correspondence related to Flexischooling

Fiona Nicholson made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Education,

Please could you supply me with copies of internal and external mails which make reference to flexischooling (also known as flexi-schooling) for the period covering January and February 2013.

In other words I should like to see correspondence between members of the department and also correspondence into the department and out of the department on this subject.

Yours faithfully,

Fiona Nicholson

Department for Education

Dear Ms Nicholson

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0013754.

Thank you

Department for Education
Public Communications Unit
Tel: 0370 000 2288

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Department for Education

Dear Ms Nicholson

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as possible. For information the departmental standard for correspondence received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0013762 - please ignore esrlier reference 2013/0013754 and please accept my apologies for any confusion caused.

Thank you

Department for Education
Public Communications Unit
Tel: 0370 000 2288

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Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

Situation appears to change on almost daily basis
http://edyourself.org/news/index.php#new...

Department for Education

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Nicholson,
Please see the attached.
 
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0013762.
If you need to respond to us, please visit
[1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Angela Tunstall

[2]www.education.gov.uk

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Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
2. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

The Department holds the information you have requested. However, I consider that the following exemptions apply to your request:

Firstly section 35 (policy formulation and development) as the papers include discussions of policy options and other information relating to the formulation and development of government policy, and secondly section 42 (legal professional privilege) as the papers include requests for legal advice and discussions of and relating to legal advice.

The Act obliges the Department to respond to requests promptly and in any case no later than 20 working days after receiving your request. However, where an exemption is applicable, the Department must consider whether the public interest lies in disclosing or withholding the information. In these circumstances, the Act allows the time for response to be longer than 20 working days.

In your case the volume of information involved and need for consultation in relation to information contained in these papers means that we estimate that it is likely to take us a further 15 working days to take a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies. It is anticipated that you will receive a full response by 19 April 2013. If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed.

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

May have jumped to conclusion that it was going to be refused. Because they aren't going to tell me till April.

Dear Department for Education,

Thank you for your holding response dated March 26th.

Yours faithfully,

Fiona Nicholson

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

Department for Education

Dear Ms Nicholson,

Please see the attached letter.
 
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0013762
If you need to respond to us, please visit:
[1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Angela Tunstall

[2]www.education.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
2. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Dear Department for Education,

Sorry for being dense, but I can't see an attachment here

Yours faithfully,

Fiona Nicholson

Department for Education

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Nicholson,
Apologies if you could not see the attachment on the last email, I attach
it again.
 
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0013762. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:
[1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Angela Tunstall
[2]www.education.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
2. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

Reference: 2013/0013762

18 April 2013
Dear Ms Nicholson,

I wrote to you on the 26 March with regards to your request for information, which was received on 27 February. I said in that letter that I would get back in touch with you if I wasn’t going to be able to provide you a response by 19 April.

Unfortunately due to the volume of information and the subsequent consultation that we are doing I am not going to be able to provide you a response by 19 April.

We estimate that it is likely to take us a further 15 working days to take a decision on where the balance of the public interest lies. It is anticipated that you will receive a full response by 13 May 2013. If it appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed.

I would like to apologise for this delay.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an independent review panel, who 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,

Michael Bell

SRG Flexible Resource Unit

Tel:- 01325735779

Dear Department for Education,

Thank you very much for keeping me updated about the delays in fulfilling the request.

Yours faithfully,

Fiona Nicholson

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

Anyone got any ideas what this means? "the subsequent consultation that we are doing"

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

Maybe "consultation in relation to information contained in these papers" ie not "a consultation on flexischooling" per se?

Dear Department for Education,

Is it possible for you to clarify the reference to a "consultation" as it would help me to understand why the response date has been put back again.

Many thanks

Fiona Nicholson

Department for Education

Dear Ms Nicholson,
Thank you for your email dated 19 April regarding our recent
correspondence.
Just to expand further on what I said to you in my letter of 18 April. I
have found a number of emails that potentially fall within the scope of
your request. I must consult with colleagues from various teams across the
Department in order to weigh up the public interest test and make a
suitably informed decision as to what to release.

 

Please let me know if you have any further questions on this.

 

Regards

 

Michael Bell

[1]www.education.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Fiona Nicholson

Dear Department for Education,

Ah OK, I now understand that the reference to a consultation was about consulting with colleagues over what should be released, rather than a reference to a possible public consultation on flexischooling.

Thank you for taking the time to explain this and I am sorry to have made extra work.

Yours faithfully,

Fiona Nicholson

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

I've updated my Flexischooling FAQ here

http://edyourself.org/articles/flexischo...

Q Is there going to be a public consultation on flexischooling?
A There was apparently some rumour of a consultation following Freedom of Information responses in April 2013, but the answer from DfE on May 9th suggests that this was possibly a misinterpretation

Department for Education

2 Attachments

Dear Ms Nicholson,
Further to your letter of 27th February, please find the responses for
your request for information attached.
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0013762. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:
[1]www.education.gov.uk/contactus, and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Angela Tunstall
Academies System Division
[email address]
[2]www.education.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
2. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Fiona Nicholson

Dear Department for Education,

Thank you very much for this information; I found both interesting and useful.

Yours faithfully,

Fiona Nicholson

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

I've put these DfE emails into chronological order here
http://edyourself.org/flexifoichronologi... and added the link here http://edyourself.org/articles/flexischo...

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

For others interested in these things, exemptions were cited under Part II Freedom of Information Act 2000 s35(formulation/development of government policy); s36(prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs); and s42(legal professional privilege)
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

Changes to the interpretation of flexischooling legality were made public on February 22nd 2013. The correspondence in this FOI relates primarily to the subsequent discussion of contentious issues on February 26th and 27th.

I am posting updates and analysis here
http://edyourself.org/articles/flexischo...

Fiona Nicholson left an annotation ()

Apart from the omission of legal advice - which was expected - it is noticeable that I asked for internal and external emails but have only been supplied with correspondence between civil servants. Reference is made to 50+ emails received by the minister from members of the public.

I made this request at the end of February before further clarification of the government's position towards the end of March so I will probably need to make a new request now for correspondence covering March and April.