This is Section 26 of the Guide to the Law, as published May 2012.
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This section details the roles and responsibilities of governing bodies, head teachers, Local Authorities (LAs) and other educational establishments in providing information to each other, parents, pupils and the Secretary of State for Education. The main types of information covered include careers guidance, arrangements for pupils with special educational needs (SEN), the school prospectus, the Governors’ Annual Report to Parents, home-school agreements, pupils’ educational records, and pupil reports. Guidance is also provided for governors on the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Data Protection Act 1998 and sets out their responsibilities under these Acts.
1. School governors will receive information from the Local Authority (LA), the head teacher and the Department for Education (DfE). Some of this will be background information that they receive when they first join the governing body. Other material will be sent to the whole governing body from time to time to help it carry out its duties.
2. The governing body must provide certain information: some to parents or pupils; some to the LA; some to the head teacher; and some to the DfE and other government bodies such as Ofsted.
3. Schools should register directly with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to notify the school’s nominated ‘data controller’ under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). Advice can be obtained from the ICO.
4. Any reference to parents in this section routinely takes in all adults with parental responsibility, and acknowledges the rights, duties, powers, responsibilities and authority that parents have by law (as defined in the glossary of this Guide, Annex 1).
INFORMATION FROM THE GOVERNING BODY TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EDUCATION
5. The governing body must give the Secretary of State details of the results of national curriculum assessments, including the Phonics Screening Check, taken by pupils, for the preparation of the national analyses published by the DfE.
6. Each year the governing bodies of all maintained schools have to provide information to be used in the publication of the DfE’s secondary school and primary school Performance Tables. The DfE provides information on pupils included in calculation of school level performance measures, including test and examination results, via a secure website, asking schools to either confirm that the data is correct or to submit amendments. Amendment requests are reviewed and amendments which have been accepted are used in the recalculation of the Performance Tables, which can be found on the DfE website.
7. There are other statutory data provision requirements on schools to provide information to the Secretary of State when required to do so. These include the key individual level returns, the School Census and the School Workforce Census. Full details for statutory data returns can be found at
INFORMATION SUPPLIED TO THE GOVERNING BODY BY THE LOCAL AUTHORITY
8. When a governor is appointed, he or she should receive background information from the LA. This should include a copy of the instrument of government for the school, which sets out the composition of the governing body.
9. The LA supplies the governing body and the head teacher with financial information concerning the school.
INFORMATION FROM THE GOVERNING BODY TO THE LOCAL AUTHORITY
10. The governing body must give the LA any relevant information or reports in connection with the discharge of the governing body’s functions that the LA may require.
11. The governing body must make available to the LA details of the arrangements made for pupils with special educational needs (SEN). Governing bodies of all schools, including community and foundation special schools and Academies and Free Schools must on request, provide certain information to parents of pupils or prospective pupils, to LAs and to primary care trusts, including:
- basic information about the school’s SEN provision;
- information about the school’s policies for the assessment and provision for all pupils with SEN;
- information about the school’s staffing policies and partnership with bodies beyond the school.
12. Full details about the information to be published are contained in the Education (Special Educational Needs) (Information) (England) Regulations 1999. These Regulations are contained in the SEN Code of Practice.
13. The governing body must publish the information in a single document and make copies available free of charge to parents, the LA and the primary care trust. The LA may publish the information referred to above if the governing body agrees. Where there is such an agreement, the governing body must supply the LA with the information, which must be published without alteration.
INFORMATION FROM THE HEAD TEACHER TO THE GOVERNING BODY
14. The head teacher must give the governing body any information requested by it for the purpose of the exercise of any of its functions.
GOVERNING BODY’S RESPONSIBILITY TO TRANSLATE DOCUMENTS
15. Governing bodies should consider whether any documents that have to be published or made available for inspection at the school should be translated into other languages.
