Asking to see your child's school record

What steps you can take to access their school record

Estimated read: 6 minutes 

There can be many reasons for parents to want to see their child's records. If your child has been bullied and you want to check their school records, please read our guidance. 

Key points: 

  • We recommend that parents get a copy of their child's school record if bullying is continuing. Your child's school file is a valuable way of finding out what has been going on in class
  • If you have parental responsibility, you can request access to your child’s education record under education regulations. Their education record will have information on academic achievements, communication letters and other relevant information
  • If your child attends an academy, free school or an independent school then there is no equivalent legal right to access your child's school record. This will be up to the school to make the decision to allow you access
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We recommend that parents get a copy of their child's school record if bullying is continuing. Your child's school file is a valuable way of finding out what has been going on in class. Ideally it should contain copies of reports, which have already been sent home, results of classroom tests, which are carried out from time-to-time in school life, and copies of any complaints parents have made together with action taken.

There are two ways of accessing pupil information:

  • Under Data Protection legislation, the GDPR grants the right of access to pupils and those with parental responsibility for a pupil.
  • Under education regulations, those with parental responsibility have the right to view a pupil’s education record.

Requesting access under education regulations

If you have parental responsibility, you can request access to your child’s education record under education regulations. Their education record will have information on academic achievements, communication letters and other relevant information. Access to their education records is a separate right and not covered by Data Protection legislation. Schools are regulated by The Education Regulations 2005.

Those with parental responsibility can apply to the school to view an education record or receive a copy. In England, this right only applies to all local authority schools, and all special schools, including those which are not maintained by a local authority. Independent schools, academies and free schools are not obliged to respond to a request for access to a pupil’s education record under this legislation. This may be different in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. 

The request can take up to 15 working days and there may be a cost for photocopying or printing. There are certain reasons which may contribute to a school denying you access. This could be where the information might cause serious harm to the physical or mental health of the pupil or another individual. The request for access would also be denied if there are exam results in the file before they are officially announced.

Requesting access via GDPR

You have the right to ask an organisation whether or not they are using or storing your personal information. You can also ask them for copies of your personal information, verbally or in writing by submitting a subject access request (SAR). If you have parental authority and the child is under 12 years of age, you can also request copies of their personal data.

Further resources 

To help you prepare and submit your request, the Information Commissioner's Office have prepared a guidance page with template letters that you can use. It also have advice on what to say and how to say it. Please click here to access this reource. Child Law Advice have lots of helpful information too. 

This page was updated on September 2021

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