Myth Number Five

“The Data Protection Act stops parents from finding out their children’s exam results”.

The Daily Telegraph reported on 30 September 2005, the case of an 11-year-old girl who sat her flute exam but was unable to find out her result. The exam board cited the Data Protection Act and said that only the person who made the application, the flute teacher, could see the results. The original article resulted in several letters in the press blasting the Act.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has issued practical guidance on the publication of exam results. The Act does not prevent the exam board from giving results to the student or her mother. An exam board could ensure that the information is disclosed to the right person by sending it to the student’s home address. It is clearly unfair and unnecessary that the student’s mother in this case had to make a subject access request to discover her daughter’s exam result - but at least data protection access rights made sure she got the information to which she was entitled.