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Best Practice Standards 3.12


3.12 Appropriate Use of Student Information

Communication systems are effective in providing relevant and timely information to both staff and students, and a safe environment exists for students to disclose impairments information.

Best Practice Standards

  1. Impairment information is only sought to arrange support and disseminated only to staff on a 'need to know' basis with the student's permission.
  2. Communication systems allow appropriate staff to receive information about the individual needs of students with impairments in a clear, effective and timely way.
  3. Staff protect an individual's privacy and only disclose impairment information for the provision of effective support and to ensure health and safety.
  4. A safe environment is created for students to disclose impairment information in line with the disclosure provisions in the Health and Disability Commissioner Act 1994 and Privacy Act 1993.

Understanding these Best Practice Standards

  • Creating a safe environment for students to disclose impairments information includes:
    • Building an atmosphere and culture within the institution that is open and welcoming.
    • Institution wide policies and procedures of confidentiality and disclosure that protect the privacy of an individual's impairment information.
    • Providing staff training about appropriate use of this information.
    • Ensuring students are not required to continually repeat verification of impairments.
    • Checking that staff and people with impairments know of and understand confidentiality and disclosure policies, including the reasons for notification, gathering information for monitoring and who has access.
    • Explaining to students the benefit of disclosure and how this information will be kept confidential.
    • Having disclosure questions in application forms that are reassuring, outline the purpose for collecting information and are linked to a statement that staff will endeavour to offer support.
    • Encouraging students to create a guideline for disclosure, so support strategies can be developed.
  • If students tell someone within the institution about their impairment, then the tertiary institution may not be able to claim that it did not know if there is failure to offer support and adaptations from teaching staff (e.g. a student declares her impairments and related support on an application form).
  • People have a right to request that their impairment information is treated confidentially. This may result in alternative support.
    • For example, a student with a vision impairment is very embarrassed by his impairment. Normally large-print handouts would be provided in class. However, handouts are given in advance so that he can look at them before class, so he does not have to be seen reading them during the class.