A PERSONAL data breach at a Herefordshire secondary school is being investigated by police.

West Mercia Police is said to be taking the cyber attack “extremely seriously” after personal documents are believed to have been wiped from computer systems at John Kyrle High School and Sixth Form Centre in Ross-on-Wye.

In a letter sent home to parents and carers last week, headteacher Nigel Griffiths said it’s believed data had been deleted rather than stolen or shared.

“We were unable to access servers within the school which are used to store lots of different types of personal data about staff and pupils,” he said.

“In relation to students, this is wide-ranging and could include pupil records, examination data, SEN (special educational needs) and safeguarding data.

“The security issue which has arisen, further to initial investigations, is the system has been accessed without authorisation. Encryption has been applied which is currently preventing us from being able to access the server.”

Not being able to access computer systems has caused “considerable disruption” to the school on Ledbury Road, which has more than 800 pupils and rated ‘good’ in its last Ofsted inspection.

“There is currently, however, no evidence to suggest that any of the data stored on the server has been used, stolen or shared,” Mr Griffiths added.

“It is clear that this security incident is criminal in nature and investigations are already underway to identify the perpetrator and minimise any ongoing risk.”

The school is said to be supporting the police investigation fully and the UK’s data watchdog, the Information Commissioner’s Office, has been informed.

The school has also been in contact with Ofsted, Herefordshire Council and examination boards about the data breach.