Education Act 2011

Education Act 2011

Search and deletion of files on electronic devices

Section 2 4(b) grants the power to school staff to seize electronic devices, search them, and delete files.

(6E) The person who seized the item may examine any data or files on the device, if the person thinks there is a good reason to do so.
(6F) Following an examination under subsection (6E), if the person has decided to return the item to its owner, retain it or dispose of it, the person may erase any data or files from the device if the person thinks there is a good reason to do so.

It is clear from statements made by ministers[1] that staff are encouraged to use these powers to find and delete "sexting" images.

“Confiscating mobile phones and looking through the phone records, text messages and address lists is proportionate for terrorism investigations, not breaches of school rules.” --Shami Chakrabati, Liberty[2]



  1. Hansard, 2014-01-24, "I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who makes an important point. We have given teachers stronger powers to tackle cyber-bullying by searching for and, if necessary, deleting inappropriate images or files on electronic devices, including mobile phones. It is critical to educate young people about the risks of sending intimate photographs."
  2. Search powers 'exceed those of police', TES, 2011-02-11

This page was last edited on 1 February 2014, at 19:42.

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