Nativity scene in glitter (child like) on a yellow back ground

Sharing this year’s Nativity play online

How to share this year’s Nativity play online safety

Schools will have good intentions in wanting to share this year’s Nativity play online. But how do you ensure you do this safely and adhere to the latest data protection regulations? Below is some guidance which will support you in this task.

Why is it different if parents attended an event at the school or for the school to post the event online for parents to view?

When family members attend an event at the school, you will give out advice around best practice and sharing photos and videos online and you will have ensured that children performing have the correct consent. However, you have little control as to what happens to the images when the families leave the performance. Importantly attendees will be taking photos and video from their own personal devices for personal use only, so the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR as a general rule, will not apply. This is because there is an exception for personal data processed for purely personal or household activity. 

Whereas you as the controller posting the performance online are making the decision to record and share so the Data Protection Act and GDPR will apply. 

So how can we safely post the performance and share online?

What you need to consider prior to posting the Nativity play images and video online:

  • Have we obtained appropriate consent (refer to the detailed consent guidance below)?
  • Have we obtained consent from staff? Consent can be verbal and if so, document that oral consent was given with the name of the individual providing consent, the date and time with the information provided before consent was given with any other information necessary to obtain valid consent. 
  • Are you using live feeds? If so, you will still no doubt be recording the event and possibly sharing with absent families so the same rules for if you were posting online should be applied.
  • Seek advice from your IT professionals
  • Where possible always test prior before posting online
  • Avoid sharing on multiple platforms and identify the most appropriate way of sharing for your school
  • Only use school accounts and only share with the intended families - if it is shared with the whole school this needs to be made clear when obtaining consent
  • If it is a private link, avoid giving access to the link to outside organisations (this could be a charity or church)  unless you have made it clear when obtaining consent
  • Consider a timeframe for when the link is available
  • Update your retention schedule and video/consent guidance

Check your current consent form and update/send out a separate statement and consent for this event

Is there any ambiguity in your current consent form regarding how you process and use photos and video and posting online? Remember, consent should be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous. Would parents expect the images/videos to be used this way? Being a new way of sharing the images/video it is likely that your current consent form will not be specific enough so you should issue a separate consent form for the sharing of the performance online and give as much detail as possible. For example:

Example consent guidance and form for the Nativity play:

Due to the exceptional circumstances, we have experienced this year and to allow you to be able to enjoy your child’s Nativity performance the school is hoping to record the Nativity play and share a private school (add details e.g. YouTube or Vimeo or other file-sharing service) link with you. This will allow you to enjoy this special performance with your child and family.

The play can be viewed for two weeks from the date of the upload. The link will then be removed and the publication will then be kept securely in line with the school's retention schedule.

  • Please confirm that you are happy for your child’s image to be recorded and uploaded to the school's private YouTube page Yes/No

Please note: Not all parents want images of their children to be shared online, for example, there may be personal or religious reasons. The sharing of the video is for you to enjoy with your families and not for general posting online. Only the families of the children in this performance have access to this link. As a school, we respect the rights of children and their families to have privacy, and we hope that you will support us in doing so. If it comes to the attention of the school that images and videos have been posted on social media, we may need to consider withdrawing this option for all future such events. Personal use is for one’s own personal domestic enjoyment and therefore NOT for publication or commercial use.

Photo and video guidance can also be obtained from the best practice area of the DPE website