Dover Grammar Boys test results

James Coombs made this Freedom of Information request to Dover Grammar School for Boys

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The request was successful.

Dear Dover Grammar School for Boys,

I understand that your school provides an alternative entrance test to the one provided by Kent County Council and applicants can take either one of these tests or both. I would like to request the *anonymised* test scores from tests taken in 2017, 2018 & 2019 (for entry in 2018 – 2020) for each applicant to your school showing:
1. Kent test English
2. Kent test maths
3. Kent test reasoning
4. Kent test total score
5. Your own test English
6. Your own test maths
7. Your own test reasoning
8. Your own test total score

Where applicants have been entered into both tests all 8 fields should be available. Where applicants have only taken the Kent test, fields 5-8 will be empty. Where applicants have only taken your own test, fields 1-4 will be empty. Please provide this information in either Excel, CSV or ODS format.

For your own tests please also provide
1. The qualifying score for each year.
2. Name of the test provider (for each year if there have been any changes)
3. The test/retest reliability figures for each ‘subtest’*; English/maths/Reasoning, (for each year if there have been any changes)

*You may need to request reliability figures from your test provider, although all reputable test providers should be able to provide reliability figures for their tests. See the International Test Commission, guidelines https://www.intestcom.org/files/guidelin... §2.2.4, §2.2.6.

Best wishes
James Coombs

Lizzie Reynolds,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Coombs, 
Thank you for your email, in which you ask for:

* the *anonymised* test scores from Kent County Council tests taken in
2017, 2018 & 2019 (for entry in 2018 – 2020) for each applicant to
your school showing:

 1. Kent test English
 2. Kent test maths
 3. Kent test reasoning
 4. Kent test total score
 5. Your own test English
 6. Your own test maths
 7. Your own test reasoning
 8. Your own test total score

* For your own tests please also provide:

 1. The qualifying score for each year.
 2. Name of the test provider (for each year if there have been any
changes)
 3. The test/retest reliability figures for each ‘subtest’*;
English/maths/Reasoning, (for each year if there have been any
changes)

Your request is being handled as a request for information under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. We will aim to send you a full response
in twenty working days, as per the statutory limit imposed by the ICO. 
If you have any questions about, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours sincerely

Lizzie Reynolds

PA to the Headteacher

Dover Grammar School for Boys

[1]www.dgsb.co.uk 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

________________________________________
From: James Coombs <[FOI #655090 email]>
Sent: 14 March 2020 15:17
To: Office
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Dover Grammar Boys test results

Dear Dover Grammar School for Boys,

I understand that your school provides an alternative entrance test to the
one provided by Kent County Council and applicants can take either one of
these tests or both. I would like to request the *anonymised* test scores
from tests taken in 2017, 2018 & 2019 (for entry in 2018 – 2020) for each
applicant to your school showing:
1.      Kent test English
2.      Kent test maths
3.      Kent test reasoning
4.      Kent test total score
5.      Your own test English
6.      Your own test maths
7.      Your own test reasoning
8.      Your own test total score

Where applicants have been entered into both tests all 8 fields should be
available. Where applicants have only taken the Kent test, fields 5-8 will
be empty. Where applicants have only taken your own test, fields 1-4 will
be empty. Please provide this information in either Excel, CSV or ODS
format.

For your own tests please also provide
1.      The qualifying score for each year.
2.      Name of the test provider (for each year if there have been any
changes)
3.      The test/retest reliability figures for each ‘subtest’*;
English/maths/Reasoning, (for each year if there have been any changes)

*You may need to request reliability figures from your test provider,
although all reputable test providers should be able to provide
reliability figures for their tests. See the International Test
Commission, guidelines
[2]https://www.intestcom.org/files/guidelin... §2.2.4, §2.2.6.

Best wishes
James Coombs

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #655090 email]

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For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
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Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.dgsb.co.uk/
2. https://www.intestcom.org/files/guidelin...
3. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/change_re...
4. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
5. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Philip Horstrup,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Coombs,

 

Update regarding your request for information under the FOI Act (2000)

 

Thank you for your email dated 14th March 2020 requesting information
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOI Act) and will be answered within twenty working
days. The FOI Act states that working days are days in which pupils are in
attendance. As you are aware, due to the current pandemic schools are
currently closed to pupils and have been since Friday 20th March 2020.
This request will therefore be fulfilled once all pupils and staff are
back in full attendance.

