Australia’s national education evidence body

Privacy

Last updated 4 August 2021

The Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) is committed to handling your personal information appropriately. This Privacy policy explains how we handle your personal information by complying with the obligations set out in the Privacy Act 1988 and its Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

Definition of personal information

Personal information means any ‘information or an opinion about an identified individual, or an individual who is reasonably identifiable.’ Personal information could include an individual’s name, signature, address, phone number, date of birth, disability status, photographs, student identification number, school name and location, opinions and survey responses – as long as the individual is reasonably identifiable from the information.

Information does not have to contain an individual’s name to be personal information. Certain combinations of information may mean that a person is ‘reasonably identifiable’.

Who we are and what we do

We are the Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO) We were set up by the Australian Government and State and Territory Governments as an Australian ministerial-owned company, governed by an independent Board. One of our purposes is to generate and present high-quality evidence, which may involve conducting surveys and research in Australian schools. We will use this information to improve education outcomes for children and young people.

Why do we need to collect your personal information?

We collect personal information necessary to fulfil our functions or activities. There are different reasons why we may collect your information. For example, we might collect your information if you:

  • participate in a research project, consultation or focus group run by AERO (or your school-age child does)
  • collaborate on a research project with AERO  
  • make an enquiry or contact AERO
  • attend an event run by AERO
  • apply for a job at AERO
  • provide services to AERO or
  • connect with us via social media.

How we collect your personal information

We collect personal information in a non-intrusive, lawful and fair way. We may collect personal information:

  • in person
  • in writing (for example, if you correspond with us, or fill out a survey)
  • by audio-visual means (for example, if we record sound or video of an interview or focus group)
  • through our website and social networking services (for example, if you connect with us via LinkedIn or fill out an online survey via our website)
  • from a trusted third party (such as Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) or the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) or publicly available source.

Where possible, we will collect personal information from you directly. We will only collect information about you from someone else if it is unreasonable or not feasible to collect it directly.

How we collect student information

When conducting research, we collect information directly from students (such as via interviews or group activities) and also from trusted third parties (such as ACARA and ABS). If the student is under 15, we will provide information to parents and carers about the research before we collect any information. If we need consent, we will seek consent from parents and carers.

The kinds of personal information we collect

The kinds of personal information we collect will depend on the reason for our engagement with you.

Research 

Occasionally we conduct research by surveying, interviewing, holding focus groups or conducting classroom observations with educators, students and others in the education sector. The types of information we collect depends on the research project and what we are trying to find out. The information we might collect about students includes:

  • responses to survey questions or answers to interview/focus group questions
  • demographic information (such as age and gender)
  • their school or early childhood education and care (ECEC) service and other details about the school or service
  • educational outcomes such as NAPLAN or exam scores.

The information we might collect about educators (such as early childhood professionals, teachers, principals and other staff) includes:

  • responses to survey questions or answers to interview/focus group questions
  • demographic information
  • their service, school and other details about the service or school
  • information about their role, including experience, salary and job satisfaction

At times we collect ‘sensitive information’ about students or educators. This can include:

  • health information (such as disability status or information about wellbeing)
  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status
  • language background
  • photos or video recordings.

Sensitive information has some extra protections under the Privacy Act. We will always ask first, before we collect this information.

Where possible, we will not collect the names and addresses of research participants, unless it is necessary to meet the research objective. Regardless of whether we collect names or not, we protect the information and treat it appropriately.

All research undertaken at AERO is approved by either the Board or an appropriate Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).  All research is undertaken in accordance with the terms and conditions specified by the relevant HREC Committee, and the principles specified in the AERO Principles for the ethical and responsible conduct of research and the Australian Research Council’s Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research 2007 (the Australian Code). Participants enrolled in trials or research will be given further information about how their personal information will be handled by AERO.

For more information, see Types of personal information our education research files may include.

Engagement and contact

AERO maintains a database of people we have engaged with or people who have taken part in our research. Our database contains contact details and information about which research you participated in.

Procurement

AERO collects and holds personal information as part of our procurement processes. This includes the names and contact details of tenderers or contracting parties. We also collect financial information required for procurement purposes.

Job vacancy or recruitment

AERO collects personal information such as name, contact details, qualifications and resumes, as part of job applications and internships. We aim to delete the information if the application is not successful unless the applicant remains on a possible future employment list.

Newsletters

AERO collects your name and email address when you choose to sign up to receive our newsletter.

Visiting our website

Log information (browsing)

When you visit our website, the AERO server makes a record of your visit and logs information such as your client IP address, the time and date of your visit to the AERO website, the pages and documents you have accessed or viewed, previous sites visited, browser type and language, and one or more cookies that may uniquely identify your browser.

Cookies

The AERO website uses Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics, web analytics services provided by Google Inc. Google uses cookies, which are text files placed on your computer, to help us analyse how people use the AERO website. The cookie identifies your browser, not you personally. The information generated by the cookie about your use of the AERO website (including your IP address) will be transmitted to and stored by Google Inc. on servers in the United States.

Google Inc. uses this information for the purpose of evaluating your use of the AERO website, compiling reports on website activity for AERO and providing other services relating to website activity and internet usage. Google Inc. may also transfer this information to third parties where required to do so by law, or where such third parties process the information on Google Inc's behalf. Google Inc. will not associate your IP address with any other data held by Google Inc.

You may refuse the use of cookies by selecting the appropriate settings on your browser, however if you do this you may not be able to use the full functionality of the AERO website.

