Privacy

Your Privacy is Important

The Presbyterian & Methodist Schools Association (the PMSA) is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in the Commonwealth Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 and has developed a comprehensive policy to ensure it meets those obligations.

This statement outlines how personal information provided to or collected by the PMSA is used and managed.
 
The PMSA may, from time to time, review and update this Privacy Policy to take into account new laws, changing technology and/or changes to the Association’s operations, business or education practices.

Collection of Information

The type of information the PMSA collects and holds, includes (but is not limited to) personal information, including sensitive information, about:

  • students and parents and/or guardians ("Parents") before, during and after the course of a student's enrolment at a PMSA School*
  • job applicants, staff members, volunteers and contractors; and
  • other people who come into contact with the PMSA

* Where PMSA School includes PMSA Early Learning Centres and Homestay Hosts arranged by and for PMSA schools, unless expressly stipulated otherwise.

Personal Information Collected by You

The PMSA will generally collect personal information from an individual by way of forms filled out by Parents or students, job applicants, staff members, contractors and volunteers, face-to-face meetings and interviews, emails and telephone calls.

Personal Information Provided by Other People

In some circumstances the PMSA may be provided with personal information about an individual from a third party, for example a report provided by a medical professional or a reference from another school.
 
Collection of personal information from a third party will be undertaken where the PMSA deems it necessary to do so in order to fulfil its purpose. Any personal information that is unsolicited will be dealt with in accordance with the APPs.

Sensitive Information

"Sensitive information" can include information relating to a person's racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religion, trade union or other professional or trade association membership, philosophical beliefs, sexual preferences, criminal record, and health or biometric information about an individual.
 
The PMSA will collect, use and disclose sensitive information where it is reasonably necessary to fulfil its primary purpose, a directly related purpose or a purpose allowed by privacy laws.  It will only be collected with consent, unless one of the exceptions under the APPs applies and used or disclosed for the purpose for which it was collected or the use/disclosure is required/permitted by law.

Exception in Relation to Employee Records

Under the Privacy Act, the Australian Privacy Principles do not apply to an employee record held by the employing entity. This means that the PMSA’s Privacy Policy does not apply to how the PMSA deals with an employee record that concerns current or former employees of the PMSA.

Use of Personal Information

The PMSA will use personal information it collects from an individual for the primary purpose of collection, and for such other secondary purposes that are related to the primary purpose of collection and reasonably expected by the individual, or to which the individual has consented.

This includes satisfying both parents’ and students’ needs throughout the whole period s/he is enrolled at a PMSA School.

The Purposes for which the PMSA Uses Personal Information Regarding Students and Parents May Include (but is not limited to)

  • to keep Parents informed about matters related to their child's schooling, through correspondence, newsletters (including e-newsletters) and magazines;
  • day-to-day administration of its schools;
  • looking after students' educational, social and medical wellbeing;
  • seeking donations and marketing for its Schools; and
  • to satisfy legal obligations and allow the PMSA to discharge its duty of care obligations

In some cases where the PMSA requests personal information about a student or Parent, if the information requested is not provided, the PMSA may not be able to enrol or continue the enrolment of the student or permit the student to take part in a particular activity.

Job Applicants, Staff Members and Contractors

In relation to personal information of job applicants, staff members and contractors, the PMSA's primary purpose of collection is to assess and (if successful) to engage the applicant, staff member or contractor, as the case may be.

The Purposes for which the PMSA Uses Personal Information Relating to Job Applicants, Staff Members and Contractors include(but is not limited to)

  • in administering the individual's employment or contract, as the case may be;
  • for insurance purposes;
  • seeking donations and marketing for the School; and
  • to satisfy the PMSA’s legal obligations, for example, in relation to child protection legislation.

Volunteers

The PMSA may also obtain personal information about volunteers who assist the PMSA in its functions or conduct associated activities, such as members of the PMSA and/or school councils and committees, and alumni associations, to enable the PMSA and the volunteers to work together.

Marketing And Fundraising

The PMSA supports its schools in marketing and fundraising to promote future growth and development and to sustain and improve of its educational environments for both students and staff. School publications such as newsletters and magazines, which include personal information, may be used for marketing purposes.