We appreciate your patience at this very difficult and uncertain time.

 

Please do not reply to this email. If you have any queries about this
request please liaise solely with Lizzie Reynolds, at
[email address].

Yours sincerely

DGSB

Mr Philip Horstrup

Headteacher 

Dover Grammar School for Boys    

[1]www.dgsb.co.uk 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.dgsb.co.uk/

Dear Mr Horstrup,

In June 2009 the Secretary of State issued regulations under sections 10(4) and 10(5) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 which can be found here
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009...

Section 2(3) of these regulations states, '“School day”, for the purposes of this regulation, means any day on which, at the school or unit referred to in paragraph (1) above, there is a session.' My understanding is that although pupils have been instructed to stay at home to minimise the spread of coronavirus, schools are continuing to provide remote learning sessions for pupils as well as onsite sessions for the children of key workers and therefore these regulations are not relevant.

I understand that schools, like the rest of us, are having to rapidly adapt to new ways to continue operating during the current pandemic and therefore some flexibility in the 20 working day limit is perhaps to be expected, but don't think this justifies the total suspension of the school's obligation to comply with the law for an indefinite amount of time. Perhaps it would help if you explain why the school is unable to provide this information unless all of the pupils and staff are physically in attendance. Failing some reasonable explanation why it is not possible, I expect this response to be dealt with promptly as mandated under s.10 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Best wishes

James Coombs

Philip Horstrup,

DGSB is now closed until further notice for almost all students and staff,
the exception being children of key workers. Please therefore expect a
delay in any reply to your message. Thank you for your patience and
understanding at this difficult time. Phil Horstrup

Philip Horstrup,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Coombs,

 

Thank you for your most recent email.

 

Section 10 (5) provides that Regulations under subsection (4) may (a)
prescribe different days in relation to different cases, and (b) confer a
discretion on the Commissioner. As the Commissioner, the ICO has produced
guidance notes on FOIA requests which outlines discretionary variations
that can be applied to the Act. Some variations can be directly applied
without requiring permission.  One such variation relates to schools. It
states that schools should respond to FOI request within 20 working days
following the date of receipt, excluding any day which is not a school
day. It further clarifies that a ‘school’ day will be any day on which
there is a session and the pupils are in attendance,  ‘Working days’
exclude school holidays and ‘inset’ or training days where the pupils are
not present.

 

The school is not in session and pupils are not in attendance. No AM or PM
registration marks are being taken; no lessons are being delivered. We
would therefore consider the situation to be similar to a school holiday.
 We are not trying to suspend our obligations to comply; rather, we are
applying the law in the manner which reflects this unprecedented and
deeply challenging situation which is putting significant pressure on
schools to meet government requirements of looking after key worker
children - that is our sole priority at this time. Please rest assured
that your request will be dealt with as soon as school sessions resume,
and within the 20 working day time frame. We will continue to review this
situation and update you should this situation change.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of this request you have the
right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.

Yours sincerely

Phil Horstrup

Mr Philip Horstrup

Headteacher 

Dover Grammar School for Boys    

[1]www.dgsb.co.uk 

References

Visible links
1. http://www.dgsb.co.uk/

Dear Mr Horstrup,

A response to my request for information was due 15 April. I appreciate there are extra demands on the administration of the school at the moment, but fail to see why you consider it necessary for all pupils and staff to have returned to the school premises in order for your admissions team to locate the requested information. Government guidance (https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...) is that schools remain open for vulnerable children and those whose parents are critical to the Covid-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. Kent County Council website provides term dates (https://www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pd...) and your letter to parents (https://4905753ff3cea231a868-376d75cd289...) makes it very clear that school sessions are continuing, despite children not being physically in attendance. The 2009 statutory instrument (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009...) signed by the Secretary of State for Justice s.2(3) does indeed clarify “School day” but does not align with your definition that this is confined only to days at which all children are physically in attendance. It also mandates there is a hard limit of 60 working days to respond to requests whether the school is in session or not, which your proposed indefinite postponement is unlikely to address.

