Managing a whole-school response to the GDPR

Arena Group

Arena works with many clients in the education sector, helping them with the common issues they face relating to the management, control and security of their vital documents. The Arena Group has developed mstore for Education, its own electronic document and records management system (EDRMS). mstore delivers a user-friendly mechanism to improve the whole document storage, retrieval and archiving process, whilst adding a level of security and functionality to improve legal compliance and the security of critical files.

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Image courtesy of supplier. Image courtesy of supplier.

Schools and academies are urged to be more aware of the forthcoming changes to data protection at all levels of the organisation. To help schools, colleges and other education institutions navigate their way through the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and get plans off the ground, Arena Group has set up a free, practical webinar.


The webinars are in part informed from speaking to many in the education sector that are experiencing difficulties tackling the new regulation. Voices from schools indicate that a majority have a way to go before GDPR readiness is established. Lack of understanding regarding impact of the GDPR in schools and gaining support and traction to develop the right response from leadership and colleagues alike is frequently reported. Consequently, the ability to identify first steps that are perceived as proportionate to the risk to ensure readiness ahead of the May 2018 deadline are being hampered.


Meanwhile, schools are being encouraged to respond in a timely way. At one recent seminar Arena delivered for the Red Kite Alliance, legal expert Kate Grimley Evans from StoneKing LLP reported a conversation with the ICO confirming that schools could not afford to be lax on the GDPR, that there will be no grace period, and that the GDPR was for everyone.


Impacts on schools may include Ofsted inspections picking up on schools for data protection non-compliance, particularly around safeguarding. There is also the risk of reputational damage and fines of up to 4% of annual turnover, especially for those organisations who cannot demonstrate that the right processes are in place to manage data safely.


Predicted publicity in mainstream media around the GDPR deadline is likely to increase awareness of data privacy, resulting in more subject access requests and new right to be forgotten requests received into schools and academies. A rise in privacy literacy may also prompt more individuals to bring compensation claims for breaches through the courts.


The Arena webinars will be led by Neil Maude, who has over 20 years’ experience developing systems and workflows for education organisations to improve productivity and avoid risk. He has overseen key projects for nursery, Primary, Secondary, tertiary, and MATs, and has been considering the impact of the GDPR for the last five years, as well as speaking at education events.


Steve Howell, chief financial officer for Harrogate Grammar School comments: “It was very helpful to hear from Neil Maude and the Arena Group at a recent event for Red Kite Alliance schools. Neil gave a thorough introduction to GDPR, and helped schools begin to map out their response. His practical approach was much appreciated.”


Designed with the whole-school in mind, financial controllers, headteachers, principals and governors, as well as compliance officers, systems managers, school business managers and HR specialists are urged to sign up to the webinar. Compliance with the GDPR relates to people as well as processes and technology, so a cross-section of roles will need to be involved to work together and protect the organisation from risk.


As well as an overview of the regulation and practical steps to take, there will be an opportunity to ask questions.


To find out more about the webinars and sign up to attend, visit www.arenagroup.net/articles/sign-up-for-free-practical-gdpr-for-education-webinar.


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