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Photographic images of children policy


This web page provides guidance on the appropriate use of images of children in education at BHHJS. It covers still, video and electronic photographic images wherever they are used. The guidance is for staff and other adults who wish to use images of children. The full policy, including consent forms, can be viewed and downloaded here.

NB Establishments need to make full and proper use of photographic images while meeting the law and preserving the safety of children. Concerns focus on issues around rights of privacy, child protection and copyright ownership. These guidelines address these issues and give advice on good practice.

Typical Uses of Photographs

Assessing Key skills for PE.
Performing arts including dance and movement, concerts, drama performances, parent evenings.
Sports days and sports fixtures and the use of photographic equipment by parents and carers and children from the other school.
Media including newspapers and television especially when some editors require children’s names when publishing photographs.
Displays in the establishment of children’s activities.
Publications by the establishment and by the LA
Establishment and LA web-sites.
Staff training and professional development activities.
Publicity material for contractors.
Site security / CCTV videos.

Governing Body / Management Committee

The Governing Body / Management Committee should:

Formally adopt these guidelines as policy and good practice.
Ensure that the child protection and /or health and safety governor are aware of and support the policies and procedures.


Human Rights legislation and the Data Protection Act 1998 give people new rights and it is the right to ‘privacy’ that is the issue when using photographs. The Council and establishments must take steps that respect the rights of people in photographs.
The Copyright, Designs and Patent Acts 1988 moved the ownership of copyright to the photographer (or their employer) and away from the person commissioning and paying for the photographs, unless there is an agreement otherwise (see appendix 3).

Good Practice

The following advice represents good practice in the use of photographic images involving children.
When taking a picture, staff or any other adults requesting it must obtain the consent of the person in the picture or from their parent or carer.
If using a photo from the media or commissioning a photograph, have a signed agreement (see appendices 2 & 3).
Use the image in its intended context.
Follow the commitment made in the consent forms:
not to name the child;
not to use the photograph out of context;
not to use the photograph to illustrate sensitive or negative issues.

When photographing children:
Ensure that parents and carers of young people have signed and returned
the school’s consent form for general photography (see appendix 1). Any images going beyond the school need additional specific consent
(see appendix 2).
Ensure all children are appropriately dressed.
Avoid images that only show a single child with no surrounding context of what they are learning or doing.
Photographs of three or four children are more likely to also include their learning context.
Do not use images of a child who is considered very vulnerable, unless
parents / carers have given specific written permission.
Avoid naming young people. If one name is required then use the first name only where possible.
Use photographs that represent the diversity of the young people participating.
Report any concerns relating to any inappropriate or intrusive photography to the head teacher.
Remember the duty of care and challenge any inappropriate behaviour or language.
Do not use images that are likely to cause distress, upset or embarrassment.
Ensure all digital recording equipment is kept in a locked secure space until required for use and particularly overnight. All images taken on such equipment should be downloaded to the school’s secure server immediately after use and the memory cleared.
No images of pupils should ever be recorded on digital equipment belonging to school staff e.g. cameras, notepads or mobile phones, unless with the explicit permission of the Head teacher. All images must be immediately downloaded to the school computer and the camera memory wiped clean. (appendix 6 – Register of staff or official school photographers ) to be completed for such occasions.

Parental Permission

Use of images of children require the consent of the parent / carer. Permission should always be obtained by using the form in appendix 1, when a child joins the establishment. The form covers the school when using the photographs in publications and on web-sites. Each year as part of a standard communication, ask parents if they wish to change their permission. If they do, encourage them to contact the head teacher.
When a parent does not agree to their child being photographed, the head teacher must inform staff and make every effort to comply sensitively.
For example, if a child whose parents have refused permission for photography is involved with a sports event, e.g. a football match, it may not be appropriate to photograph the whole team. Careful liaison with parents is therefore essential. With discussion it may be possible to agree other options. The parent may accept a team photograph if names are not published or they may be prepared to relent if it affects the whole team.
When photographic images are transmitted or shared beyond the establishment e.g. television broadcasts, images on intranet sites, specific permission should be obtained (see appendix 2).

Inter-School Fixtures

Apply these guidelines to inter-school events. If a vulnerable child is involved, it will be necessary to liaise with a member of staff from the other establishment so that they are aware of the wishes of the parents or carer of the child and seek the cooperation of the parents of the opposing team.

Teacher Training and Portfolios

During teacher training and with newly qualified staff, colleagues need to compile portfolios with photographs of children during lessons. Staff should act responsibly in compiling these images. A member of the management team may wish to oversee the compiled images as part of the management process and consider their appropriateness.

Displays in Schools

Still photographs shown on displays and video clips available during open / parents’ evenings should depict children in an appropriate way. They should not display images of children in inappropriate or revealing clothing so appropriate levels of integrity and decency are maintained. Do not use photographs or images likely to cause embarrassment.

Filming children at Events, Concerts and Presentations

It is usual practice for parents to take photographs and videos of children at school events such as Christmas Plays, school events and sports days. Any objections to this policy should be addressed in writing to the head teacher.
In allowing this practice we will endeavour to ensure the appropriate recording of children’s images by parents / carers:
Ensure that children are appropriately dressed for the event.
Obtain parental permission with the form in appendix 1.
Be aware of any child who should not be photographed and
Monitor the use of cameras and anyone behaving inappropriately.
Have all parents wishing to record events to sign a register at each event (appendix 5). This will be retained as evidence should they be needed.
In the event of a commercial photographer being employed, or a school representative used at school events, the school will issue the photographer with identification which must be worn at all times.
The school will let parents know that an official photographer will be attendance at an event and ensure that consent is sought appropriately from parents.
School will not allow unsupervised one-to-one access to children photo sessions in school or at home.
If children or parents have concerns about inappropriate or intrusive photography, they should report them to the head teacher who will report them in the same manner as any other child protection concern.