INFORMATION FROM THE GOVERNING BODY TO PARENTS
16. The School Information (England) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/3093) requires schools to publish information to help parents make informed choices when making school applications. The School Information (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1124) remove the requirement upon governing bodies of maintained schools to publish the annual prospectus and instead, a new obligation will be introduced requiring schools to publish specified information on a website. These changes will come into effect in September 2012. Schools may stop writing and publishing a prospectus for 2012 but retain the freedom to choose whether they wish to continue marketing themselves in this way. Academies and Free Schools are required to publish information through their funding agreements. The new model funding agreement will require Academies and Free Schools to publish the same information as maintained schools. Local authorities will continue to have a duty to ensure that parents receive the support they need to work through the admissions process. These proposed changes to the School Information Regulations will not change the duty for local authorities to produce a composite prospectus every year, or for schools to supply required information in a way that is easy to understand. More information is available at the DfE Reducing Bureaucracy website:
17. Following the passage of the Education Act 2011, the duty on schools to prepare and publish a School Profile was removed from February 2012 (by virtue of section 32 of the Act), so a School Profile is no longer required.
Governors’ Annual Report to Parents (Maintained Nursery Schools)
18. Since 1 September 2005 only maintained nursery schools have been required to produce a Governors’ Annual Report to Parents. No schools (including maintained nurseries) are required to hold an annual parents’ meeting but they may do so if they wish.
19. The Governors’ Annual Report to Parents should explain how the governing body has put into practice its plans for the school since the last report. The report, which must be given to parents, must include:
- the names and status (parent, staff, foundation governor or otherwise) of the members of the governing body, the date when their term of office ends (except for ex officio governors), and the name and address of the chair and clerk (the school address may be used);
- a financial statement giving a summary of the school budget, how the governing body spent the funds given in the past year, details of any gifts made to the school, and governors’ travelling, accommodation and meal expenses in the period covered by the report;
- information about school security;
- details regarding admitting disabled children to the school;
- details of the steps the school has taken to prevent disabled pupils being treated less favourably than other pupils;
- information about the facilities provided to help with access to the school for disabled pupils;
- the accessibility plan, covering future policies for increasing access by those with disabilities to the school;
- information about the implementation of the governing body’s policy on pupils with SEN and any changes to the policy during the last year;
- details of how teachers’ professional development has improved the quality of teaching and learning;
- the number of pupils on roll;
- the schools to which pupils transfer on leaving the nursery.
The governing body may want to include other information as well, such as details of the foundation stage curriculum, standards of behaviour and how to make complaints.
The Home School Agreement
20. Under Sections 110 and 111 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, the governing body of every maintained school and Academy, is required to have in place a written home-school agreement. The Department revised their statutory guidance on the issue in June 2011 which schools need to be mindful of when drafting their agreements. This guidance can be accessed at
21. The Education (Pupil Information) (England) Regulations 2005 (and subsequent amendments set out in the Education (Pupil Information) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2008) (Pupil Information Regulations) set out the arrangements whereby maintained schools are required to keep curricular and educational records for each pupil. The Regulations explain the requirement on schools to keep and update pupils’ curricular records; ensure that parents can have access to their children’s educational records; report at least annually on their pupils’ educational and curricular achievements; provide a report to school leavers; and ensure that key information from pupils’ records is transferred securely (e.g. using the department’s school 2 school system (DfE’s S2S) and common transfer file (CTF)) when pupils change schools.
The Curricular Record
22. The curricular record is defined in the Pupil Information Regulations as a formal record of a pupil’s academic achievements, their other skills, abilities and progress in school. The school’s governing body is responsible for ensuring a curricular record is kept for every pupil registered at the school and that this is updated at least once every school year.
The Educational Record
23. The statutory definition of a pupil’s educational record is set out in the Pupil Information Regulations. The pupil’s educational record will include their curricular record, any statement of special educational needs, Personal Education Plan (if appropriate) and any record of information relating to the child which has been processed by or on behalf of the governing body of, or a teacher at, the school; and comes from or was supplied on behalf of a teacher at the school, any employee of the local authority, the pupil or the pupil’s parent. An educational record does not include information which is processed by a teacher solely for the teacher’s own use.
