Inclusion of Benin in the National Curriculum

The request was successful.

Dear Department for Education,

I wish to find out more about the inclusion of "Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300" as an option for study of a non-European society in Key Stage 2 of the new National Curriculum.

Could you provide any minutes or notes from meetings where the content of the history curriculum was discussed which indicate the rationale for the particular period studied. If it is not possible to locate such information specifically, I would be happy to receive any notes or minutes which reflect the discussions or decisions made about the content of the History curriculum between the publication of the first draft in February 2013 and the second draft in July 2013.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Tidd

Department for Education

Dear Mr Tidd

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 2014/0057435.

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

show quoted sections

Department for Education

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Tidd

 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 20
August. You requested:

(a)  to find out more about the inclusion of "Benin (West Africa) c. AD
900-1300" as an option for study of a non-European society in Key Stage 2
of the new National Curriculum; and

(b)  any minutes or notes from meetings where the content of the history
curriculum was discussed which indicate the rationale for the particular
period studied, or, if it is not possible to locate such information
specifically, any notes or minutes which reflect the discussions or
decisions made about the content of the History curriculum between the
publication of the first draft in February 2013 and the second draft in
July 2013.

 

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

 

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

 

Disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank
provision of advice - S36 (2)(b)(i)

 

Disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit the free and frank
exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation - S36 (2)(b)(ii)

 

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 one of the exemptions listed above 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 Department estimates that it will take up to an
additional 20 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 Friday 17 October.  If it appears that it will take longer
than this to reach a conclusion, we will keep you informed.

 

If you have any queries about this email, 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. 

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2014/0057435.

Yours sincerely,

 

 

 

John Hopper

Modern and Ancient Languages; Geography; History

Curriculum and Standards Division

 

[1]Description: cid:image001.png@01CD10BC.DB3370D0

 

Level 2, Sanctuary Buildings, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BT

Tel: +44 (0)20 7340 7176

[2][email address]

 

New website address is : www.gov.uk/dfe

 

Please click on
[3]https://www.gov.uk/government/collection... links
to the new national curriculum programmes of study and links to free
resources for each subject on the TES website.

 

Follow us          [4]http://twitter.com/#!/educationgovuk

Join us              [5]http://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

 

 

show quoted sections

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

References

Visible links
2. mailto:[email address]
3. https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...
4. http://twitter.com/#!/educationgovuk
http://twitter.com/#!/educationgovuk
5. http://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk
http://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

Dear Department for Education,
Thank you for your response relating to my FOI request.

While I appreciate that the case is still under review, I would point out that I had not sought to know who was involved in the decisions or for individuals to be named. Rather I am interested in the rationale for the final decision to include the specific period mentioned. I am therefore of the view that the public interest in knowing would be very strong, while the risk to the free and frank exchange of views or provision of advice would be almost negligible.
I trust that this will make the process of the review straightforward, and look forward to a response. Should you require any further information which might help to clarify the situation, I would be glad to explain further.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Tidd

Department for Education

Dear Mr Tidd,
Thank you again for your request for information, received on 20 August.  You requested:

(a)  to find out more about the inclusion of "Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300" as an
option for study of a non-European society in Key Stage 2 of the new National Curriculum;
and

(b)  any minutes or notes from meetings where the content of the history curriculum was
discussed which indicate the rationale for the particular period studied, or, if it is not
possible to locate such information specifically, any notes or minutes which reflect the
discussions or decisions made about the content of the History curriculum between the
publication of the first draft in February 2013 and the second draft in July 2013.

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

Further to my email of 18 September, the Department has considered whether the public
interest lies in disclosing or withholding the information.

For the first part of your request, I can confirm that the Department does not hold any
minutes or notes from meetings which indicate the rationale for the period c. AD 900-1300
for the study of Benin.

However, I am able to share with you a rationale which has been passed on by the chair of an
expert group set up to examine the draft and suggest improvements.  He has said that the
decision to include the dates c. AD 900-1300 as they relate to Benin, was made to preserve
the chronological structure of the programmes of study.  Benin was included as an option in
the previous version of the national curriculum and its continued inclusion from the very
first revision of the February version of the programme of study was to show schools that
already study Benin that they can continue to do so, but with an emphasis on its earlier
stages.  There is nothing to prevent schools taking the study beyond the 1300 date. 

