Category Archives: School News

Will GDPR change the way the education sector operates?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been a hot topic in European media for a while, with talks on how this new legislation can impact different businesses across all sectors. However, although it’s one of the most dominant sectors in the world, education is sometimes left unaddressed. To find out more, we’ve teamed up with 2020 Vision, experts in IP CCTV systems and the security industry.

What is this piece of legislation?

To comprehend what impact this new piece of legislation can have on those operating in education, you need to have a clear understanding of what GDPR is. GDPR is set to strengthen data protection across Europe and will eventually replace the current Data Protection Act (DPA). It will be implemented on the 25th of May 2018. Even though the UK will soon leave the EU after the decision was made in the 2016 referendum, it’s likely that GDPR will be brought into British law by the government and enforced as if it was its own initiative to help unify data protection.

What the education sector needs to know:

Over the years, schools will have collected a strong portfolio of data on students from the past and present, as well as staff who have worked within the institution. More educational institutes acquire surveillance footage of what is happening on a daily basis through the necessary CCTV systems that they have in place. Whether it’s stored in a filing cabinet or backed up on an IT system, there’s a lot of data collected in schools and universities and this will eventually be impacted by the GDPR legislation.

Within the education sector, education centres already have a duty of care regarding the Data Protection Act (DPA) — meaning that all data stored should be protected with the greatest concern to prevent data breaches. Although this will still apply once GDPR has arrived, education practices will have a more intense responsibility of protecting data, no matter what the format is, to ensure that they comply with the new regulation.

Non-compliant organisations may find themselves paying hefty fines as a consequence for not protecting data in the correct manner outlined in this new framework. As schools will currently know, under the DPA, the non-compliance payment can reach a high of £500,000, which is enforced by the Information Commissioners Office. GDPR fines could lead up to £20 million or 4% of global turnover for both data controllers and processors.

Data Controller:

An education centre which decides how data is used.

Data Processor:

Someone who processes data on behalf of an education centre.

Around the subject of data processors, after 25th May 2018, it will become a criminal offence to choose one that doesn’t have the minimum capabilities for IT asset disposal. Education establishments will have to prove that they are working with a credible organisation when it comes to disposal of data.

In the education sector, it’s not mandatory for institutes to have a contract of agreement in place with their Data Processor. However, this is all set to change under the GDPR ruling. Next year, schools will have to have a contract or SLA (Service Level Agreement) in place with who they decide to work with — if this is not enforced, you will be breaking the law.

What the education sector can do about this problem:

Schools are already complying with the DPA, making it an easier process to make the appropriate changes for the introduction of GDPR. However, just because you’re complying with DPA doesn’t mean you’re complying with GDPR, and this will lead you to review and make some adjustments to your current policies.

According to the Information Commissioners Office, there a few steps that those working in education can take to ensure they are compliant. But the first step is awareness, and you need to make sure that people who handle any type of personal data are aware that DPA is changing to GDPR and they need to know about what they can and can’t do, whilst also understanding the consequences.

Education centres should look at who they are sharing data with, then conduct an information audit to see the reasons why. As children are usually involved, you need to put systems in place that will help verify a person’s age and then gather parental/guardian consent for any data processing activity that you might do.

Eventually, schools will want to remove data of former students from their system. To do this, you need to consider the students’ rights and this can determine how you delete data or provide data in an electronic format.

In the event of a significant data breach, there must be reasonable procedure methods in place to combat the issue and minimise the leak of data. All staff handling data should be aware of these procedures. It could be beneficial to appoint a Data Protection Officer who can take responsibility for data protection.

As GDPR is set to arrive on the 25th of May 2018, it’s vital that education centres start making the appropriate changes now.



Originally started by schools and nurseries in Scandinavia as a means of providing extra learning spaces (due to a lack of indoor facilities), the concept of forest schools has certainly gained traction in the UK in the past decade.

The overall concept of the forest schools programme is to allow children to develop self-esteem and confidence through practical and hands-on learning experiences in either a woodland or forest-style setting with trees. The programme is not just for rural based schools either as it is widely practised by inner city educational establishments as well – who perhaps benefit from it more living and learning within an urban environment.

The programme encourages regular visits rather than just being a one-off experience and has been proven to foster the emotional and mental well-being of participant pupils and students.

One could argue that the natural setting of a forest or woodland provides adequate play experiences and we would certainly not disagree with this. But we have a product range which certainly complements this theme of outdoor learning.

