Results day is always a time of heightened emotion for both students and staff alike. Weeks of anticipation finally culminate in joy and, sometimes, disappointment. People are more likely to make mistakes when emotions are in play – they can distract us, cloud our thoughts, and cause us to, essentially, act unthinkingly.
This incident appears to be a genuine mistake – but like all email data loss incidents, it’s difficult to undo once it’s been done. While you can recall an email in Outlook under specific circumstances, in many cases it’s simply not possible. Recipients receive is a notification saying the sender would like to recall the message, but it isn’t removed from their inbox. This is why the parents still have access to the original email and need to fully delete it from their mailboxes. It’s positive that the school has quickly reported the incident to their data protection officer and highlighted their commitment to future improvement. The steps they take need to ensure staff are protected from human error at all times, whether that’s on results day or any other day, and mistakes are detected and fixed before an email is sent.