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Education / 9 May, 2013

Children’s personal data revealed by council in school offer letter mix-up

‘Very small number’ of families affected, claims Town Hall

Hackney Town Hall with sky

Hackney Town Hall. Photograph: Hackney Citizen

Hackney Council has apologised after “a very small number” of families received details of other people’s children in primary school place offer letters sent out last week.

Sarah Miller, who lives in Homerton, contacted the council after receiving a pack that contained the name, date of birth and school offer details of another child.

The main letter in the offer pack related to Ms Miller’s daughter but a second document, which gave details of how to decline a place that had been offered, contained details of another child who shared the same surname.

Speaking to the Hackney Citizen, Ms Miller said that the incident was “pretty worrying”. She had been left wondering where the second part of her family’s offer pack had gone. “I don’t know who’s got the details of my child”, she said.

Offer letters were sent out by Hackney Learning Trust, which since last summer has been part of the council, with responsibility for the borough’s schools.

Ms Miller said that when she first contacted the Trust about the incident she was told simply to cross out details on the second letter if she wished to decline the place offered.

A spokesperson for Hackney Council said: “A very small number of the 2,576 families who applied for a Hackney primary school place were sent the incorrect form to decline their place offer. This was an administrative error. We have apologised to those affected and looked at how we can ensure that this does not happen again.”

The spokesperson said that Hackney Learning Trust would change its administrative processes to reduce the risk of a similar incident happening again.

Offer letters for primary school places were sent out on Wednesday 17 April, and figures show that across the borough the percentage of children who were offered a place at their parents’ first preference school increased to 84 per cent, up from 77 per cent in 2012.

News of the error comes only weeks after the Hackney Citizen found that documents published on the Council’s website contained personal data that had not been redacted correctly.

Among the personal information accessible in documents were names, addresses, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of more than 30 residents who had expressed views to the council on licensing decisions. Hackney Council is currently investigating this earlier incident.

/ 9 May, 2013

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