Use of Photographic and Video Images of Children. 1

Purpose and Scope. 1

Principles. 1

Consent 2

Verbal consent 2

Considerations when taking images of children. 2

Using photographs and images of children supplied by a third party. 3

Use of images of children by the press. 3

Team photographs. 4

Photo opportunities. 4

Parental right to take photographs. 5

Use of a professional photographer. 5

Nominating a non-professional to be the authorised photographer 6

Charging for photographs/videos/DVD’s. 6

Mobile phones. 6

Monitoring Arrangements. 6

Review of Policy. 7


Purpose and Scope

This Policy provides guidance regarding the taking of photographs and use of video recorders by parents, students or other members of the public.

St Cecilia’s RC High School (hereafter referred to as “The School”) agrees to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and Human Rights Act 1998 when using and/or authorising the use of photographic and video images of children and will ensure that:-

  • where necessary, consent has been given prior to the taking and use of images on school premises, particularly where these show pupils
  • Such images are used in a manner respectful of the eight Data Protection Principles and also of the rights conferred to individuals under these Acts.


St Cecilia’s RC High School recognises that there are many positive outcomes from using photography and video footage to support the learning of students: assessment and review of work in class, as an evidence base for course work, to celebrate individual achievement, etc.

The School also recognises the need to protect children and will therefore aim to prevent the misuse of any images involving children, whilst endeavouring to strike a reasonable balance between putting in place an overly bureaucratic system and ensuring that duty of care obligations are met.

St Cecilia’s (hereafter referred to as “The School”) agrees to comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and Human Rights Act 1998 when using and/or authorising the use of photographic and video images of children and will ensure that:-

  • where necessary, consent has been given prior to the taking and use of images on school premises, particularly where these show pupils
  • Such images are used in a manner respectful of the eight Data Protection Principles and also of the rights conferred to individuals under these Acts.


The School will ensure that written permission is obtained from the parent or legal guardian for all children to be photographed (including video) during school events, such as concerts, assemblies, sports events and all other purposes which are not core to the school’s educational role. This is because an image of a child is personal data for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998 and it is a requirement of the Act that consent is obtained.

Due to the number of occasions during a pupil’s time at school that the School may wish to photograph or video the pupil, the School will seek the consent of parents or legal guardians when the pupil starts at the School. This policy and consent will cover the whole of the pupil’s intended time at the School.

The School will at all times consider the need to revisit the consent in the event of a pupil’s circumstances changing.

Verbal consent

The consent of a parent or legal guardian will normally be obtained in writing. However, it is recognised, that it is not always possible to obtain written consent and, in these circumstances, verbal consent is acceptable. Where verbal consent is obtained it will be recorded in writing by the member of staff obtaining the consent.

The School will not use photographs or videos of children who are no longer pupils at the school, unless separate specific consent has been obtained to cover the intended use.

The School will ensure that images are only used in circumstances described on the consent form.

Considerations when taking images of children

When considering the use of photographs or images of children, staff should avoid close-up pictures of individual children where possible and, instead, use general shots of classroom or group activities.

Staff will only use images of pupils in suitable dress to reduce the risk of inappropriate use of such images. Considerable caution is to be exercised in allowing photographs to be taken or videos made of children participating in events such as swimming or PE, even if the school and/or students are not identified. Wearing team tracksuits is considered a good alternative.

When a photograph or video image of a child is used, the child’s name will not normally accompany the photograph/image in a caption or any accompanying text. Staff will undertake a risk assessment to decide whether there is a need for the students to be identified at all. If there is such a need, avoid captions that give children’s full names and do not include personal details such as e-mail addresses, home addresses and telephone numbers.

(Please also see section entitled “Use of Images of Children by the Press”).

If in doubt about using a particular photograph or image, the parent will be contacted to obtain specific written consent, with the photograph and context in which it will be used clearly explained.

When a child is named (for whatever, agreed reason), in any text which is published, in perhaps a school brochure or on the School’s website, a photograph/image of the child will not appear with the text.

Where pupils/parents wish their name to be associated with an image (e.g. if the subject matter is such that it reflects well on them or their school) the School will seek additional parental/legal guardian permission for the child to be named.

Negatives and electronic images will be securely stored.

Using photographs and images of children supplied by a third party

The School recognises that copyright exists in photographs/video images and this copyright generally rests with the photograph/video matter.

Before using any image supplied by a third party, the School will ensure that it checks that the third party owns the copyright and permission is given in writing by the individual(s) to use the photograph/image.

A third party who provides such photographs/images will be asked to confirm in writing that they have the express consent of the parent/legal guardian to use the said photograph/image.

Use of images of children by the press

There may be occasions where the press take photographs at school of pupils.  The press enjoy special rights under the Data Protection Act, which permit them to publish material for journalistic purposes.

