Following a data breach in which the personal information of 200 SEND students was accessed by a parent, a Suffolk school is conducting a comprehensive security assessment. After the data breach, Dave Lee-Allen, the headmaster of Stowmarket High School, wrote to parents to apologize for the situation and thank them for their patience.
“Rest assured, lessons will be learnt, and a comprehensive security assessment is taking place,” he said in a letter to all parents of the 855 children who attend the Onehouse Road school last week.
A member of staff accidentally placed personal information from 200 SEND (Special Education Needs and/or Disabilities) students on a Sharepoint website that was intended for use when students were studying from home.
Anyone with a Stowmarket High email account may access the school’s Sharepoint websites, according to Mr. Lee-Allen. The parent who obtained the documents, on the other hand, told him that they did not open or examine the contents. When the senior staff at the school discovered the data breach, they promptly notified the Waveney Valley Academies Trust, the Information Commissioner’s Office, and the Local Education Authority.
They also sought guidance from Microsoft, who assisted them in stress testing the school’s Sharepoint sites. The school’s staff has immediately disabled the page that held the personal information and verified that none of the other pages violate data protection regulations.
“The vulnerability that has led to this breach has been fixed and the file has been deleted,” Mr. Lee-Allen said in his letter to parents.
According to the headteacher, he has received six mails from families alarmed about the data leak. “The great majority of these parents stated that they recognize mistakes happen and that they support the school,” he added. “I apologize for whatever anxiety this has caused,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Hunt has sought and will continue to increase money for Suffolk’s SEND program with the government, claiming that it is “not appropriately financed in comparison to other places.”
“Better provision for persons with extra needs in normal school settings would alleviate some of the demand pressure on specialised placements,” he continued.
“Further investment in Suffolk SEND provision is critical in order to guarantee that every child has access to appropriate places, which is presently not the case.”
While I am pleased with recent progress achieved with schools such as Sir Bobby Robson for children with extra behavioral and mental needs, there is still more to be done to address the insufficient provision for Suffolk kids with SEN, particularly those with Education, Health, and Care plans.
“Though this assessment is confined to certain elements of SEND service, it is encouraging to see senior county council members embracing constructive criticism and admitting existing failings with openness and honesty in the face of future problems.”