The Personal Education Plan
24. A Personal Education Plan (PEP) is a document that is initiated by children’s social services when a child is taken into care. A PEP is maintained by the child’s school and provides a record of their educational needs, objectives, progress and achievements. A PEP will form part of a pupil’s educational record.
Annual pupil reports
25. The Pupil Information Regulations require head teachers to provide an annual written report on pupils’ educational achievements for every registered pupil at their school; and to make arrangements for the recipients of the report to discuss its contents with the pupil’s teacher if they so wish. The report must be provided to the pupil’s parents every school year, or if the pupil is 18 or over, to the pupil. Where a pupil is 18 or over, a head teacher can also provide the report to the pupil’s parent, as well as to the pupil, where the head teacher considers there are special circumstances which make it appropriate.
26. The regulations set out the minimum content of the report which can be provided in one or more such reports. Schools can, of course, provide more than the minimum information required.
27. The information required in the annual pupil report must be provided by the end of the summer term of the school year to which the report relates.
Minimum required content of annual pupil reports for pupils in Reception Year to Year 13
28. These minimum contents include:
- brief particulars of achievements in all subjects and other activities forming part of the school curriculum;
- comments on general progress;
- the attendance record (information about attendance, showing the total number of possible attendances and total number of unauthorised absences expressed as a percentage of the possible attendances) during the period to which the report relates, unless the child is in Reception Year, or Years 12 or 13 and is no longer of compulsory school age;
- the results of any national curriculum tests taken in the year where the pupil is in Key Stages 2–3;
- national curriculum teacher assessment levels and national curriculum test results, as appropriate, with explanatory material where the pupil is in the final year of Key Stages1–3;
- comparative information about the attainments of pupils in that year in the school and nationally where the pupil is in the final year of Key Stages 1–3;
- any public examination results by subject and grade, including any vocational qualification or credits towards any such qualification gained;
- arrangements for discussing the report with the pupil’s teacher if the recipient so wishes.
N.B. The annual Assessment and Reporting Arrangements booklets from the Standards and Testing Agency provide further information from Foundation Stage to the end of Key Stage 3, including the new year 1 phonics screening check.
29. Under the terms of the Data Protection Act, some information in pupil reports is exempt from disclosure. This includes:
- information concerning the pupil, but which also relates to another person who can be identified from that information;
- information which identifies another person as the source of that information;
unless, in either case;
- that other person has consented to the disclosure; or
- it is reasonable in all the circumstances to disclose the information without his or her consent; or
- that person is an employee of the LA or of the school.
So, for example, this would include information that would disclose the levels in any attainment target or subject of any other child.
The school leaver’s report
30. The Pupil Information Regulations require head teachers to provide a school leaver’s report (in place of the annual pupil report) where a pupil is no longer of compulsory school age and has left the school, or is proposing to do so. The school leaver’s report must be provided by no later than 30 September following the pupil’s last year at the school.
31. The head teacher’s report to school leavers must contain brief particulars of the pupil’s progress and achievements in subjects and activities forming part of the school curriculum, other than in relation to any public examination or vocational qualification.
Transfer of curricular records when a pupil is being considered for a transfer to another school or other institution
32. The Pupil Information Regulations set out the provision of information when a pupil is being considered for a place at another school (including an independent school) or to a further or higher education institution. The existing school’s governing body should transfer the pupil’s curricular records, free of charge, within 15 school days of the request being received in writing from the “responsible person” at that institution. The responsible person is the head teacher of an independent school, the governing body of any other school or the person responsible for the conduct of any institution of further or higher education. The record sent must not include results of any assessments of the pupil’s achievements.
Arrangements for secure transfer of educational records and the Common Transfer File
33. Pupil Information Regulations also require the transfer of educational records when a pupil ceases to be registered at one school and becomes registered at another (either maintained or independent) in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The governing body of the old school is responsible for securely transferring the pupil’s educational record and the common transfer file (CTF) to the new school.