Social media

AERO uses social networking sites, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to engage with the public.

AERO may collect your personal information if you engage with us on these services. We will only use the information to help us achieve our organisation’s objectives.

Please note that these social networking sites will also handle your personal information for their own purposes in accordance with their own privacy policies.

Anonymity and use of pseudonym

Where possible, AERO will provide you the option of not identifying yourself, or to use a pseudonym.

How we use and disclose your personal information

We use and disclose your personal information only for the reason we collected it. AERO will not use or disclose it for another purpose (a secondary purpose) unless you consent or an Australian law requires or allows us to. When using data for research, we may aggregate it, analyse it, combine it with other datasets, or de-identify it. We carry out these activities to support the primary purpose we collected it for – to meet our research objectives and gain insights about Australian education. Further information about types of disclosures is given below.

Researchers

AERO discloses data to researchers in some cases. To access AERO data, researchers must apply to AERO. Data sharing with researchers must follow AERO's third party research policy and be for legitimate research projects in the public interest. Researchers must sign a data sharing agreement and agree to protect data.

Trusted third parties and service providers

AERO may disclose personal information to trusted third parties to assist us with activities including data collection, processing and analysis, information technology services and support, website maintenance/development, printing, record archiving, sending newsletters, market research and research and consultation services.

The information may also be shared with contractors and service providers engaged to help us conduct and share our research. When we engage such parties, we ensure that they are bound by privacy and security obligations.

Publications

We publish research and survey findings on the AERO website to benefit the education community. We may also publish articles, reports, papers, presentations, visualisations and other resources. Generally, research will be presented in such a way that individuals cannot be identified. On some occasions we may identify people and specific schools (for example, in case studies) but we will ask permission first.

Overseas disclosure

We do not routinely disclose personal information to overseas recipients. However, from time to time our researchers may be working overseas and require access to such information. AERO will only disclose personal information to overseas recipients where reasonable steps have been taken to ensure the recipient does not breach the Australian Privacy Principles.

AERO has engaged the third-party provider Mailchimp to send newsletters on its behalf. MailChimp stores data in servers located in the United States of America (USA).

AERO uses surveys that are created and distributed using Qualtrics, a US-based cloud service. Qualtrics is a US-based software company that uses Amazon Web Services for its data hosting services. As outlined in the Qualtrics Subprocessor list, most data will be hosted and processed in the USA, using a number of third-party service providers.

Keeping your personal information safe

AERO is a cloud-first data organisation. We do not host any information on our physical premises.

AERO protects the personal information that we hold against misuse, interference, loss, unauthorised access, modification or disclosure by using up-to-date electronic and physical security controls that comply with relevant industry standards and guidelines. Only authorised staff have access to your personal information and your information will only be used in accordance with this policy.

The information we collect for research, employment, recruitment, procurement and managing our organisation is stored in Australia in an enterprise-grade data centre with advanced security and compliance capabilities. This excludes the information collected via Qualtrics and Mailchimp (see above).

How long will we keep your personal information?

The duration that we keep your personal information depends on the purposes for which we have collected it, the nature of the information and regulatory requirements.

Accessing and correcting personal information we hold about you

If you would like to:

  • know what, if any, personal information AERO holds about you
  • correct any personal information AERO that holds about you or
  • opt out of receiving communications from AERO,

you may contact AERO using the contact information below.

If you request access to your personal information or ask us to correct or update information about you, we may need to verify your identity. In some cases, there may be a valid reason for us to deny your request to access or correct your information. If we do this, we will notify you of the reason within 30 working days.

Assurance reviews

We will undertake regular assurance to ensure we follow our Privacy policy and meet community expectations.

How to make a complaint

If you are unhappy with how we have handled your personal information, please contact us. You can make a complaint using the contact details below. To ensure that we fully understand the nature of your complaint and the outcome you are seeking, we prefer that you make your complaint in writing.

Contact us

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about privacy, please contact us by:

  • Post: Post Office Box 177 Carlton South, Victoria 3053, Australia
  • Email: [email protected]

We will do our best to address and resolve any issues you raise.

If you are not satisfied with our response, you may take your complaint to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

Changes to this privacy policy

AERO may make changes to this Privacy policy from time to time to take account of changes to AERO's operation and practices. 

Types of personal information our education research files may include

For school and student data

  • Student NAPLAN dataset ID
  • Student scholastic year
  • Student date of birth
  • Student gender
  • Student Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander status
  • Student background indicator (for example, Language Background Other than English [LBOTE status])
  • Disability status
  • School socioeconomic indicator (for example, Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage [ICSEA])
  • Student NAPLAN score
  • Student HSC score
  • School code or name
  • School sector (government, Catholic, Independent)
  • School type (for example, primary or secondary)
  • School location (for example, state, Australian Statistical Geography Standard [ASGS] remoteness)
  • Total school enrolments
  • Total enrolments in scholastic year

For educator/teacher/principal data

  • Role (for example, teacher, principal.)
  • Time in role
  • Time at service/school
  • Years of experience
  • Gender
  • School/service code or name
  • School/service location (for example, state, ASGS remoteness)
  • School/service size (estimate number of children/students/staff)
  • School sector (government, Catholic, Independent)
  • School type (for example, primary or secondary)
  • Type of service (for example, preschool, long day care)
  • Type of service (for example, private, community, government)
  • Job satisfaction
  • Wellbeing indicators
  • Salary range

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