Thomas Hardye School, located in Dorchester, experienced a cyber attack that resulted in the disruption of their IT systems and website. The incident was discovered before the start of Monday’s lessons after the school’s systems went down the previous night.
Despite the attack, the school has remained open, adapting teaching methods as necessary and ensuring exams proceed according to schedule.
However, the outage has impacted various functions reliant on the school server, including canteen payments, fingerprint-based pupil payments, electronic diaries, records, and messaging.
The school has chosen not to comply with the hackers’ ransom demands and instead has reported the incident to the appropriate authorities. In a message to parents, Headteacher Nick Rutherford assured them that every effort is being made to minimize disruption and data loss.
The school is actively collaborating with the Wessex Multi-Academy Trust, the IT team, and relevant third parties, such as the Department for Education, the National Cyber Security Centre, and the police, to restore functionality and normal operations as quickly as possible.
Despite the inconvenience caused to parents and carers in terms of school communications, the headteacher expressed apologies and provided alternative means for reporting student absence or raising concerns by utilizing the telephone absence line or contacting the school directly.
The school has also taken appropriate measures to comply with data protection regulations by reporting the data breach to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018/GDPR.