Tusla - Ireland's Child & Family Agency

Privacy Notice - Tusla Education Support Service Covid 19 School Return, September 2020

Who we are

Tusla Education Support Service (TESS) is part of The Child and Family Agency (Tusla), the agency responsible for improving wellbeing and outcomes for children. TESS is required by the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 to monitor and support school attendance.

What we do

Schools have to let TESS know when a child has missed more than 20 school days in one school year. We will then talk to the school, parents and the child (where appropriate) to see if we can do anything to support better school attendance.

How can Tess be contacted?

If you have any queries about how TESS operates, you can contact us at tess.info@tusla.ie or by writing to the Educational Welfare Service, 4th Floor, Tusla, Brunel Building, Heuston South Quarter, Dublin 8.

What type of personal information does TESS process to comply with the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000.

  • Basic personal details – name of child and date of birth, name and contact number of a parent
  • Sensitive personal information relating to our statutory functions - the number of days your child has been absent from school
  • Family, lifestyle and social circumstances – financial or family reasons impacting on school attendance given by you
  • Health and welfare information – health or other reasons for absence given by you or your child’s school

Some of the personal information collected may be considered special category or ‘sensitive’ personal information. TESS will only collect and use this information where necessary to support school attendance of your child,

How does TESS receive this personal information?

When your child has missed more than 20 school days the school notifies TESS of this through a secure online portal called TESS School Return Portal. We then contact the school to confirm the information and will then contact you, the parent, to see what we can do to help improve your child’s school attendance.

Covid19 School Return

As an added action this year TESS is seeking information from schools on those children who have not returned to school in September 2020. We are aware that many children and families have concerns regarding their return to school during the Covid 19 pandemic.  The reason we are collecting this information is so we can contact parents to see if we can support them to get their child back to school.  No information received from parents about their child will be shared with anyone outside TESS without the parent’s agreement. Information on the numbers of children not returned to school may be shared with government departments to inform how we might best develop supports for these children and families.

What does TESS do with this personal information?

We will use the information we get from you and the school to make a plan with you and your child to ensure you are given the best support to improve their attendance or help get them back to school. We will always keep you informed of TESS’s actions.

How we store your information securely.

TESS as part of Tusla must comply with all Tusla data collection and data sharing policies. We take precautions to keep your data safe at Tusla and we regularly review and improve the precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of your personal information. All staff working for Tusla have a legal duty to keep your personal information confidential and safe whether it is held in paper or electronic format.

How long will you keep my personal information for?

Tusla must keep personal information in a form that permits the identification of individuals. TESS retains Education Welfare Records for 25 years to provide you with services and to demonstrate accountability to the legislation under which we operate. The information we collect which is not an Education Welfare Record shall be destroyed within three months of carrying out the analysis.

What are my rights regarding my personal information?

You have eight rights regarding how your personal information is processed.

  • You have the Right to be Informed. This means that you can contact Tusla to ask for clear information about how your personal information is collected and used.
  • You have the Right of Access. This means that you can contact Tusla and request a copy of all of your personal information that is held. Tusla will respond to your request within one month.
  • You have the Right to Rectification. This means that you can contact Tusla and request that they change any of your personal information held which you believe is incorrect. Tusla will respond to your request within one month.
  • You have the Right to Erasure. This means that you can contact Tusla and ask them to delete your personal information. Tusla will respond to your request within one month. If we have to keep your personal information to comply with our statutory duties, then we may not delete your records but we will always explain the reasons why we need to keep your personal information and for how long.
  • You have the Right to Restrict Processing. This means that you can contact Tusla and ask them to stop using your personal information and instead, store it. Tusla will respond to your request within one month. If we have to process your personal information to comply with our statutory duties, then we may not delete your records but we will always explain the reasons why we need to keep your personal information and for how long.
  • You have the right to Data Portability. This means you can contact Tusla and seek a copy of your personal information to use elsewhere. Tusla will respond to your request within one month. This right would not really apply in this case but we will provide you with your data in the format (paper or electronic copies) that is most convenient to you.
  • You have the right to Object to Processing. This means you can contact Tusla and ask them to stop using your personal information. Tusla will respond to your request within one month. If we have to process your personal information to comply with our statutory duties, then we may not delete your records but we will always explain the reasons why we need to keep your personal information and for how long.

You can use any of these rights without charge by contacting Tusla.

Can I complain about Tusla using my personal information?

If you have any questions about our use of your personal information, you may contact TESS by writing to Tusla Data Protection Unit, 6th Floor, Brunel Building, Heuston South Quarter, Dublin 8. Alternatively, you may phone (01) 7718500 or email datacontroller@tusla.ie.

If you are unhappy with how Tusla used your personal information you can make a complaint to the Data Protection Commission by webform at www.dataprotection.ie or by post to Data Protection Commission, 21 Fitzwilliam Square South, Dublin 2, D02RD28, Ireland.

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