The Information Commissioner will accept complaints where no response has been given within 20 working days. I would prefer to avoid involving them if at all possible but if I do not get a response to my request by 18 May 2020 (a total of 40 school working days) I will feel that I have no alternative than to refer this to the regulator.

Yours sincerely,

James Coombs

Philip Horstrup,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Coombs,

 

Thank you for your email of 18th April 2020.

 

Further to responses already provided, I would reiterate that we consider
the lack of staff and pupils in attendance to be the same as school
holiday, whereby the time for responding to an FOI request is essentially
paused. Whilst the attendance of pupils is not necessary for the
fulfilment, it is particularly pertinent when considering a ‘school day’.
 

 

I would like to reassure you that this request will be dealt with, within
the statutory timeframes, once normal school days return.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of this request, you are within
your rights to apply directly to the ICO. For ease of reference I have
added the contact details below:

The Information Commissioner
Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding in these
difficult and unprecedented circumstances. As a parent yourself, I am sure
you will appreciate that our energies, time and resources are currently
being directed towards supporting our students' remote learning, but also
towards our most vulnerable and disadvantaged students, of whom we have
many. We are also providing support to aid students and parents' emotional
and mental well-being at a time when they are experiencing bereavement, as
well as both financial and physical loss.

Kind regards

Phil Horstrup

Mr Philip Horstrup

Headteacher 

Dover Grammar School for Boys    

[1]www.dgsb.co.uk 

show quoted sections

Please use this email address for all replies to this request:
[FOI #655090 email]

Disclaimer: This message and any reply that you make will be published on
the internet. Our privacy and copyright policies:
[7]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...

For more detailed guidance on safely disclosing information, read the
latest advice from the ICO:
[8]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

Please note that in some cases publication of requests and responses will
be delayed.

If you find this service useful as an FOI officer, please ask your web
manager to link to us from your organisation's FOI page.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

References

Visible links
1. http://www.dgsb.co.uk/
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
3. https://www.kent.gov.uk/__data/assets/pd...
4. https://4905753ff3cea231a868-376d75cd289...
5. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009...
6. http://www.dgsb.co.uk/
7. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/offi...
8. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/help/ico-...

James Coombs left an annotation ()

Kent County Council provide 11+ testing for all of the grammar schools in Kent and yet the four in Dover and Folkestone operate an additional test, costing the taxpayer £28,000 each year (based on 2016 figures https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...).

In 2005 the Kent County Council referred Folkestone Girls to the Schools Adjudicator (ADA/000723) for introducing, "an additional test in parallel with the countywide arrangements administered by the LEA." The Adjudicator ruled that the school should remove references to this test from their admissions arrangements. These schools are Academies and therefore no longer accountable to the elected local authority and 15 years later all operate their own tests.

My requests for information aimed at understanding why they do this were not successful and have now all been referred to the Information Commissioner.

Dear Dover Grammar School for Boys,
ICO reference IC-46196-H4W9
Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

Thank you for your response dated 16 September 2020 in reply to my request for information submitted 14 March 2020. I would like to request an internal review of this decision.

Section 16(1) of the Freedom of Information Act states, “It shall be the duty of a public authority to provide advice and assistance, so far as it would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to persons who propose to make, or have made, requests for information to it.” I think it was clear from my original request that I wanted to compare your tests with those set by the Local Authority. The response you have provided, after the intervention of the Information Commissioner, does nothing to assist. Fortunately I have had guidance from other parties, including a retired schools adjudicator, and believe that whilst you do not hold information about the Kent test you do hold the Unique Pupil Number disclosure of which would enable me to link your test results to the Kent test.

The Upper Tribunal (Metropolitan Police vs Information Commissioner and Donnie Mackenzie (GIA/3424/2014 [2014] UKUT 0479 (AAC), 22 October 2014)) determined, “S.16 requires a public authority, whether before or after the request is made, to suggest obvious alternative formulations of the request which will enable it to supply the core of the information sought.” There is a direct comparison here. Disclosure of the UPN is a very ‘obvious alternative formulation’ to the request I made in March.