The most popular product in this range is our Hideout House outdoor fire pit shelter Making and lighting fires is certainly part of the Forest School initiative (under forest school practitioner’s guidance) where children can collect wood to burn in the fire pit. The shelter itself is typically octagonal in shape with a special hole in the roof to allow for easy smoke exhaustion. So as to stop rain entering through this hole (and probably putting out the fire!), there is an option to have a two tier roof system which essentially is an elevated “hat” at the apex of the building with side ventilation points.

Children can sit on the benches which run from post to post and we also apply a fire retardant intumescent varnish to the underside of the roof. You can also partially enclose the fire pit shelter with side roll-down canvas panels to give the children a bit more protection from the elements.

Dens and den making are also big features of hands-on play experiences in forest schools. Taking this into consideration, we have developed a living wall tipi. It acts as a den or shelter in the first instance but it has wire mesh side panels so that you can either grow climbing plants up to the side so that eventually it becomes totally enclosed courtesy of Mother Nature….or children can collect twigs, foliage etc and cover it themselves.

The Hideout House Company also offer a comprehensive range of outdoor shelters and classrooms which range from temporary “pop-up” bell tents and canvas canopies secured to trees right over to fully insulated and enclosed buildings. These type of classrooms are usually heated off-grid with wood burning stoves which again complements the whole forest school concept. A certain degree of power can also be supplied by solar and wind turbines.

But not a lot of money has to be spent as we can easily supply a package of an open fire pit with surround woodland benching, a bug hotel and nature observation tables with a magnifying glass attached.

If you would like to know how we can help your school develop its forest school activities and programme, then please contact the Hideout House Company on 01865 858982 or email:


Generating income whilst effectively maintaining the pupils’ interest in PE and sport

Many schools report that increasing the accessibility and variety of PE and Sport they can offer allows them to create new and therefore exciting lessons.

However it can be hard to maintain the heightened interest level that can be generated at the start of the programme.

In order to resolve this issue and maintain interest throughout we have developed a website that shows how a school’s indoor PE and sports facility can be enhanced.

This new website looks at everything from the development of a new sports hall floor, the use of new sports equipment, to the maintenance and use of the equipment the school already has.

We also look at how schools are introducing new sports, dance or other activities, with particular emphasis on supporting and including the least active children.

All this encourages pupil participation which can eventually become pupils taking on leadership and volunteer roles in the future.

As a result schools are starting to see improvements such as the engagement of all pupils in regular physical activity, including in competitive sport.

This has a “knock on” effect to attract outdoor teams and programmes to rent school facilities and generate a much-needed income.  This is self-serving for the school as the profile of PE and sport is raised and used as a tool for whole-school improvement.

If you would like to learn more there is an immediate opportunity on the website

Last chance to book Macbeth for in-school or on stage performances

It was fantastic! So professional and carefully engineered to give the students what they need.

There’s still time to book a performance of Macbeth for your students.

Fred Theatre’s revival of last year’s very successful Macbeth (Making Scotland Great Again) is out on the road this term and you still have time, just, to book an in-school performance. Why not give your students the advantage of a live performance at a competitive rate?

Our 90 minute adaptation is a fresh and exciting re-telling of the familiar and much-loved story. Macbeth features a cast of six professional actors. We concentrate on the text and producing a faithful representation of the original—just a little shorter!

All we need to perform at your school is a space approximately 5m x 5m with room (of course) for the audience. If you have room, and feel it would be a good idea, you can also invite some parents along too, so that they can see what their sons and daughters are studying.

To find out more, simply e-mail Helen in our office,, or call us on 01789 777612. We’ll collect a few details from you and respond with potential dates and a quote.

Macbeth can also be seen on stage in London at The Cockpit, Marylebone, on Tuesday 20 February at either 13:30 or 19:30. All tickets are £10 with comps for staff.

Robert Ball
Artistic Director

PS: We love getting feedback from schools. Here’s what one teacher wrote after a performance of Macbeth at her school a couple of weeks ago:

Hi Helen,

I just wanted to provide some feedback on today’s performance. It was fantastic! So professional and carefully engineered to give the students what they need. The actors were really impressive—they held the audience for the entire performance; no mean feat when dealing with 210+ sleepy teenagers!  

Kind regards,

Kathy Bliss, Parmiter’s School, Nr Watford