Personal information held by the PMSA may be disclosed to organisations that assist in individual school’s fundraising, for example, a School's Foundation or alumni organisation or, on occasions, external fundraising organisations.

Parents, staff contractors and other members of the wider PMSA schools' community may from time to time receive fundraising or marketing information.

Disclosure of Personal Information

The PMSA may disclose personal information, including sensitive information, held about an individual to:

  • another school;
  • government departments;
  • medical practitioners;
  • people providing services to the PMSA, including specialist visiting teachers, counsellors and sports coaches;
  • recipients of PMSA publications, such as newsletters and magazines;
  • Parents;
  • anyone you authorise the PMSA to disclose information to; and
  • anyone to whom we are required to disclose the information to by law.

Sending Information Overseas

The PMSA may disclose personal information about an individual to overseas recipients, for instance, when storing personal information with 'cloud' service providers which are situated outside Australia or to facilitate a school exchange.

However, the PMSA will not send personal information about an individual outside Australia without:

  • obtaining the consent of the individual (in some cases this consent will be implied); or
  • otherwise complying with the Australian Privacy Principles or other applicable privacy legislation.

Quality of Information

The PMSA endeavours to ensure that the personal information it holds is accurate, complete and up-to-date.  It requires parents to update their child’s health information prior to any camp, overnight excursion or international tour and parents of students with specialised health needs to update their information annually. 

Management and Security of Personal Information

PMSA staff are required to respect the confidentiality of students' and Parents' personal information and the privacy of individuals. The PMSA has in place steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, interference and loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure by use of various methods including locked storage of paper records and password access rights to computerised records.

Access to and Correction of Personal Information

Under the Commonwealth Privacy Act, an individual has the right to obtain access to any personal information which the PMSA holds about him/her and to advise the PMSA of any perceived inaccuracy. Students will generally be able to access and update their personal information through their Parents, but older students may seek access and correction themselves.

There are some exceptions to this right which are set out in the applicable legislation.

To make a request to access or update any personal information the PMSA holds about an individual he/she may contact the Principal of the PMSA School which holds the information or the PMSA Corporate Office, where applicable, in writing. The PMSA may require an individual to verify his/her identity and specify what information is required. The PMSA may charge a fee to cover the cost of verifying an application and locating, retrieving, reviewing and copying any material requested.  If the information sought is extensive, the PMSA will advise the likely cost in advance. If the PMSA cannot provide an individual with access to the information, it will provide him/her with written notice explaining the reasons for refusal.

Consent and Rights of Access to the Personal Information of Students

The PMSA respects every Parent's right to make decisions concerning their child's education. Generally, the PMSA will refer any requests for consent and notices in relation to the personal information of a student to the student’s Parents. The PMSA will treat consent given by Parents as consent given on behalf of the student, and notice to Parents will act as notice given to the student.

As mentioned above, parents may seek access to personal information held by a PMSA school about them or their child by contacting the School Principal. However, there will be occasions when access is denied.  Such occasions would include where release of the information would have an unreasonable impact on the privacy of others, or where the release may result in a breach of the School's duty of care to the student.

The PMSA may, at its discretion, on the request of a student grant that student access to information held by the School about them, or allow a student to give or withhold consent to the use of their personal information, independently of their Parents. This would normally be done only when the maturity of the student and/or the student's personal circumstances so warranted.   

Enquiries and Complaints

If an individual would like further information about the way the PMSA manages the personal information it holds, or wish to complain that he/she believes that the PMSA has breached the Australian Privacy Principles the individual should, in the first instance, contact the Principal of the relevant PMSA School. If the breach relates to the PMSA Corporate Services Office, the individual should contact the PMSA Executive Manager

  • by email at info@pmsa-schools.edu.au
  • by phone on 07 3371 0709
  • by mail addressed as “Confidential” to the Executive Manager, PMSA Corporate Services Office, PO Box 298 Brisbane QLD 4066

The PMSA will investigate any complaint and will notify the individual of the making of a decision in relation to his/her complaint as soon as practicable.

If an individual is not satisfied with the PMSA’s response, a complaint can be lodged with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner at http://www.oaic.gov.au/privacy/making-a-privacy-complaint.