0300 123 1231
0161 618 8524
Bristol BS1 6EH
20 December 2019
Ms Rebecca Woodward
Dear Ms Woodward
Your request for information
Thank you for your emails of 7, 8 and 9 December 2019 in which you requested
information connected with Steiner schools, as set out in Annex A at the end of this
The Freedom of Information Act
We have dealt with your request in accordance with the Freedom of Information
(FOI) Act 2000. Normally, we should confirm whether we hold information of the
description set out in your request. We are then under a duty to provide you with all
the information we hold which falls within the scope of your request, provided it is
not ‘exempt’ information.
However, in this instance, we consider that for Ofsted to comply with your request
would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’ set out in the Act.
Under section 12(1)1 of the FOI Act a public authority, such as Ofsted, is not obliged
to comply with a request if the cost of doing so would exceed the ‘appropriate limit’.
The limit set for government departments is £600 per request or set of related
requests. This figure equates to one staff member working for 24 hours at the hourly
rate of £25.
Regulation 4(3)2 of the Fees Regulations states that a public authority can only take
into account the costs it reasonably expects to incur in carrying out the following
permitted activities in complying with the request:
▪ determining whether the information is held;
▪ locating the information, or a document containing it;
▪ retrieving the information, or a document containing it; and
▪ extracting the information from a document containing it.
When a public authority is estimating whether the appropriate limit is likely to be
exceeded, it can include the costs of complying with two or more requests if the
conditions laid out in regulation 53 of the Fees Regulations can be satisfied. Those
conditions require the requests to be:
▪ made by one person, or by different persons who appear to the public
authority to be acting in concert or in pursuance of a campaign;
▪ made for the same or similar information; and
▪ received by the public authority within any period of 60 consecutive working
In this case you have made six FOI requests within three days, all related to Ofsted’s
inspections of Steiner schools. We have been looking into the information requested
across all six of your requests and they consist of a wide range of information which
would involve extensive searches across various teams within Ofsted. The
correspondence and documentation captured by all of your requests is very broad
and will cover a wide range of our work. As it currently stands, your request will
involve searching our dealings with, and about, a number of schools, other public
authorities, and inspection materials.
To locate all the information to answer your request would require us to approach a
wide variety individuals and teams across Ofsted. Each team or individual, as
appropriate, would need to manually search a large number of files and email
accounts. Conducting a manual search of such a large volume of records and email
accounts, assessing the results of those searches and extracting information within
the scope of your request would take more than 24 hours of staff time.
On this basis, we are unable to deal with your requests in their current form.
Where a public authority, such as Ofsted, is using section 12, it is obliged under
section 16 of the Act to provide advice and assistance to the individual making the
request, where possible. We have considered whether there is an easy way for you
to bring your requests within the appropriate limit, for example by removing one part
of your request, or making a small change.
On this occasion, we cannot identify a clear way in which you could narrow your
requests to bring them within the cost limit, as we do not know the specific focus of
your interest, aside from Steiner education generally. Depending on the information
you are most interested in, it may be that you could request a narrower category of
information, reduce the date range, or limit the scope of your requests in some other
way. We can, however, explain that it is the correspondence aspects of your
requests which require the broadest searches and are therefore the most time
consuming in their current form.
Although we cannot respond to your requests in their current form, you may of
course submit a revised request, taking into account the advice given above. On
receipt of such a request, we will consider whether we can locate the information
without exceeding the appropriate limit, and advise you accordingly.
You may find the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) guidance on wording a
FOI request4 of use in formulating your new request.
Please note that revising your request to fall within the limit does not guarantee
disclosure of the requested information. On receipt of a new request, we will
consider what information can be disclosed to the public, and whether any
exemptions apply to that information.
I understand that this decision may be disappointing to you; however, I trust that
this letter clearly explains our position. If you wish to submit a refined request, we
would be happy to take this forward for you.
Should you be dissatisfied with the handling of your request, details of the steps
available to you can be found in Annex B below.
Information Access Officer
Information Rights and Access Team
I would like to see the letters between the education minister (Damien hinds /
Gavin Williamson) and Amanda Speilman regarding Kings Langley / Langley
Hill between January 2018 and November 2019. Was 117631 ? proposed
147033 E of E Indy school
I would also like to see Damien Hinds letter of the 15 November 2018 (to
Amanda Speilman) and the Amanda Speilman letter it was in response to. –
I would also like to see correspondence between Amanda Speilman and Nick
Gibb regarding Steiner Schools between August 2017 and November 2019.
I would to see the correspondence between Steiner Academy Bristol and
Ofsted between August 2018 and August 2019. URN 141108
I would like to see the correspondence between RSC SW and Ofsted between
September 2018 and November 2019 regarding Steiner Academy Bristol.
I would like to see the correspondence between Ofsted and Hannah
Woodhouse between October 2018 and November 2019.
Please could i see the written evidence bases and notes from the two Ofsted
Inspection visits in February 2014 and November 2018 to Steiner Academy
As an interested party, I would like to see all documents (including hand-
written notes) relating to the recent inspection of Steiner Academy Bristol
I would also like details of any communications with the Department for
Education relating to Steiner academies in England.
I would like to see the disclosure order response (580 pages) you sent
regarding the Ofsted Inspection of Steiner Academy Bristol on the 13th march
2019 to the governors of the academy’s legal team.
Was Carolyn Dickinson involved with inspections of Steiner schools ? Whether
that be in advisory role in the office or as an actual inspector ?
if yes, which ones and when please ?
If you are dissatisfied with our response or the handling of your request, you may
request a formal internal review. To do this, please write to the following address,
setting out which areas of the response you are unhappy with:
Email: Richard McGowan at firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to:
Head of Information Rights and Correspondence
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you also have the
right to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision as to whether we have
complied with our obligations under the FOI Act with respect to your request. The
Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
or: Customer Contact
Information Commissioner's Office