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Record keeping and GDPR for early years practitioners

High quality record keeping is essential in early years settings safeguarding, particularly for children with a child protection plan and for children with special educational needs (SEN).

Practitioners have a duty to maintain a good, clear written record of all concerns and actions regarding safeguarding and child protection issues for the children in their care.

All such records, including referrals and subsequent notes should be kept securely and locked at all times.

The two key documents we use for record keeping are:

  • Front sheet - the first page of child's file - record and keep up to date with all child's essential details. Quick point of reference for practitioners needing to access information about the child.
  • Chronology sheet - use to record and track significant or key issues or events

You can download these forms from the documents on this page.

Our booklet, Guidance on Managing Records for Vulnerable Children in the Early Years (SEN, Safeguarding), provides full details of how to use the forms and record management and retention policy and procedures for:

  • Keeping records for children with SEN
  • Keeping child protection/safeguarding records

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and early years and childcare providers

The General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR) replaces the Data Protection Act 1998.

GDPR gives individuals greater control over their personal data and requires any organisation which holds data to publish a privacy notice explaining how they will use and protect that information.

The ICO Guide to the GDPR and helpline for small organisations assists early years and childcare providers to be compliant.

Our booklet, Herefordshire Records Management, provides guidance on the legal and recommended retention periods for records kept by early years providers.

If you are a member of a professional body, such as PLA, NDNA, Pacey, DCMA, Early Education, they will also have information, draft documents and training to support you.