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Parents, relatives and third parties often contact the University to ask for personal information about students. For example, they may ask how they are settling in, particularly if the student has not been in touch, or how they are progressing academically. The University is unable to disclose this information due to the Data Protection Act 1998, and we always encourage parents to contact students directly rather than trying to make contact via the University.
The Data Protection Act protects a person’s right to privacy in relation to their personal information, and controls how the information is used. This means that the University is unable to pass on information about a student, even to their parents, unless the student has given consent for that specific information to be released to a specific person.
We do understand that parents may be concerned about their son or daughter and are happy to discuss general procedures at the University, for example, what happens if they fail a module, or support that’s on hand for personal or practical issues.
The Data Protection Act only permits the University to disclose information to parents without the student’s consent in certain exceptional circumstances, for example, where there is immediate, obvious or urgent risk to the student.