Abbotsleigh is committed without reservation to delivering the highest quality education to its community. This quality is due in large part to the character of relationships and efficacy of communication between students, parents and the School. The nature of this communication is informed by the complexities of education and requires that the School be sufficiently informed to exercise sound judgement and offer constructive guidance. Being so informed requires the School to collect, use and disclose the personal information of students and parents.

The School regards its partnership with families as fundamentally important and will communicate with parents and students regularly on matters relating to teaching and learning, attendance, School activities and discipline. When making judgements about how, when, what and to whom to communicate, the School takes account of its responsibilities in relation to parents and students respectively, matters of privacy, the sensitivity of the information, its general duty of care and the wellbeing of those involved.

This Policy has been prepared to meet the requirements of the Australian Privacy Principles contained in the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). In relation to health records Abbotsleigh is also bound by the New South Wales Health Privacy Principles contained in the Health Records and Information Privacy Act 2002. The School has additional relevant obligations under the Workplace Surveillance Act 2005 and the Surveillance Devices Act 2007.


1. Policy objectives

This policy has been created to explain:
a) What personal information (Privacy Act, Section 6) Abbotsleigh collects and how it collects it;
b) How Abbotsleigh uses the personal information; and,
c) How Abbotsleigh might disclose the personal information.


2. Policy implementation and responsibilities

2.1 Compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles and other relevant privacy codes
2.1.1 Abbotsleigh will manage personal information in an open and transparent way in accordance with this Policy. Abbotsleigh will take such steps as are reasonable in the circumstances to implement practices, procedures and systems relating to its functions or activities that will ensure that it complies with the Australian Privacy Principles and other relevant privacy codes and will enable it to deal with inquiries or complaints from individuals about the School’s compliance with the Australian Privacy Principles or such a code.


2.2 Collection of personal information

2.2.1 Abbotsleigh will endeavour to collect only information which is reasonably necessary for its functions or activities.
2.2.2 The type of information that Abbotsleigh collects and holds includes (but is not limited to) personal information including health and other sensitive information (Privacy Act, Section 6) about:
a) Pupils, prospective pupils and parents and/or guardians (parents) before, during and after the course of a pupil's enrolment at the School;
b) Employees, job applicants, volunteers and contractors; and,
c) Other people who come into contact with the School (including alumni).
2.2.3 Abbotsleigh will generally collect this information by way of forms filled out by parents or pupils, at face-to-face meetings, events and interviews, and telephone calls. In some circumstances Abbotsleigh may be provided with personal information about an individual from a third party, for example a report provided by a medical professional or a reference from another school.


2.3 Use of personal information

2.3.1 Generally, Abbotsleigh may use personal information for the following purposes:
a) To keep parents informed about matters related to their child's schooling including teaching and learning, attendance, School activities and discipline through personal communication including academic reports and parent teacher interviews;
b) To perform day-to-day administration;
c) To look after pupils' educational, social and medical wellbeing;
d) To assess eligibility for scholarship and/or financial support purposes;
e) To seek donations and conduct marketing activities for the School;
f) To celebrate individual achievement in academic, sport, music or other pursuit;
g) To administer an individual's employment or contract;
h) For insurance purposes; and,
i) To satisfy the School's legal obligations, for example, in relation to child protection legislation, and allow the School to discharge its duty of care.


2.4 Disclosure of personal information

2.4.1 The people and organisations to whom Abbotsleigh may disclose personal information held about an individual include:
a) The Abbotsleigh Foundation (click here to read the Foundation's Privacy Policy).
b) Another school;
c) Government departments;
d) Medical practitioners;
e) People providing services to the School, including specialist visiting teachers, counsellors and sports coaches;
f) Recipients of School publications, like newsletters and magazines (excluding sensitive information)
g) Parents;
h) People whom the relevant pupil, parents, job applicant, volunteer, contractor or other person authorise the School to disclose information to; and,
i) Other entities as required by law or where disclosure is necessary to prevent a threat to life, health or safety.
2.4.2 Abbotsleigh will only disclose information to a person or organisation after taking reasonable steps to satisfy itself that the person or organisation: a) has adopted information handling and storage protocols complying with the Australian Privacy Principles; and b) will keep that disclosed information confidential.
2.4.3 Abbotsleigh does not sell or license personal information to any person or organisation.
2.4.4 Abbotsleigh may disclose personal information (including sensitive information) to an overseas recipient, for instance, to facilitate an international exchange or overseas field trip. However, Abbotsleigh will not send personal information about an individual to an overseas recipient: a) without expressly informing the individual that such a disclosure may occur; or b) unless the School reasonably believes the disclosure is necessary to prevent a serious threat to the life, health or safety of any individual or to public health or safety; or c) where a permitted general situation (Privacy Act, Section 16A) exists.