The outcome of the review I am seeking is for you to include UPN in the anonymised test scores so I am able to compare this to the Kent test results. Under s.40(1) of the FOIA, “Any information to which a request for information relates is exempt information if it constitutes personal data of which the applicant is the data subject.” As its name suggests, the Unique Pupil Number is unique to each child, however in order to positively identify an individual requires access to the National Pupil Database. This is now restricted to researchers such as myself who have been through a thorough accreditation process with the Office for National Statistics. (The ONS can confirm my registration, ONSF21316, expires 15/01/2024.) Any request to access the NPD has to undergo a rigorous application process, justifying every single field of data requested. Asking for the names of children in order to check their individual 11+ scores would be rejected outright and I would sincerely hope result in the immediate withdrawal of accreditation from anyone making such a request. By itself, the UPN is incapable of being defined as personal data and s.40(1) is not correctly engaged.

If the outcome of your internal review is to refuse to provide this information I will apply under s.50 of the FOIA 2000 to the Information Commissioner to issue a decision notice and if necessary pursue this through the legal appeal system. If you prefer not to disclose the UPN, a simple alternative to going down that path which benefits neither of us would be for you to ask Kent Council for their results, including UPN, and correlate these against your own to provide the information I requested in March.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
Best wishes
James Coombs

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

James Coombs

Philip Horstrup,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Coombs,

Letter stating that the information is being withheld as it is personal
information

Thank you for your e-mail of 22nd September 2020 in which you request
Unique Pupil Numbers (UPN) for Dover Boys Test entrants.

I can confirm that we hold some, but not all, of this information as we
would only be provided with UPNs for students who enrol at DGSB. However,
this information is exempt from disclosure under section 40 (personal
information) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). This is
because the information constitutes personal data as defined in the Data
Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and disclosing it would breach the fair
processing principle set out in the DPA.

GDPR considers the UPN as personal data, as the UPN falls within the scope
of ‘identification number’ within the GDPR definition of personal data. As
such, UPNs held with, or without, other data items remain within the scope
of GDPR and must be protected accordingly.

It would be permissible to share UPN’s with:

o local authority
o central government
o another school to which the pupil is transferring
o a third party (for example, a supplier of a school's management
information system) which has entered into an agreement to provide an
education service or system to a school, local authority or government
department and process data on their behalf.

Given the above restrictions and the remit of your request, the school
will not be releasing UPN’s unless you can evidence that your research is
being initiated by either local authority or central government agency.

The School has now disclosed all information that it is required to
disclose regarding this request and considers the matter closed. The
school will be seeking to consider any further requests pertaining to this
matter as vexatious.

If you are not content with the handling of this request, you have the
right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.
The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Phil Horstrup

Headteacher

For and on behalf of Dover Grammar School for Boys

Currently reading "Wayward Pines" Trilogy, by Blake Crouch

Mr Philip Horstrup 

Headteacher 

Dover Grammar School for Boys    

[1]www.dgsb.co.uk 

From: James Coombs <[2][FOI #655090 email]>
Sent: 22 September 2020 23:28
To: Office <[3][Dover Grammar School for Boys request email]>
Subject: Internal review of Freedom of Information request - Dover Grammar
Boys test results

 

Dear Dover Grammar School for Boys,

ICO reference IC-46196-H4W9

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information
reviews.

Thank you for your response dated 16 September 2020 in reply to my request
for information submitted 14 March 2020. I would like to request an
internal review of this decision.

Section 16(1) of the Freedom of Information Act states, “It shall be the
duty of a public authority to provide advice and assistance, so far as it
would be reasonable to expect the authority to do so, to persons who
propose to make, or have made, requests for information to it.” I think it
was clear from my original request that I wanted to compare your tests
with those set by the Local Authority. The response you have provided,
after the intervention of the Information Commissioner, does nothing to
assist. Fortunately I have had guidance from other parties, including a
retired schools adjudicator, and believe that whilst you do not hold
information about the Kent test you do hold the Unique Pupil Number
disclosure of which would enable me to link your test results to the Kent
test.

