Confidentiality code

Can you tell me how my child did on their essay?

Can you give me this student’s bank details?

Can you tell this student x?

Why can’t you tell me if my child is in counselling?

We need to explain to parents that once their child is a student here, that we are unable, due to the data protection act, to pass information about their child to them. This is different to a lot of other countries and so parents will often not realise this. We should also describe what we can and will do if a parent contacts the University with concern about their child.


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Confidentiality code

The University of St Andrews, in accordance with the Data Protection Act of 1998, is subject to strict laws that forbid the release of information about students to any external party.

As stated in the University confidentiality code, “personal information will not be given out externally without the student’s permission. This restriction includes passing information to parents, legal guardians and next of kin.”

This means that we will be unable to share the following information concerning your student with you. 

  • We are unable to disclose any information relating to a student’s academic progress. This includes their module choices, degree intentions, marks, coursework submission and attendance.
  • We cannot confirm whether or not a student has approached Student Services or not.
  • We cannot supply the student’s address, contact details or financial details.
  • We are not able to discuss whether a student is enrolled in the University.
  • We are not able to give out any details of the student’s private life.

We recognise that this policy may differ to that of other countries. However, we firmly believe in developing the agency and independence of our students. Our contract is between the University and the student only.

We will only be able to discuss information about students with third parties to protect the vital interests of the student.

Sometimes parents of students ask if they can gain access to information about their son/daughter if the student signs a ‘waiver’ giving access to a third party.  This is not something which we are able to do.

Please contact theasc@st-andrews.ac.uk if you have further questions about what the Confidentiality Code means for you.