2.5 Management and security of personal information

2.5.1 Abbotsleigh has in place steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure by use of various methods including locked storage of paper records and password access rights to computerised records.


2.6 Updating personal information

2.6.1 Abbotsleigh endeavours to ensure that the personal information it holds is accurate, complete and up-to-date. Any person who believes the information Abbotsleigh holds about them requires changing or is out of date should contact the Headmistress.
2.6.2 If Abbotsleigh is satisfied that personal information about an individual is inaccurate, incomplete, not up-to-date, irrelevant or misleading and an individual requests Abbotsleigh to correct the information, Abbotsleigh will take reasonable steps to correct the information, having regard to the purpose for which it is held.


2.7 Right to check personal information

2.7.1 Under the Australian Privacy Principles, any person may be able to obtain a copy of the personal information Abbotsleigh holds about them. The Australian Privacy Principles provide some exceptions in this regard.
2.7.2 To make a request to access this information, a person should write to the Headmistress. Abbotsleigh may require verification of identity and specification of the information required, and may charge a fee to recover the cost of verifying the application and locating, retrieving, reviewing and copying any material requested. If this is the case, Abbotsleigh will advise the likely cost in advance.
2.7.3 Pupils will generally have access to their personal information through their parents, but older pupils may seek access themselves (as set out in the following section).


2.8 Consent to collection, use and disclosure of personal information

2.8.1 Generally, Abbotsleigh will refer requests for consent to collect, use and disclose personal information pertaining to a pupil or her parents to the parents.
2.8.2 In circumstances where a pupil is aged below 15 years and Abbotsleigh considers it appropriate in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles, Abbotsleigh will treat consent to collect, use and disclose personal information given by parents as consent given on behalf of the pupil, and notice to parents will act as notice given to the pupil.
2.8.3 In circumstances where the pupil is aged 15 years or above and Abbotsleigh considers it appropriate in accordance with the Australian Privacy Principles, Abbotsleigh will seek consent to collect, use and disclose personal information from both the parents and the pupil and issue relevant notices to both the parent and the pupil.


2.9 Access to personal information held by Abbotsleigh

2.9.1 Circumstances may arise where parents and/or pupils seek access to personal information Abbotsleigh holds in a manner which differs from the School’s regular pattern of communication. When making judgements concerning access in such cases, the School takes account of its responsibilities in relation to parents and students respectively, the Australian Privacy Principles, the sensitivity of the information, its general duty of care and the wellbeing of those involved.
2.9.2 Requests for access to personal information the School holds are addressed to the Headmistress in writing.
2.10 Further information
2.10.1 Any person who requires further information about the way Abbotsleigh manages the personal information it holds, or wishes to complain that they believe the School has breached the Australian Privacy Principles should contact the Director of Compliance.
2.10.2 Abbotsleigh will investigate any complaint and advise the complainant of any decision arising from the results of the investigation as soon as practicable after a decision has been made.
2.11 Exception in relation to employee records
2.11.1 Under the Privacy Act and the Health Records Act, the Australian Privacy Principles and Health Privacy Principles do not apply to an employee record. As a result, this Privacy Policy does not apply to Abbotsleigh's treatment of an employee record, where the treatment is directly related to a current or former employment relationship between Abbotsleigh and employee.


3. Related documentation
  • Staff Code of Conduct
  • Security Policy
  • Critical Incident Policy
  • Australian Privacy Principles
  • Privacy Act and associated legislation
  • Academic Care Policy


4. Information management


4.1 Ratification

This policy has been approved by the Council of Abbotsleigh.


4.2 Publishing this policy

Student Diary: No

Council: Yes

Staff Handbook: No

The Shuttle: No

AbbNet: Yes

Other: NA

4.3 Communicating this policy


All staff, Council, parents and students

Communicated by     

Headmistress, Heads of School and Council

Communication pathway: 

As appropriate


4.4 Sharing this policy

A decision to share this document with an outside agent is made in consultation with the relevant Executive member. A sharing arrangement is subject to the following conditions: Abbotsleigh must be attributed as the source in any reference or derivative; commercial use is not permitted. Contact the Director of Compliance prior to sharing this document.


4.5 Policy history

4.5.1 Version 1, 2003.
4.5.2 Version 2, 2007: Substantial change to text
4.5.3 Version 3, 2010: Revised by GRCC to bring format in line with general policy format
4.5.4 Version 4, 2011: Revised by GRCC including extensions to use of information and minor amendments to disclosure.
4.5.5 Version 5, 2015:

4.6 Policy review

This policy is due for review in 2018.



If you would like further information about the way Abbotsleigh manages the personal information it holds, please contact the Headmistress.

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