carry out background checks with the police and children services as well as speak to both you and the father regarding the application. These checks will only report safeguarding concerns regarding your daughter. If the allegations she makes to the school are disclosed (eg. by the father), then the CAFCASS officer will be experienced in identifying when children are being encouraged by parents to say or do things. The CAFCASS officer may also have a meeting with your daughter, which will be helpful in identifying this.
Please let me know if you have any further questions regarding this.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your reply. I was asking about redress for false information held in school records and the process for amending those records. UK citizens' advice bureau says the following - what does case law say and how can I get the records amended?

Access to school records

Local education authorities and schools must keep information on each pupil’s educational progress. They may also keep a record of other information, for example, about the pupil’s medical history, family background, personality and predictions of future potential. The way in which the information is stored will vary between local education authorities and individual schools. Some will store all the information on computer, while others will keep manual records.

The people who have the right to see school records are the pupil themselves and their parents. You must be allowed to see your child’s school record if you make a written request to do so. You must also be supplied with a copy of the record if you ask for it in writing. It should be supplied free of charge or at no greater cost than that of photocopying/postage.

In Wales, the head teacher can arrange for the record to be translated into Welsh, English or any other language that they feel to be appropriate. If a fee is charged for the translated record, it should be no greater than for the original record.

The record must be disclosed within 15 days of receiving the written request for it.

If you think that any part of the school record is inaccurate, write to the local education authority or school holding the record. If the school record is inaccurate, it must be amended.

School records will not be disclosed if:

  • the record would give information about another pupil

  • the record holder believes that disclosure would cause serious harm to the pupil in question or to someone else

  • the record holder believes the record is relevant to whether the pupil is at risk of child abuse or has been a victim of child abuse.

In practical terms the records are not "false" as they are what your daughter has stated. Whether the allegations are true or not is another question and if this matter is taken further the burden would be on the local authority/social worker to prove that the allegations are true.
If this matter has not been referred to children's services, then the school are not treating the allegations as serious enough to warrant taking it further.
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