34. The educational record and CTF must be sent to the governing body of the new school or, if the school is independent, to the head teacher. This must be done no later than 15 school days after the day when the pupil ceases to be registered at the old school. The timing is important as their new school has to be aware of, and be in a position to act on, information about previous performance. Where a pupil is registered at a new school but remains registered at the old school, regulations 3A and 3B require the old school must transfer the CTF and educational record within 15 days For full details of the key information that must be transferred, please see Schedule 2 in the Pupil Information Regulations and the additional CTF information supplied to school administrators in the Common Transfer File (CTF) Specification and Guidance available on the DfE website.
35. All such schools are expected to have the capability to securely transfer and receive the defined items of pupil data electronically. This must take place either:
- through the secure file transfer service known as “School to School” or “s2s” on the DfE website
- through an intranet provided for the purpose by or on behalf of a local authority (LA).
36. Although the basic model is that the old school will send the CTF to the new school by one of these methods, it may be possible for LAs to send the CTF and educational records to the new school where there are agreed local and secure arrangements to that effect and if the pupil has registered at the new school.
37. Where schools do not have the capability to transfer files electronically between them, either by means of the secure file transfer service provided by the Department (S2S) or through an intranet provided for the purpose by or on behalf of an LA, they may agree between themselves how to transfer the information securely. They will, however, need to ensure compliance with the Pupil Information Regulations (i.e. that all the required information is transferred) and the DPA 1998 (i.e. that they are transferred securely and appropriately).
Timing of Transfer of CTF and educational records
38. The regulations require that CTF and education records are sent to the receiving school no later than 15 school days after the day on which the pupil ceases to be registered at the old school.
39. As long as the Unique Pupil Number (UPN) is included, the new data will be added to the existing record and there will be no danger of a duplicate record being created for the pupil. A pupil record may already exist in the new school where an LA in England, through the coordinated admissions process, has sent an Admissions Transfer File to the maintained secondary schools (including Academies) in its area. This will have a subset of the data in a CTF for the pupils who have been offered and accepted a place in the secondary school.
Transferring educational records when a school doesn’t know the pupil’s new school
40. Where a pupil changes schools and a request for the transfer of educational records and CTF is not received, although not a legislative requirement, the old school should take reasonable steps to obtain the details of the pupil’s new school by attempting to contact the pupil’s parents by telephone, letter or email.
41. Where these approaches are unsuccessful and it would involve disproportionate effort to discover the pupil’s new school by other means, we suggest that schools should send the information to the special area of the S2S secure file transfer website to update the S2S database of unclaimed pupil records, although this is not a legislative requirement. Schools that do not receive CTFs for their new pupils can search this database through their LA representative.
Transferring educational records when he/she moves to a Further Education College
42. When a pupil transfers to a Further Education college, the college will be better able to assess and plan for the provision for that pupil when they have full information about the pupil’s prior needs and attainment. Although there is no legal requirement in the Pupil Information Regulations to transfer pupil information to the FE college, schools are encouraged to use a secure method of transfer to send the pupil’s CTF and educational record on receipt of a request from the FE college. The legal powers enabling such a transfer of information are section 537A(6) of the Education Act 1996 and the Education (Individual Pupil Information)( Prescribed Persons) (England) Regulations 2009. The school must, however, ensure that all other obligations under the DPA 1998 are complied with when transferring personal information to the FE college. In particular, schools may consider it necessary to seek pupil’s consent before transferring the information to ensure that the First Data Protection Principle of the DPA 1998 is met. Schools should seek their own legal advice on this issue.
The right of parents to have/see their child’s educational record
43. The Pupil Information Regulations require that a school’s governing body must ensure that a pupil’s educational record is made available for their parent to see, free of charge, within 15 school days of receipt of the parent’s written request. If a parent makes a written request for a copy of the record this too must be provided and within 15 school days. Governing bodies can charge a fee for the copy but if they do, it must not be more than the cost of supply. The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a suggested scale basis for such costs which is available on its website.
