Teachers could face data protection wrap as laws change


By Paul Thornton

NEW data protection laws could see teachers using a £35m website for Scottish schools charged.

Hundreds of thousands of teachers and children use Glow to upload pictures, videos reports and information to the site.

Users are given a username and password to access the sharing network which is used by all 32 local authorities.

However teachers are unhappy about the lack of security training they have been given and concerns have been raised about a shake-up of data protection laws planned for April, according to an education spokeswoman.

From April, teachers who release private information about a pupil into the general domain could face professional discipline by the General Teaching Council.

Emailing class work or using an unencrypted memory stick to transfer information could leave teachers liable to disciplinary action if the files are leaked.


In some instances teachers could even be reported to the police and face prosecution.

Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman, Liz Smith, said that teachers had raised “genuine concerns” over how the new rules will relate to the site.

Ms Smith said: “Glow has huge educational benefits but there is a real issue about data protection and I know some of the teaching unions have raised concerns about this.

“Teachers already have a huge weight on their shoulders with Curriculum for Excellence, class sizes and exam preparation without having to be IT experts on top.

Glow was introduced by the Scottish Executive in 2005 and has been extended for another two years and around 650,000 children, parents and teachers use it.

It was brought in to keep pace with advances in technology and it is described as a “trusted and safe environment for pupils, teachers and parents to create personalised programmes of work and share curricular resources”.

A spokesman for Learning and Teaching Scotland, which manages glow, said: “Security for Glow users is our number one priority.”

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