The purpose of this policy is to ensure the collection and use of photographs, films and recordings of staff and other adults in schools complies with relevant legislation and Department policy.


  • Photographs, films and other recordings of individuals are considered personal information, and as such are protected by privacy law in the same way as other personal information. They may also be protected by copyright law.
  • This policy applies to photographing, filming and recording staff and other adults. For policy and guidance on photographing, filming and recording students, refer to Photographing, Filming and Recording Students.


Schools must:

  • advise staff and other adults when photographs, films or other recordings of them are to be taken and how they will be stored and used
  • consider what kind of consent is appropriate for the specific circumstance
  • provide staff and other adults with the choice to withhold or withdraw consent for them to be photographed or filmed in certain circumstances if they do not wish to be filmed. This excludes photographing and filming for security purposes such as CCTV and ID cards
  • ensure that when engaging a professional photographer, a confidentiality clause relating to appropriate information handling is included in the agreement or contract between the photographer and school

The type of consent required from staff and other adults to collect and use photographs, films or other recordings of them will depend on the specific circumstances. However, as a general rule, if the photographs, film or recording will be used for:

  • internal purposes, for example, a staff presentation, then verbal consent is sufficient
  • external purposes, for example, news media, a publication or on a public website, written consent is recommended

The below table sets out common occasions and the applicable consent requirements for each.

Purpose Consent
Security pass or core school function Not required.
CCTV Not required.

Official school photographs (class and staff)

Verbal consent is recommended.

Staff must be made aware of the purpose of the photos and who they will be shared with.

Media, for example, news media, public website, social media and publications

Written consent is recommended.

Use the Template Consent Form — Specific Event and Media — Adult (Word)External Link .

Member of Parliament visiting school

Verbal consent is recommended.

For further information on Members of Parliament visiting schools, refer to Members of Parliament and Candidates Visiting Schools.

Crowd or event setting

Crowd shots that do not feature any particular individual do not need a signed consent from each person. Opt-out consent can be used instead, for example:

  • add information about intended photography and, or filming to event invitations and newsletter articles
  • have posters up at entrances that advise that a photographer is present and that ask anyone who does not wish to be photographer to make themselves known
Research Consent for taking and publishing photographs, film or recordings should be defined and included in the written consent for participating in the research.
Commemorative purposes

A school may wish to use photographs for commemorative purposes, such as the school’s 50th anniversary book. However, it may not always be possible to seek retrospective consent for photographs already held by the school.

These photographs may not be subject to privacy requirements if they were taken before 2000, but ethical considerations will still apply.

These photographs may be used for commemorative purposes without seeking retrospective consent if the risks have been considered and decisions are documented as part of the commemorative project documentation.

Assess the risk and ethical nature of using photographs by reviewing the photos and asking the following questions:

  • Does the photograph or video identify an individual?
  • Is it practical to alter the photograph or video to de‐identify subjects?
  • Is the photograph or video of a sensitive nature? For example, an unpleasant event or someone in a swimsuit
  • Does the photograph or video indicate a health condition?
  • Are there cultural considerations?
  • Is the location or context sensitive?
  • Is the photograph of old documents? Copies of letters or awards may include personal information such as names, signatures, home addresses, and other contact details. Is removal of the information practical?

School leadership should be informed of any planned commemorative activities and you can also seek advice from the Privacy team.

When written consent is obtained, store the signed form with the photograph, film or recording.

All other occasions

For other occasions not captured by the above categories, where staff and other adults might be photographed or filmed, contact the Privacy team for advice.

If a photograph or video has been taken by someone outside the school, copyright permission may need to be gained to establish how that image or footage is used in publications, on websites or social media.

For guidance, refer to Intellectual Property and Copyright.


A static image in print or digital format.

A moving image which may also include sound recordings.

Audio recording.

Video surveillance.

Relevant legislation

Department policy on the collection and use of photographs, films and recordings of staff and other adults in schools

Reviewed 22 February 2021

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools


Privacy Team, Knowledge, Privacy and Records Branch

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