Generally, parents and relatives take pride in “press cuttings” which picture and perhaps also name their children and for most, this outweighs any fears about this information being misused.  This having been said, it has become apparent that some parents do object to the publication in the press of information about and images of their children.  As a result the School will ensure that the consent of parents is sought prior to giving the press access to children.  The standard consent form attached to this policy document covers this area.

The manner in which the press use images is controlled through relevant industry codes of practice as well as the law. In this way a check is put on the potential improper use of images of children by the press. The school will check that broadcasters and press photographers who may be on the school premises are aware of the sensitivity involved in detailed captioning, one to one interviews, and close or sports photography.

The following are examples of the types of scenarios that can occur:

Team photographs

Only when everyone is prepared to allow team photographs and full names to be published, will a situation exist in which publication can occur.

If a parent is not happy to have a child’s name printed on a photograph then consideration will be given to publishing the photograph with no names. The Head Teacher/Teacher will make every effort to ensure, in conjunction with the newspaper editors, that this occurs.

If parents of a child have indicated that the child is vulnerable and should not have a photograph printed then a team photograph will not be appropriate.

Photo opportunities

When the school invites a newspaper to celebrate an event, the Head Teacher will make every effort IN ADVANCE to ensure that the newspaper’s requirements can be met.

It is not acceptable to invite a newspaper to take photographs and then refuse to provide any names.  Newspapers will not print anonymous photographs.  The school will give thought to this beforehand – and parental permission/opinion will be the key guidance.

This might mean offering only those children whose parents are happy for publication of photographs and names for inclusion in any photo opportunities.

If this is not possible – for instance because a specific group of children have achieved something, and parental permission regarding  the publication of full names is withheld for one or more of the group – the school will endeavour to negotiate a ‘first names only’ agreement with the newspaper.

If this not be possible, the school will be prepared to forego newspaper publicity.

Parental right to take photographs

Parents are not covered by the Data Protection Act 1998 if they are taking photographs or making a video recording for their own private use. The Act does not, therefore, stop parents from taking photographs or making video recordings at school events, such as musical concerts. However, the School reserves the right to refuse parents this opportunity for health and safety reasons, such as the use of excessive flashlight, bulky or noisy equipment.

On such occasions when the school allows photographs/videos to be taken, it will be on the clear understanding that those doing so undertake not to use them in any improper way and that they will be used for ‘internal family purposes’ only and will not be otherwise sold or distributed.   Recording and/or photographing other than for private use would require the consent of the other parents whose children may be captured on film.  Without this consent the Data Protection Act 1998 would be breached.

The School will make every effort to ensure that people with no connection to the School do not have any opportunity to film covertly.  Staff have the authority to quiz anyone they do not recognise who is using a camera or video recorder at events and productions.

Use of a professional photographer

The School will ensure that any professional photographer engaged to record a school event is prepared to work according to the terms of this policy document and the following guidelines:

In the context of Data Protection legislation, the photographer will be considered as a “Data Processor” and any agreement with them will be in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.

Photographers will only be used if they guarantee to act appropriately to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, the personal data including photographs.

Photographers will be asked to sign up to an agreement with the school which will include:

  • Compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998 (most professional photographers will be aware of these requirements).
  • That material may only be used for the School’s own purposes and that permission has not been given to use the photographs for any other purpose.
  • That the photographer may not disclose the photographs to any other party unless specifically required to do so in order to fulfil the requirements under the contract or where written permission has been given by the school.
  • The photographer must comply with the steps set out above.
  • The photographer will be responsible for keeping his own records as evidence that he has carried out the above.

Nominating a non-professional to be the authorised photographer

Should the School nominate another individual, say a parent, staff member or governor, to be the photographer, it will be made clear that the images may not be used for anything other than the purpose indicated by the School.

Where digital or similar photography is used, the School will require, wherever possible, the parent, staff member or governor to leave all images or image holding equipment at the school premises and to subsequently process and/or develop final images on the school site.  Such action will protect the parent, staff member or governor from future allegations of impropriety.

Charging for photographs/videos/DVD’s

Where a nominated photographer (professional or otherwise) is used, the proceeds from any sale of photographs or copies of videos will go to the school fund and images will be sold at cost price.

Mobile phones

The use of mobile phones which contain cameras with photographic capabilities is prohibited in view of the risks inherent in such use, which include the existence and/or distribution of photographs contrary to the wishes, welfare and privacy of young people and adults.

Monitoring Arrangements

The School will maintain appropriate monitoring arrangements by:

(a) Writing to all parents to seek their general written consent. Such consent will be sought when the child joins the school and will remain in place for the duration of their time here, unless the parent/guardian informs us otherwise.

(b) Including “photographing children” into the Risk Assessment process.

(c) Maintaining a register of those parents who would prefer their children not to be photographed.

(d) Making parents aware that they should let the School know whether they wish to withdraw their child from an event at which the school has indicated the use of cameras, camcorders.

Review of Policy

This policy will be reviewed by the Full Governing Body on a regular basis.

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