The University has a lawful duty to protect the privacy of all students. This means the University is not able to disclose personal data (even to parents or guardians), other than in the most exceptional of circumstances because of the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
The University further makes a declaration through its Student Data Protection Code, stating: “personal information will not be given out without the student’s permission. This restriction includes passing information to parents, legal guardians and next of kin.”
This means that the University cannot, without a student’s permission, disclose a student’s grades, whether the student is or is not attending lectures, what clubs or societies they are members of, etc. This is regardless of the source of the student tuition fees (that is, if parents are paying the bills).
The University may contact a student’s listed emergency contact in very serious circumstances where the student is in grave danger and unable to give permission. The decision to contact an emergency contact will be taken by two senior members of staff and will be based on the agreement that communication with an emergency contact is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the student.