Inquiry after pupil details stolen during raid on house

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EDUCATION chiefs have ordered an investigation after dozens of pupils’ files were stolen from a school worker’s home.

Documents containing personal information of 45 children were taken during a break-in at the home of a member of staff from the education welfare service at Edinburgh City Council.

The woman had been working with problem pupils with a poor attendance record and had taken the files home prior to the theft on Wednesday night.

Most of the files related to pupils attending Broughton High School although some were on younger children 
at Granton and Forthview 
primaries.

Parents of those whose personal details were taken have been contacted about the incident and informed that the files are yet to be recovered.

Education chiefs are still to determine whether or not the member of staff was allowed to take the work home.

Police are now attempting to trace the thief but do not believe that the documents were targeted as other items were taken from the property.

Cameron Rose, education spokesman for the Edinburgh Conservatives and a former police inspector, said: “We hope the police will be successful in their inquiries to ensure the personal details of what may be vulnerable young people are protected.

“There also needs to be greater control over what kind of work is taken home.

“Increasingly, work is stored electronically and increased security may well be something we should see more of, considering the kind of safety measures that are available.”

A council spokeswoman said: “One of our staff was the victim of a burglary at their home on Wednesday, July 17.

“A number of personal items were taken along with some files relating to school pupils. We are working closely with the police on this matter but believe that these files weren’t targeted by the thief.

“We are making contact with all the families this information relates to and have made staff available to them to help with any concerns they may have.

“Forty-five files were taken and contained information relating to education welfare, predominantly around school attendance.

“The files relate to a number of pupils who have had contact with the education welfare service and have attended either Broughton High School, Granton Primary or Forthview Primary.”

In February the Evening News revealed that the personal details of 1075 schoolchildren in East Lothian were mislaid after being downloaded on to a private memory stick.

Although the file was password protected the actual text on the device, had not been encrypted, which East Lothian Council said was in “clear breach” of council IT policy and led to the official being suspended.

The same local authority also accidentally published licensing applications, which included personal details and criminal convictions of taxi drivers, on its website in 2010.