Education sector faces a Data time bomb

A survey of nearly 1000 schools by IT Firm, RM, has found that teachers at nearly half of England's primary schools take pupils' data back home on a variety of devices, ranging from CDROMs to Memory sticks.

The report also pointed to the very low usage of encryption with only a handful of schools use encryption to protect their data from prying eyes and comes at a time when the UK government is being criticised for not taking data protection and handling seriously enough.

Although the amount of data potentially at risk at any time is several orders of magnitude smaller than the HM Revenue and Customs, the fact that there are thousands of teachers regularly taking home details of the most vulnerable individuals could attract the attention of predatory paedophiles.

RM says that the data carried by teachers who commute include names, addresses, date of birth, contact parents as well as behaviour and academic records.

A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families told the BBC that the schools have to make sure that personal information is protected.

The comments come a few days after MPs have proposed that reckless or repeated breaches of data security be severely punished.