Children Photographing Each Other

This practice can occur extensively during offsite activities particularly during residential periods. Staff should maintain the supervision and management control specified in LA OAA visit guidelines. There may be incidents where children take inappropriate photographs, perhaps showing friends and other children inappropriately dressed.
Staff should endeavour to discourage this practice, but ultimately parents are responsible for monitoring their child’s use of cameras and subsequent use of their images involved
(see also section 15).


Several scenarios can occur:
Team photographs:
When everyone is prepared to allow team photographs and full names to be published. In this situation publication can occur.
If a parent is not happy to have a child’s name printed on a photograph then consideration could be given to publishing the photograph with no names. The head teacher / manager should make every effort to ensure, in conjunction with the newspaper editors, that this occurs.
If parents of a child have indicated that the child is vulnerable and should not have a photograph printed then a team photograph may not be appropriate.
Photo opportunities:
When an establishment invites a newspaper to celebrate an event, the head teacher should make every effort IN ADVANCE to ensure that the newspaper’s requirements can be met.
Almost without exception, this means the paper will prefer to publish the full names of anyone in a photograph they print. The only exception to this might be (as above) in a larger group shot (e.g.: a group of more than 10 children).
However newspapers usually prefer to work with smaller groups of children
– e.g.: three or four – and for this number names would definitely be required.
It is not acceptable to invite a newspaper to take photographs and then refuse to provide any names. Newspapers will not print anonymous photographs. Establishments must give thought to this beforehand – and parental permission / opinion must be their key guidance.
This might mean offering only those children whose parents are happy for publication of photographs and names for inclusion in any photo opportunities.
If this is not possible – for instance because a specific group of children have achieved something, and parental permission re. The publication of full names is withheld for one or more of the group – it might be possible to negotiate a ‘first names only’ agreement with the newspaper.
Otherwise establishments must be prepared to forego newspaper publicity.

Use of Internet / Intranet Sites

Many establishments will have an internet / intranet facility. The Head teacher should know good practice and ensure that the establishment only uses appropriate images that follow this guidance. For example, if a child has successfully completed a gymnastics award, it would be appropriate to show the child in a tracksuit rather than leotard.

Mobile Phones

In accordance with the school’s Mobile Phone Policy, the use of mobile phones which contain cameras of photographic capabilities should not be permitted in changing rooms, toilets etc.
Children are not permitted to bring their mobile phones into school without express permission from the school. All mobile phones must be declared and handed into the class teacher at the start of the day. Then collected from the teacher at home time.
If it is found that cameras or camera phones have been undisclosed, used without permission in school or misused, the school will follow the disciplinary procedures as outlined in our behaviour policy. In some cases it may be necessary for our primary school to contact children’s social care and/or the police.
Staff should only use mobile phones (with cameras) in office areas, staff room or areas away from the children while the school day is in session.

Close Circuit Television (CCTV) * Advice where installed

Increasing numbers of school are installing such equipment for the following uses:
As a method of controlling access.
An aid to site management in monitoring incorrect parking, manoeuvring vehicles, delivery arrivals etc.
Pupil behaviour issues / bullying. As a behavioural tool during breaks and lunch times it can be used to identify hot spots of inappropriate behaviour. It may also to monitor within the building, corridors and areas out of sight or not frequently trafficked by staff, for example in the vicinity of toilets.
As an aid to members of staff with particular responsibility for behaviour management.
To monitor personal safety for site supervisors, caretakers, cleaners etc.
To monitor site safety and security.
As an effective deterrent for crime.
As a means of crime reduction and discouraging trespass.

Types of Recorders

Digital Images
Increasingly images are retained on computer hard drives.
They should also only be stored for designated periods and then erased from the hard drive.
In both incidences it is essential that the images are retained securely and are viewed by designated, competent members of staff.

Several types of cameras are used, notably:
Fixed-Wide angle lens
Dome cameras (rotary) with 360 degrees capacity.
Corner mounted cameras with 270 degrees capacity.
Manually operated pan tilt-zoom lenses. These have infinitely variable distance and angle capabilities and so can zoom onto individuals. It is therefore crucial that authorised and designated staff only have access to the equipment and that occasional and periodic monitoring of the images saved is undertaken by a senior member of management. Images should be destroyed after the designated period.
Camera Sightings
Every effort should be made to avoid inappropriate images and cameras should not be sighted in toilets, changing rooms or other sensitive areas. Camera sightings should be carried out in conjunction with Ian Webb, Risk Management Officer WES Safety and Premises.
Out of School Hours
Cameras may record inappropriate activities taking place on the school site, without the school’s knowledge. If they are of a criminal nature, consideration should be given by a senior member of the management team to referring the information to the police.
Again images should be erased in accordance with the procedures above.
While CCTV can be an extremely effective and useful crime reduction / deterrent device, careful use of the images and control by competent responsible staff is considered crucial.

Review of Guidelines

The content of these guidelines will be reviewed annually .