Keeping in Touch and Supporting the School

  • 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.

    Our Development Office is the School’s main point of contact with former pupils, former parents, former staff, friends and supporters; and keeps our parents and staff informed of our former pupil, fundraising and partnership activities. It is also responsible for raising funds for the George Watson’s Family Foundation, sometimes referred to as the Foundation (Charity Number SC004818).

    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?

    The information we may use to enable the School to keep in touch with you includes:

    • Information about who you are – eg your name, date of birth, address (and previous addresses) and contact details
    • Information regarding your destination when you left School – eg university, college, and employment
    • Details of your family relationships
    • Interests and activities
    • Information about your education and career
    • Publicly shared content on various media platforms, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, and print publications
    • Information concerning your interactions with us – eg events attended and invited to, donations, gift aid status, emails, phone calls, meetings and online purchases
    • Photographs of you at events, or sent to us by you for publications, or from the School archives.
  • Why we collect this information?

    This allows us to better understand who you are and your interests, in order for us to help you to keep in touch by informing you of relevant School activities, events and communications.

    This allows us to better understand how you wish to work with the School or the Foundation, any campaigns you like to support, and events you may like to attend.

  • What do we need from you?

    Your relationship with the School is important and throughout your time as a pupil, parent or carer, or staff member the School will have collected information about you. This was needed to educate you (as a pupil), enable you to be a part of your child’s education (as a parent or carer), or to employ you.

    When you become a former pupil, former parent or former member of staff our relationship with you changes and we need your consent to continue to communicate with you.

    Alternatively, you may have interacted with us over the years and joined our mailing lists.

    You can get in touch at any time to ask us to stop communicating with you or to let us know how you would like us to contact you – eg email, phone or post – by contacting us using the details at the end of this privacy policy.

  • How do we collect that information?

    Over time we may collect additional personal information about you. This will depend upon how actively you engage with us. You may give us personal information by email, when filling in forms on our website or on paper, in School, or at one of our events. You might share information when you interact with us on social media platforms or complete surveys.

  • What we do with that information?

    We may use it to:

    • Inform you of events, activities and reunions
    • Provide networking opportunities and enable you to help by supporting careers advice for pupils or extra-curricular activities
    • Provide news and updates about George Watson’s College, the George Watson’s Family Foundation and The Watsonian Club through School publications, such as Caritas, The Watsonian, and Recorder, and email newsletters.
    • Provide information on our fundraising activities, including occasional requests to consider giving financial support to George Watson’s Family Foundation, or to ask you to consider supporting us in other ways.
    • Ask you to fill in surveys for research purposes.
    • Track and monitor the effectiveness of our communications with you, including email tracking to understand if an email is opened and how many links are accessed.
    • We may include your name on a list of donors to the George Watson’s Family Foundation and you will be recognised on our Roll of Honour which is produced in print and online. You can opt to remain anonymous.
    • Analyse the personal information of our community, to assess the likelihood of an individual supporting the School in a number of ways e.g. careers advice or supporting the Foundation, using information in the public domain. Analysis helps us understand our donors and potential donors to ensure, where possible, that only relevant communications are sent to you. You may opt-out of research at any time by contacting us.
    • Process any gift you give, using publicly available sources to carry out due diligence on donors, if necessary, in line with money laundering regulations, and to claim Gift Aid.
    • Expand, document, archive, and preserve the legacy and history of the School for future generations.
  • Who do we share information with?

    We will never sell and will not share your personal information with any third-party other than as specified in this privacy policy.


    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.

    The Watsonian Club and Watsonian Benevolent Fund

    We support the worldwide network of Watsonian branches and sections. However, we do not share your details with any of these groups. We provide you with the contact in the group you are interested in to enable you to engage with them.

    Our Development Office staff process data on behalf of the Watsonian Benevolent Fund – a registered Scottish charity (SC001821). However, sometimes a question may be asked by the Benevolent Fund trustees regarding personal data the School holds on you (eg length of service or year you left School). If this was the case we would seek your consent to pass on the additional information to the trustees.

    Wealth Screening

    In addition to in-house research, we may use a third party to carry out wealth screening. This will involve gathering information from the public domain. Where we appoint an external party to undertake screening of information, any such arrangements will be subject to a formal agreement between the Development Office and that company, to protect the security of your data. You may opt-out of wealth screening at any time by contacting us.


    If you have completed a Gift Aid declaration we will share your information with HMRC to enable us to collect the tax on your donations.

  • How long do we keep your information?

    Clearly our aim is to maintain a life-long relationship with the Watson’s family. However, it is also important that you are reminded that we have your information and that the information is accurate and up-to-date. We will therefore contact you every 10 years if we have not heard from you to ensure our data is accurate.

    You can withdraw your consent to us collecting and/or storing your personal information at any time. If we do not receive your consent or if you withdraw your consent to us collecting your personal information please be aware that we may have to retain a minimal amount of personal data for historical and statistical purposes.

  • 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. We only store physical copies of documents containing your 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 1/Issue 1/ 22 May 2018

Privacy Policy