St. German’s Road
30 January 2020
Thank you for your email of 17th January 2020 requesting information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. Please see the responses to each of your questions below:
1. The number of students who enrolled in 2019.
Data for 2019-20 will not be available until later in the year.
The requested data is exempt from disclosure in accordance with Section 21 of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. Section 21 exempts information which is already reasonably accessible through
other means. This information is reasonably accessible on our webpages, therefore we have provided
the appropriate links below.
http://www.exeter.ac.uk/about/facts/facts/ 2. A complete, anonymised list of the A-level results achieved by each of the students who
enrolled in 2019. Please break this down by student (e.g. Candidate 1 got A*AA, Candidate 2
got AAA, etc.)
3. A complete, anonymised list of the IB total points achieved by each of the students who
enrolled in 2019. Please break this down by student (e.g. Candidate 1 got 35 points out of 45,
Candidate 2 got 38 points out of 45, etc.)
For questions 2 and 3 please see below
The detailed data you have requested cannot be provided in full by either the University or UCAS due
to the low numbers of applicants. The data would need to be anonymised in line with Section 40 of
The FOIA and it would therefore not be possible to disclose the level of detail you have requested.
The redactions which would be required would also reduce the usefulness of the data for the
purposes of analysis.
Once we identified that the detailed dataset could not be disclosed under FOIA we then considered if
an anonymised dataset could be provided and if so, if any exemptions may apply. UCAS can provide
anonymised figures through the EXACT service and therefore the data is publicly available
elsewhere, albeit in an anonymised form. It is worth noting that the anonymisation methodologies may
vary across institutions, UCAS would be able to offer a consistent, comparable source for the data so
procuring the data from them may be more appropriate if you wish to compare institutions in any
Although EXACT is a chargeable service UCAS considers the pricing methodology of EXACT to be
reasonable, justifiable and transparent. Details can be accessed via their publication scheme on
ucas.com here https://www.ucas.com/about-us/policies/freedom-information/guide-information.
Following a discussion with representatives of UCAS we feel that disclosure of UCAS derived data by
higher education providers would prejudice their ability to sell application data via the EXACT service
to third parties. There is likely to be significant commercial harm to UCAS as a disclosure under FOI,
being essentially a disclosure to the world, will allow the release of information with commercial value
therefore severely weakening UCAS’ ability to continue to sell this level of data. Such sales assist in
the finance of their operations and the pursuit of their charitable aims; reduction in income from such
services can lead to consequences including loss of significant revenue, inability to offer the same
level of service to applicants or potentially impact on jobs within their media or wider operations. We
consider that the Section 43(2) argument is supported by the fact that the relevant data would be
accessible on the payment of a fee as per the details available at https://www.ucas.com/data-and-
Given the arguments set out above we would like to reiterate that the data requested is available in an
anonymised releasable format through UCAS on behalf of the sector. While there is a cost for
accessing bespoke datasets, the price of which is determined by UCAS in line with the organisation’s
charitable aims. We therefore uphold our decision that the data is reasonably available through that
route and is exempt from disclosure under sections 21 and 22 of the FOIA.
As part of our dialogue with UCAS on this matter we understand that data such as those requested
may be available to researchers at designated data bodies via the Office for National Statistics
Statistical Research Service. Given the nature of the data involved we feel that in cases such as
these the risks to data subjects in the case of public disclosure outweigh the public interest in
releasing these data under the framework of the FOIA. Instead we suggest that the data be sought in
a less public forum where necessary safeguards can be put in place to ensure that valid research can
be carried out without putting individual’s personal data at risk.
Pease note the data for 19/20 will be available via UCAS late January 2020.
This response has been prepared in accordance with a request received pursuant to the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. The supply of documents under FOI does not give the person who receives the
information an automatic right to re-use the documents without obtaining the consent of the copyright
holder. If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an
internal review. You must submit this to the Information Governance Office in writing within 40 days of
receipt of this notification. Please quote the reference number above.
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to
the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.
University of Exeter