Material in the pupil’s educational record exempt from disclosure to parents
44. Following a request from a parent to access or receive a copy of their child’s educational record, the governing body should refer to the Pupil Information Regulations (5(4)) and not release information which could not lawfully be provided to the pupil himself under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) or in relation to which the pupil himself would have no right to access under that Act or by any order made under sections 30(2) or 38 (1) of the DPA 1998 Act.
Access to information about pupils with statements of SEN
45. Access to information about pupils with statements of SEN is governed by Regulation 24 of The Education (Special Educational Needs) (England) (Consolidation) Regulations 2001 and the SEN Code of Practice. Where a child has a statement of SEN, that statement forms part of the child’s educational record. The parent must be sent a copy of the statement.
Retention of pupil educational records
46. Schools, as independent public bodies, are directly responsible under the DPA 1998 for the collation, retention, storage and security of all information they produce and hold. This will include educational records, head teacher’s reports and any other personal information of individuals – pupils, staff and parents. As such, many schools should consult their legal advisors and develop a data retention policy in accordance with the DPA 1998.
DATA PROTECTION ACT 1998
47. Schools are directly responsible for ensuring that their processing of personal information complies with the terms of the Data Protection Act (DPA). This applies to personal information belonging to pupils held both in educational records as well as located elsewhere and extends to all other personal information held by the school which identifies living individuals (whether they be pupils, staff or parents).
48. Schools should consult their legal advisers as necessary and draw up suitable data protection policies that have regard for the requirements of the DPA and, as data controllers, should register directly with the ICO as failing to do so is a criminal offence.
49. Where a pupil, parent or member of staff considers the DPA has been breached by a school, they may raise a complaint directly with the ICO.
Privacy Notices (formally known as Fair Processing Notices)
50. Under the terms of the DPA, a school is required to provide an oral or written statement, known as a privacy notice, to pupils, parents and staff whenever it plans to collect information which will identify them. The primary aim of this notice is to ensure that any processing of this personal information remains fair by informing the individual(s) about;
- the nature of the personal information that will be/is being collected by the school;
- why it is being collected;
- how it is going to be/being collected; and
- how it will/might be used and who (if anyone), it will/might be shared with
This notice should also set out how an individual can request access to their personal information.
Right to request personal information
51. Both manual and computerised personal information held by schools is subject to the DPA. This means that a person who submits a written request (i.e. a ‘subject access request’) to a school to see or receive copies of their personal information, must be allowed to have access to this personal information within 40 calendar days.
52. The DPA does not specify an age at which a child can independently make a request for access to their personal information but those responsible for providing a response to a pupil should take into account whether the pupil wants a parent (or someone with parental responsibility) to be involved.
53. As a general guide, the ICO suggests that a child of 12 or older is expected to be mature enough to understand the request they are making but that, as a child may be sufficiently mature enough at an earlier age (or lack sufficient maturity until a later age), schools should consider requests from pupils on a case-by-case basis.
54. Under a pupil’s own data protection rights, parents will only be able to see information about their child if that child is unable to act on his/her own behalf or the child gives their consent for their parent to have access to their personal information.
55. When a school receives a subject access request from a pupil (or parent/person acting on their behalf) made under the DPA requesting access to personal information held in their educational record, the school must not disclose any information which cannot be disclosed under that Act. The maximum fee which can be requested for responding to a subject access request is £10, although a school may not want to charge a fee at all.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000
56. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), it is a legal right for any person to ask a school for access to information that it holds. The aim of the FOIA is to promote a culture of openness and accountability among public sector bodies, and therefore improve public understanding of how public authorities (which include the governing bodies of maintained schools) carry out their duties, why they make the decisions they do and how they spend public money.
57. The FOIA is overseen by the ICO, whose freedom of information (FOI) duties are to:
- promote good practice;
- give advice and guidance;
- enforce compliance and investigate complaints;
- report to Parliament on compliance;
- approve publication schemes;
- publicise the Act.
