Educating Your Child

  • Who we are?

    George Watson’s College (“The School”) is managed by the Merchant Company Education Board, a registered Scottish Charity (SC009747). 

    The School’s address is George Watson’s College, Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH10 5EG.

    George Watson’s College, as a Data Controller, is committed to protecting your personal information. In order to do this, it is important that we explain:

    • What information do we collect about you?
    • Why we collect this information?
    • What we need from you?
    • How do we collect that information?
    • What we do with that information?
    • Who do we share information with?
    • How long do we keep your information?
    • How can you access the information we hold on you?
    • Where do we process and store your information?
    • How do we protect your information?

  • What information do we collect about you?

    During your child’s time with us we gather information to help us provide them with a well-rounded education, celebrating successes and to meet our legal obligations.  
    The information we collect includes:

    • Information about your child – e.g. name, date of birth, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion/faith and languages spoken in the family home
    • Contact details for your child and each parent/carer
    • Details of brothers and sisters, family circumstance (e.g. bereavements)
    • Proof of nationality and address
    • Your job details
    • Starting date, and any education to date
    • School reports and references
    • Any additional needs your child may have, including support for learning reports,
    • Medical information e.g. vaccination history, allergy info, accident forms and medical examinations
    • Whether your child is receiving a Foundation Award, academic scholarship or music scholarship
    • Payment details regarding fees and extras, and credit card details in lunch system, if you choose to save them
    • Assessment results and school reports
    • Attendance record (including lateness)
    • Records of wellbeing concerns and interventions
    • Any child protection investigations
    • Extra-curricular activities undertaken
    • Involvement in School trips
    • Parental and pupil given consents
    • Records of parental communications
    • Photographs of pupils
    • Survey feedback
  • Why we collect this information?

    This information allows us to better understand  your child, how we can nurture them to meet their potential, building on their strengths and providing them with a happy and fulfilling Watson’s education. It also enables us to involve you in the process, through communication (e.g. by phone, text message (absence), letters and email), publications, and meetings.

  • What do we need from you?

    The majority of the information we collect is necessary to educate your child, however there are some areas we require your consent for:

    • To send you third party marketing material in the weekly email digest,
    • This is only done for businesses operating on campus e.g. in the Galleon or Myreside; for Watsonian Branches and Sections; and organisations which have formal partnership arrangements with GWC (i.e. appear on the website here:
    • To photograph or video your child (as explained in the Taking, Storing and Using Images of Children Policy)
    • Medical consents – as requested on the medical questionnaires you fill in when entering Preschool, Junior School or Senior School, and throughout your child’s time with us.

    You may also be asked for your permission to share your contact details with parents in your child’s Junior School class, or with other groups your child is involved with.

    You can withdraw your consent to us collecting and/or storing this personal information at any time. You can withdraw your consent by contacting us using the details at the end of this privacy policy.
    NOTE: The law permits that consent can be given or withdrawn by pupils over the age of 12.

  • How do we collect that information?

    We will collect information from you from the first time you make an enquiry, and with interactions, communications and form filling transactions throughout your child’s time with us.

  • What we do with that information?

    The information enables us to:

    • Work with you to educate and support your child
    • Communicate with you regularly
    • Share publications, reports etc
    • Invite you to events and parents’ meetings
    • Celebrate your child’s successes appropriately.
  • Who do we share information with?

    During your child’s time with us in the School we may need to share the information you have provided or we have collected with members of staff throughout the School. However, we never sell personal information and will not share it with any third-party unless indicated here:

    External Authorities

    We may need to share information with external agencies, such as social work and the police in matters relating to a child or young person’s welfare and protection. This is a legal requirement to allow us to comply with the regulations.

    Exam Boards and External Testing Bodies

    We share candidate information with the exam boards responsible for the external exams, and tests our pupils sit throughout the School. This will include chief invigilation staff.

    Sports Governing Bodies/ Competition or Conference Organisers

    If pupils are representing us at sport, we may need to share name, date of birth and performance statistics to the relevant external bodies. Similarly, other extra-curricular activities (eg. Debating, MUN, Pipe Band).

    Attendees at School Events

    Names of pupils may appear in programmes for sporting, musical and theatrical events.

    Visiting Music Teachers

    Our external music teachers will receive details from the application form you will fill in for individual music lessons.

    Travel Companies, Official Trip Organisers and Exchange Partners

    If taking part on a trip or exchange we will share information with those who are helping us to provide the opportunities.


    When undertaking mailings (eg. Caritas) we may pass your name and address to selected third parties. However, the contract we enter into with them will contain a clause regarding data protection and destruction.

    Other Parents

    Your child’s name may appear on the Intranet, the area of the website accessed using a username and password, e.g. on the Lost Property list. This is only accessible by parents, staff and governors.


    We will celebrate successes on the website and in our publications, and will consider both child protection and data protection regarding use of information that could identify an individual.

    Educational Resource and Service Suppliers

    We use resources, such as Mathletics, which may require general contact information to enable registration. We are careful about what is provided, considering both data and child protection before sharing anything with such suppliers.

  • How long do we keep your information?

    We will remind you annually to check the contact details we have for you. Clearly our aim is to maintain a life-long relationship with the Watson’s family. However, when your child leaves School we will communicate with you to establish the extent of the long-term relationship you would welcome. This is covered by Privacy Policy – Keeping in Touch and Supporting the School.

  • How you can access the information we hold on you?

    You have the right to access the personal information we hold on you. If you wish to receive a copy you may make a data subject access request to our Data Protection Officer, the Bursar.

    We must confirm your identity before we can release any personal information.

    If the personal information is inaccurate or incomplete, you can ask us to correct it. You can also ask for information to be deleted or removed if there is no compelling reason for George Watson’s College to continue to hold it.

  • Where do we process and store your information?

    The personal information collected by the School will be held in electronic and/or physical format on secured systems within the European Economic Area. We will not knowingly transfer your personal information outside of the European Economic Area, unless a pupil is taking part in a trip or exchange to outside the European Economic Area. We only store physical copies of documents containing personal information on the School’s premises. Information that we store electronically is retained on systems owned and/or managed by the School.

    Details regarding how we store and manage data can be found in our Data Storage and Retention Policy.

  • How do we protect your information?

    This can be found in our Information Security policy.


  • How to Contact Us

    If you have any questions, comments or requests regarding this Privacy Policy please contact:

    The Bursar / Data Protection Officer
    George Watson’s College
    Colinton Road
    EH10 5EG
    0131 446 6000

  • Complaints

    If you are not satisfied with the way that we have handled any of your requests or questions relating to our use of your personal data then you can contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at or phone 0303 123 1113.

    The Information Commissioner’s Office is the statutory body responsible for overseeing data protection legislation and law in the United Kingdom.

Version 2/Issue 1/ 18 May 2021

Privacy Policy