The Upper Tribunal (Metropolitan Police vs Information Commissioner and
Donnie Mackenzie (GIA/3424/2014 [2014] UKUT 0479 (AAC), 22 October 2014))
determined, “S.16 requires a public authority, whether before or after the
request is made, to suggest obvious alternative formulations of the
request which will enable it to supply the core of the information
sought.” There is a direct comparison here. Disclosure of the UPN is a
very ‘obvious alternative formulation’ to the request I made in March.

The outcome of the review I am seeking is for you to include UPN in the
anonymised test scores so I am able to compare this to the Kent test
results. Under s.40(1) of the FOIA, “Any information to which a request
for information relates is exempt information if it constitutes personal
data of which the applicant is the data subject.” As its name suggests,
the Unique Pupil Number is unique to each child, however in order to
positively identify an individual requires access to the National Pupil
Database. This is now restricted to researchers such as myself who have
been through a thorough accreditation process with the Office for National
Statistics. (The ONS can confirm my registration, ONSF21316, expires
15/01/2024.) Any request to access the NPD has to undergo a rigorous
application process, justifying every single field of data requested.
Asking for the names of children in order to check their individual 11+
scores would be rejected outright and I would sincerely hope result in the
immediate withdrawal of accreditation from anyone making such a request.
By itself, the UPN is incapable of being defined as personal data and
s.40(1) is not correctly engaged.

If the outcome of your internal review is to refuse to provide this
information I will apply under s.50 of the FOIA 2000 to the Information
Commissioner to issue a decision notice and if necessary pursue this
through the legal appeal system. If you prefer not to disclose the UPN, a
simple alternative to going down that path which benefits neither of us
would be for you to ask Kent Council for their results, including UPN, and
correlate these against your own to provide the information I requested in
March.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this address: 

Best wishes

James Coombs

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on
the Internet at this
address: [4]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

James Coombs

References

Visible links
1. http://www.dgsb.co.uk/
2. mailto:[FOI #655090 email]
3. mailto:[Dover Grammar School for Boys request email]
4. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Louise Crow left an annotation ()

On 19 March 2021 lawyers representing the Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of The University of Cambridge wrote to the WhatDoTheyKnow.com team in relation to this request. They pointed to an Information Tribunal judgment which is available at:

http://informationrights.decisions.tribu...

the judgment's conclusions included:

"Having considered all of these issues, we find that the withheld information was commercially sensitive at date of request and that the section 43 (2) exemption is engaged.

We further find that prejudice to CEM’s commercial interest is likely to occur if the information is published.
"

The lawyers noted other legal action they were taking in light of the judgment, and in respect of the material released on this thread they stated: "we should be grateful if you would provide an email address to which a takedown request in respect of the Disclosed Information can be formally made, and to which a copy of our Pre-Action letter can be provided."

Once our attention had been drawn to the material we reviewed it and realised it had not been effectively anonymised. Pupils could be easily identified as their dates of birth, were included in the data. We decided to cease publication on 20 March 2021 on the grounds we considered it an inappropriate bulk release of personal data.

We are aware that research based on the released data had been published. The data published alongside that research had been more effectively pseudonymised than that provided in the response.

We reported the data protection breach to both the school and the Information Commissioner.

The school denied any data protection breach had occurred, claiming the data released was anonymised.

The Information Commissioner refused to take action saying it was the school's responsibility to investigate the breach and make an assessment based on the likelihood of any risk of detriment to the rights and freedoms of the affected data subjects.

We complained to the Information Commissioner and asked them to reconsider their position given the school's denial that a data protection breach had occurred. The Commissioner's response to our complaint was to note that “the issues that you have raised have been logged. Please be aware that it is unlikely you will hear anything further from us regarding this." We are keen to work with the commissioner to try and prevent data protection breaches by public bodies and we continue to make the commissioner aware of serious breaches which we become aware of.

Having done what we can in this case we have, as of 13/07/2021, now deleted our copy of the released data.  We have deleted a response from the school dated 16 September 2020 from this thread.