Nativity play photos given green light

Parents are not breaking data protection rules if they take photographs of children taking part in school concerts or nativity plays, the Information Commissioner said last night.

Some schools have barred parents from taking pictures of school nativity plays because of fears they would be in breach of the Data Protection Act but last night Information Commissioner Christopher Graham said this should not happen.

He said: "Having a child perform at a school play or a festive concert is a very proud moment for parents and is understandably a memory that many want to capture on camera. It is disappointing to hear that the myth that such photos are forbidden by the Data Protection Act still prevails in some schools.

"A commonsense approach is needed – clearly, photographs simply taken for a family album are exempt from data protection laws. Armed with our guidance, parents should feel free to snap away this Christmas and stand ready to challenge any schools or councils that say, 'Bah, Humbug' to a bit of festive fun."

The Information Commissioner's office has produced guidance to dispel any confusion and explain parents' rights under the act. The guidance also provides advice for local education authorities and those working within schools.

More information can be found by visiting the website www.ico.gov.uk which gives more help on the subject.The act does apply when photographs of children are taken for official use by a school or college such as for issuing identification passes.