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CORONAVIRUS and Exams

J S Peston made this Freedom of Information request to Heriot-Watt University

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Dear Heriot-Watt University,

I wish to request, under the Freedom of Information Act, (1) a copy of the University’s policy on the admittance of (private / resit) candidates who hold an offer to study at the University but will be unable to fulfill that offer due to their centre redacting their exam entry or who otherwise will be unable to provide a candidate with a grade.

(2) If no such policy exists, I wish to request any information on the matter of changes to the University’s normal admissions procedure - whether codified or not - following COVID-19.

(3) I also wish to request all internal communication between staff on the matter outlined above - including, but not limited to, emails, IM messages, texts, and phone records.

Yours faithfully,

J S Peston

Freedom of Information, Heriot-Watt University

Automated Acknowledgement

Thank you for your information request. As a Scottish University, we
comply with our country’s own legislation: either the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 or the Environmental Information
(Scotland) Regulations 2004.

We are continuing to receive a high volume of information requests and so
we aim to respond within the statutory deadline, taking into account any
Scottish Bank Holidays.

If you are contacting the University in respect of your own personal
information or data, please redirect your request to
[1][email address]

Scottish Information Commissioner Guidelines

Further information about timescales for responding to requests for
information and your rights under Scottish legislation can be found on the
Scottish Information Commissioner's website:

[2]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...

or by contacting the Scottish Information Commissioner's Office at the
following address:

Scottish Information Commissioner,
Kinburn Castle,
Doubledykes Road, St Andrews,
Fife KY16 9DS
Telephone: 01334 464610
Fax: 01334 464611
E-mail: [email address]
Website: www.itspublicknowledge.info

Information Governance Team
Governance and Legal Services
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh Campus
Riccarton
Edinburgh EH14 4AS

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Dear Heriot-Watt University,

This request is grossly delayed. Please, immediately release the requested information and conduct an internal review.

Yours faithfully,

J S Peston

Freedom of Information, Heriot-Watt University

Automated Acknowledgement

Thank you for your information request. As a Scottish University, we
comply with our country’s own legislation: either the Freedom of
Information (Scotland) Act 2002 or the Environmental Information
(Scotland) Regulations 2004.

While we will make all efforts to respond to requests promptly, the
Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 came into force on 7 April and has
temporarily extended the maximum timescales for responding to requests for
information and internal reviews received under the Freedom of Information
(Scotland) Act 2002 to 60 working days. Further information about this
change is published on the Scottish Information Commissioner’s website:
[1]www.itspublicknowledge.info

If you are contacting the University in respect of your own personal
information or data, please redirect your request to
[2][email address]

Scottish Information Commissioner Guidelines

Further information about timescales for responding to requests for
information and your rights under Scottish legislation can be found on the
Scottish Information Commissioner's website:

[3]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...

or by contacting the Scottish Information Commissioner's Office at the
following address:

Scottish Information Commissioner,
Kinburn Castle,
Doubledykes Road, St Andrews,
Fife KY16 9DS
Telephone: 01334 464610
Fax: 01334 464611
Email: [4][email address]
Website: [5]www.itspublicknowledge.info

Information Governance Team
Governance and Legal Services
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh Campus
Riccarton
Edinburgh EH14 4AS
Email: [6][email address]

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Freedom of Information, Heriot-Watt University

1 Attachment

Dear J Peston

 

Thank you for your request dated the 25^th April 2020 and your subsequent
request for the review.  Firstly we should apologise for the delay which
has been caused by a combination of factors.  Your request was handled
initially by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 which extended the
freedom of information request deadlines to 60 working days.  The
deadlines have now reverted back to 20 working days as noted in the
Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA). 

 

As context to our response, the number of applicants that fall into the
categories you have describes is <1% so we hold very little recorded
information but we will try and provide as much guidance as we can.
Heriot-Watt University, like most other higher education providers, has
continued to monitor the Covid-19 situation closely and taking all
reasonable steps to ensure the safety of our staff and students and to
minimise disruption to our learners.  In these unprecedented times we are
taking advice from local authorities in each of our campus locations
including Dubai and Malaysia. We have reached out to applicants to the
University to keep them abreast of our latest information, invite them to
virtual open days and ensure they know who to contact for advice.  These
can be viewed on [1]our websites.

 

In response to your first two questions, we do not have such a policy and
so this information is exempt from release under Section17: information
not held. For applicants to our Undergraduate programmes, we are
monitoring and taking heed of advice from qualification and sector bodies
including Scottish Qualifications Agency (SQA), UCAS, QAA etc on how and
when candidates will be assessed.  Our focus has been on applicants who
are currently in schools, rather than private candidates, as these
applicants will form the vast majority of our intake.  Each offer holder
is assessed individually when exam results are received i.e. on a case by
case basis.  The latest information from OfQal is that private candidates
in England will be included in submissions made by those Centres on
calculated grades; similar advice from SQA is awaited.  In these cases our
confirmation processes will continue as normal.  However where an
applicant presents without a grade we will review this on a case by case
basis ensuring that there is dialogue between the applicant and our
academic staff.

 

At postgraduate level we are assessing a wide range of both UK and
international applications to ensure that our admissions processes fully
support those applicants unable to complete their Bachelors level degree
programme at this time. We continue to monitor the situation and evolve
our position as time goes on but strive to be as flexible as possible in
these uncertain times.

 

In question 3, you ask for copies of emails, IM messages, texts, and phone
records.  As referred to above, the number of applicants that fall within
the scope of your request is <1%.  As a result, although private/resit
candidates may have been discussed at informal discussions, there is no
such recorded documentation This information therefore falls under Section
17 of FOISA:  Information not held.

 

We hope you find the above informative.  Once again, we apologise for the
delay in responding to your original request and we hope that this has not
inconvenienced you.  Your patience is greatly appreciated.

 

Your right to seek review of our decision

 

If you are not satisfied with our response or our reasoning set-out above,
you have forty working days from today in which to request a review of our
decision. Any request should be put in writing and should be sent to Ann
Jones, Head of Information Governance, at the address detailed at the
bottom of this email. The request should:

 

(a) detail your request for a review of our decision to be undertaken;

 

(b) describe the nature of your original request; and

 

(c) explain the reasons why you are dissatisfied with our response.

 

If you remain dissatisfied with how your request for information has been
dealt with, you also have the right to apply to the Scottish Information
Commissioner for a decision as to whether we have handled your request
properly.

 

Information relating to your right to seek review is available from the
Scottish Information Commissioner's web page at:

 

[2]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...

 

or by contacting the Scottish Information Commissioner's Office at the
following address:

 

Scottish Information Commissioner,

Kinburn Castle,

Doubledykes Road,

St Andrews,

Fife KY16 9DS

Telephone: 01334 464610

Fax: 01334 464611

E-mail: [3][email address]

Website:
[4]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/home/...

 

Contact us

 

Finally, should you wish to discuss the contents of this email, please do
not hesitate to contact me.

 

Kind regards

 

FOISA Team

Information Governance Division

Governance and Legal Services

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh Campus

Riccarton

Edinburgh EH14 4AS

 

[5]https://www.hw.ac.uk/documents/Email-sig...

 

 

 

 

 

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are J S Peston please sign in and let everyone know.