Both the ICO and the Ministry of Justice, formerly the Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA), have produced guidance on the FOIA, including two Codes of Practice providing guidance to public authorities generally on the implementation of the Act and on records management.
58. The Lord Chancellor’s Code of Practice on the Discharge of Functions of Public Authorities under Part 1 of the FOI Act (Section 45) provides guidance to public authorities on good practice when handling requests for information. For more information visit the Ministry of Justice website.
59. The ICO also has responsibility for the DPA 1998 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs). The DPA 1998 enables individuals to access information about themselves. The EIRs enable people to access environmental information.
60. In principle, the FOIA enables people to access all information, including the reasoning behind decisions and policies, which do not fall under the DPA or EIRs. Although FOI presumes openness, it recognises the need to protect sensitive information in certain circumstances and provides for exemptions.
61. Any request for information made in writing to a school and which is considered non-routine is a request under the FOIA, ElRs, the DPA or a combination of any of them.
Right to request information
62. Since 1 January 2005 there has been a legal right for any person to make a request to a school for access to information held by that school. Schools are under a duty to provide advice and assistance to anyone requesting information and must respond to the enquiry promptly, and in any event, within 20 working days of receipt (not including school holidays). See the Freedom of Information (Time for Compliance with Request) Regulations 2004 which exclude days that are not school days from the 20 working day period.
63. Enquirers do not have to say why they want the information, and the request does not have to mention the FOIA. The request must be in writing, which includes fax or email. All requests for information that are non-routine and not covered by the DPA 1998 (i.e. from individuals to see their own personal information) or EIRs are covered by the FOIA.
64. The enquirer is entitled to be told whether the school holds the information (this is known as the duty to confirm or deny), and if so, to have access to it. Access can include providing extracts of a document or a summary of the information sought, or access to the original document. However, the Act recognises the need to preserve confidentiality of sensitive information in some circumstances and sets out a number of exemptions.
65. There are four reasons for not complying with a valid request for information under FOI. These include situations where:
- the information is not held;
- the £450 cost threshold is reached;
the request is considered vexatious or repeated;
- one or more of the exemptions apply (see below).
66. The FOIA provides a series of exemptions. Some of the exemptions are absolute and some are qualified, in that they can be overridden by the public interest test. More information on these can be found in the detailed guidance issued by the DfE, available on the ICO website.
67. Many of the exemptions are intended to protect sensitive or confidential information. However, some of the exemptions are there simply to avoid the legal position where two pieces of law cover the same information requested or where the information is already available by some other means. The exemptions most likely to be used by schools include:
- information accessible by other means, for example information available from a publication scheme or information that other legislation requires a school to give;
- a request for personal information of a third party;
- environmental information: EIR enquiries are those that relate to: air; water; land; natural sites; built environment; flora and fauna; health; and any decisions and activities affecting any of these. These could therefore include enquiries about recycling, phone masts, school playing fields, car parking and so on. For more guidance on EIRs, visit the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs DEFRA website.
68. Expressions of dissatisfaction should be handled through the school’s existing complaints procedure. After these are exhausted, the case can be raised with the ICO, which has a duty to investigate complaints.
What action does the governing body need to take?
69. School governing bodies are responsible for ensuring a school complies with the FOIA. The legal presumption of openness makes it more important than ever that a school decides its policies and conducts its daytoday operations on a basis that stands up to public scrutiny.
70. It should be noted that wilfully concealing, damaging or destroying information in order to avoid answering an enquiry is an offence and so a governing body, or any person who is employed by, or is an officer of, or is subject to the direction of the governing body (as the public authority) may be at risk of criminal proceedings where such unlawful concealment, damage or destruction occurs. Therefore it is important that no action is taken to delete or amend records that are subject to a request for information.
71. Since requests for information can be directed to the school through anyone who works there, the governing body should ensure all members of staff are aware of the FOIA and how the school handles requests for information. Governing bodies may choose to charge a fee, which must be calculated according to the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limits and Fees) Regulations 2004. Guidance on charging can be found on the ICO website.
