INFORMATION COMPLIANCE TEAM
University Offices, Wellington Square, Oxford OX1 2JD
11 June 2020
Reply to request for information under the Freedom of Information Act
Email of 13 May 2020
I would like to make a request of the following information for the cycle for 2019 entry to
1. The number of direct applications to each college.
2. The average BMAT scores for each applicant to each college, and whether or not they
received an offer, from their chosen college or allocated college.
3. The average number of A*s, As, Bs and Cs at GCSE for each college.
4. The A level subjects and grades for offer holders per college.
Dear N. Vajrala,
I write in reply to your email requesting the above information, which is attached.
The University publishes this information on the website at the following webpage:
The website has data for the previous UCAS cycles. It will be updated to include data for the 2019 UCAS
cycle, and therefore we are withholding the equivalent information for 2019 under section 22 of the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Section 22 provides that information is exempt from disclosure where
there is an intention on the part of the public authority or another body to publish it at a future date, and
where it is reasonable in all the circumstances to maintain the publication schedule.
The information requested will be published on the University website later this summer. In our view, this is
not an excessive delay, and we would consider it to be reasonable therefore to withhold the information
until its publication.
The exemption in section 22 is a qualified exemption that would require the University to weigh the public
interest in disclosing the information requested, which is presumed from FOIA, against the public interest in
maintaining the exemption.
We recognise that there is a public interest in the disclosure of information relating to undergraduate
admissions. Immediate disclosure of the information would contribute to that interest. However, the question
to be decided is whether the public interest will be better served by disclosing the information now, or later,
in accordance with the publication schedule. Our view is that the public interest would be better served by
adhering to the publication schedule. Disclosing the information prematurely, and in isolation from other
information relating to the 2019 cycle that would be published at the same time, would undermine the purpose
of the University’s publication scheme. This scheme provides for the publication of a wide range of information
relating to each admissions cycle, which presents a more complete and accurate picture than the piecemeal
disclosure of separate items of admissions data.
Items 2 to 5
Please find the information requested in the attached spreadsheet.
To reduce the risk of individuals being identified, we have presented the A level subjects and A level grades
of successful applicants as aggregated data only.
In taking this measure, we are applying the exemption in section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA). Section 40(2) provides an exemption from disclosure for information that is the personal data of an
individual other than the requester, where disclosure would breach any of the data protection principles in
Article 5 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). We consider that disclosure of the information
requested in the exact form requested would breach the first data protection principle, which requires that
personal data is processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner. Disclosure would be unfair to the
individuals concerned, as it would be contrary to their reasonable and legitimate expectations. They would
not reasonably expect that information about their application to Oxford would be made public under the
FOIA without their consent.
For the disclosure of personal data to be lawful, it must have a lawful basis under Article 6 of the GDPR.
There are six possible lawful bases in Article 6; we do not consider that any of them would be satisfied in
respect of the disclosure.
The exemption in section 40(2) is an absolute exemption and is not subject to the public interest test
provided for in section 2(2)(b) of the FOIA. To the extent that the public interest is relevant in this case, the
University considers it is satisfied by the attached information.
If you are dissatisfied with this reply, you may ask the University to review it by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A request for internal review should be submitted no later than 40 working days from the date of this letter.
THE INFORMATION COMMISSIONER
If, after the internal review, you are still dissatisfied, you have the right under FOIA to apply to the Information
Commissioner for a decision as to whether your request has been dealt with in accordance with the FOIA. You
can do this online using the Information Commissioner’s complaints portal.
Information Compliance Team