Basis for Advice that Children Should Use Face Coverings in Classrooms

CHP Gillow made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

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The request was refused by Department for Education.

Dear Department for Education,

Basis for Request

The DfE’s ‘advice’ is that secondary school children should wear face coverings in classrooms is controversial in the absence of compelling evidence. Though the advice to secondary school children to wear face coverings in classrooms (the ‘measure’) is an experiment/trial being conducted for a limited period (between 8 March and the end of the Spring term) it is nevertheless important to understand the decision-making process.

Information Sought

1. Please provide copies of any communications (including letters, emails and phone calls) within the Department, or between the Department and other bodies, about the advice that children should use face coverings in classrooms with effect from 8 March 2021 including:

a. Internal Departmental communications, including papers

b. Communications, between the Department and other Government entities/advisers, including papers/advice.

2. Please provide the Department’s Risk Assessment, or equivalent analysis, for implementing this experiment/trial on face masks in classrooms. Please include assessments/advice on potential adverse effects of wearing face coverings in classrooms.

3. Please provide the decision criteria to be used for assessing the effectiveness of the use of face masks in classrooms.

4. Please provide any communications (including letters, emails and phone calls) within the Department, or between the Department and other bodies, on the basis for any decision to extend the use of face coverings in classrooms beyond Easter 2021

Yours faithfully,

Charles Gillow

MINISTERS, Department for Education

1 Attachment

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References

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Mr Gillow,

Thank you for your request for information which was received on 28 March
2021. You asked the following:

 1. Please provide copies of any communications (including letters, emails
and phone calls) within the Department, or between the Department and
other bodies, about the advice that children should use face coverings
in classrooms with effect from 8 March 2021 including:

 

 1. Internal Departmental communications, including papers.
 2. Communications between Department and other Government
entities/advisers, including papers/advice.

 

 2. Please provide the Department’s Risk Assessment, or equivalent
analysis, for implementing this experiment/trial on face masks in
classrooms. Please include assessments/advice on potential adverse
effects of wearing face coverings in classrooms.

 

 3. Please provide the decision criteria to be used for assessing the
effectiveness of the use of face masks in classrooms.

 

 4. Please provide any communications (including letters, emails and phone
calls) within the Department, or between the Department and other
bodies, on the basis for any decision to extend the use of face
coverings in classrooms beyond Easter 2021.

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(“the Act”).

The Department holds the information you have requested. However, the
Department estimates that the cost of complying with your request would
exceed the cost threshold applicable to central Government. This is £600
and represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3½ working days
locating, retrieving and extracting the information.
Under section 12 of the Act the Department is therefore not obliged to
comply with your request and will not be processing it further.
However, if you were to make a new request for a narrower category of
information or limit the scope of your request, the Department may be able
to comply with your request within the cost limit, although I cannot
guarantee that this will be the case.
When conducting a search for the information requested, point 1 and point
4 of your request generated a significant number of returns. We estimated
that the process of extracting the information from these returns would
exceed the cost threshold.
 
Within point 1 and point 4 of your request, you stated the following:
 

 1. Please provide copies of any communications (including letters, emails
and phone calls) within the Department, or between the Department and
other bodies, about the advice that children should use face coverings
in classrooms with effect from 8 March 2021 including:

 

 1. Internal Departmental communications, including papers.
 2. Communications between Department and other Government
entities/advisers, including papers/advice.

 4. Please provide any communications (including letters, emails and phone
calls) within the Department, or between the Department and other
bodies, on the basis for any decision to extend the use of face
coverings in classrooms beyond Easter 2021.

You may wish to consider narrowing point 1 and point 4 of your request. It
may help if I outline some possible ways of narrowing your request;

* Specify a particular timescale i.e. one or two specific weeks
* Limit the personnel in scope of the request, i.e. just ministers or
Director level and below
* Limit the type of correspondence, i.e. briefing documents or
communications with ministers

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact the Department.
Please remember to quote the reference number 2021-0020433 in any future
communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint in writing to the Department within two calendar months
of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an
independent review panel, which were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Yours sincerely,

Infection, Prevention and Control Team
Coronavirus Response Unit
Department for Education
 

Paul Lewis left an annotation ()

Department of Education are quite obviously evil, and that is why they want children muzzled.

CHP Gillow left an annotation ()

This request having been refused (on the basis that the work involved would be excessive) I have spilt the request into several new requests....

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/b...

While this process may have caused significant delay but hopefully I will, eventually, receive the information I seek.