72. The governing body should:
- agree the FOI publication scheme and access policy if it has not already done so. The policy will need to set out how the school proposes to deal with requests and state that all staff should be aware of the process;
- agree a charging policy for complying with requests. The DfE recommends that schools respond to straightforward requests for free, and charge where the costs are significant;
- delegate to the head teacher the daytoday responsibility for FOI policy and the provision of advice, guidance, publicity and interpretation of the school’s policy;
consider designating an individual with responsibility for FOI to provide a single point of reference; coordinate FOIA and related policies and procedures; take a view on possibly sensitive areas; and consider what information and training staff may need;
- consider arrangements for overseeing access to information and delegation to the appropriate governing body committee;
- ensure that a well organised records management and information system exists in order to comply with requests within 20 days, excluding school holidays;
- keep a record of refusals and reasons for refusals as well as appeals, allowing the governing body to review its access policy on an annual basis;
- consider publishing a disclosure log on the school’s website, setting out responses to requests that have been made to which the school can refer in responding to future requests for the same information.
73. Publishing a disclosure log is considered good practice and, over time, can be useful in steering the school’s publication strategy by highlighting areas of interest that the school may wish to consider for future publication. However, it is recognised that for small schools with few requests under the FOIA, a disclosure log may be inappropriate.
74. On receipt of a request for information the school should:
- decide whether the request falls under the DPA, EIRs or the FOIA;
- decide whether the school holds the information or whether it should be transferred to another body;
- provide the information if it has already been made public;
- inform the enquirer if the information is not held;
- consider whether a third party’s interests might be affected by disclosure, and if so consult them;
- consider whether any exemptions apply and whether they are absolute or qualified;
- carry out a public-interest test to decide if applying the qualified exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information;
- ensure that the personal information is removed as set out in the guidance for schools if a request is made for a document that contains exempt personal information;
- decide whether the estimated cost of complying with the request will exceed the appropriate limit;
- consider whether the request is vexatious or repeated.
WHAT LEGISLATION DOES THIS REFER TO?
The Local Authority Targets (Well-Being of Young Children) Regulations 2007: SI 2007/1415
The Local Authority Targets (Well-Being of Young Children)(Amendment) Regulations 2008: SI 2008/1437
Section 576 of the Education Act 1996
The Education Act 1996 section 537A(6): The Education (Provision of Information About Young Children) (England) Regulations 2007
The Education Act 2002: Section 30
Education (School Curriculum and Related Information) Regulations: SI 1989/954 (as amended by SI 1989/1136, 1990/1109 and 1992/1089)
Education (Further Education Institutions Information) (England) Regulations: SI 1995/2065 (as amended by SI 1997/2173 and 1998/2220)
The School Information (England) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/3093)
Education (School Performance Information) (England) Regulations: SI 2001/3446 (as amended by SI 2002/2017, 2003/2135, 2004/1377 and 2004/2141)
The Education Act 2011: Section 32
FURTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Guidance on home-school agreements can be found at the Home-school agreements area of the DfE: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/parents/involvement/hsa
General information and guidance on data protection is available via the ICO website at:
; and through legal guidance which can be ordered free of charge from the ICO at:
Information on how to notify as a data controller with the ICO is available on the ICO website at:
Information on subject access requests made under the Data Protection Act 1998 can be found on the ICO website at:
Information about privacy notices is available on the ICO website at:
Suggested text and guidance for the issuing of privacy notices by schools can be found on the DfE website at:
Information and downloads of the Standard and Testing Agency’s Assessment and Reporting Arrangement booklets for Early Year’s Foundation Stage, Key Stages 1 (including Year 1 phonics screening check), 2, and 3 are available on DfE’s website:
Guidance for school administrators on securely transferring educational records and the CTF is available at: Common File Transfer File Specification and Guidance document
The Ministry of Justice leads on freedom of information. The Ministry of Justice website includes the Code of Practice on the Discharge of Functions of Public Authorities and the Code of Practice on the Management of Records.