For the second part of your request, for notes or minutes which reflect the discussions or
decisions made about the content of the history curriculum between February and July 2013,
the Department holds the information that you requested.  The information which can be
disclosed is as follows:

At a meeting of the National Curriculum Review Advisory Group on 30 April 2013, it was
reported that: “there had been many discussions about the programmes of study, and in
particular much work on design and technology and history” and that “Significant concerns
had been raised about the proposed history programme of study [and]…. that an expert group
had been established to examine the draft and suggest improvements.” 

The Department holds the remainder of the information you requested, but it is being
withheld because the following exemption(s) apply to this information:

Section 36(2)(b).  

Under Section 36(2)(b), the Department is not required to provide information, if in the
reasonable opinion of a qualified person (a Minister in the case of Government Departments)
disclosure of the information under the Act would, or would be likely to inhibit:

the free and frank provision of advice (section 36(2)(b)(i)); or

the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation (section 36(2)(b)(ii))

In relation to your request, a Minister has decided that, in his reasonable opinion,
disclosure of the notes and minutes is likely to have this prejudicial effect and therefore
the exemption in Section 36 applies.

Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore a public interest test has been carried
out. In doing so the following factors have been taken into consideration:

 

o In balancing the public interest, the Department has taken into account that
considerations for disclosure add up to an argument that more openness about the process
may lead to better quality policy formulation and development, greater accountability,
an improved standard of public debate, and improved trust. 

 

o Conversely, it is in the public interest that the formulation of government policy and
government decision-making can proceed in the self-contained space needed to ensure that
it is done well.  Good government depends on good decision-making and this needs to be
based on the best advice available and a full consideration of the options.  Without
protecting the thinking space and the ability for Ministers and senior officials to
receive free and frank advice, there is likely to be a corrosive effect on the conduct
of good government, with a risk that decision-making will become poorer and will be
recorded inadequately.

 

o In this particular case, the development of the draft programmes of study for history
was an ongoing process over a period of many months, with a range of meetings taking
place and drafts being refined over time to reflect consideration of research evidence
and discussion with both subject experts and Ministers.  We believe that there would
have been less free and frank discussion of options if it had been anticipated that the
record of these discussions would be published. 

 

The arguments for and against release have been considered and it has been decided that the
balance of public interest falls in favour of non-disclosure due to the likely effects on
future discussions relating to the development of the school curriculum.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use
it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research, and for
any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except
photographs) can be also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of
news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the
permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by the Department for Education will be protected by Crown
Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be re-used under the Open Government Licence
([1]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o.... For information about
the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives
website
-[2]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
.

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining
permission from a third party see the Intellectual Property Office’s website at
[3]www.ipo.gov.uk.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the
reference number 2014/0057435 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,

John Hopper
Curriculum and Standards Division
[email address]
[4]www.gov.uk/dfe

show quoted sections

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

References

Visible links
1. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
blocked::http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
2. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
blocked::http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
3. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
blocked::http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
4. http://www.gov.uk/dfe

Department for Education

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Tidd,
Thank you again for your request for information, received on 20 August.  You requested:

(a)  to find out more about the inclusion of "Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300" as an
option for study of a non-European society in Key Stage 2 of the new National Curriculum;
and

(b)  any minutes or notes from meetings where the content of the history curriculum was
discussed which indicate the rationale for the particular period studied, or, if it is not
possible to locate such information specifically, any notes or minutes which reflect the
discussions or decisions made about the content of the History curriculum between the
publication of the first draft in February 2013 and the second draft in July 2013.

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

Further to my email of 18 September, the Department has considered whether the public
interest lies in disclosing or withholding the information.

For the first part of your request, I can confirm that the Department does not hold any
minutes or notes from meetings which indicate the rationale for the period c. AD 900-1300
for the study of Benin.

However, I am able to share with you a rationale which has been passed on by the chair of an
expert group set up to examine the draft and suggest improvements.  He has said that the
decision to include the dates c. AD 900-1300 as they relate to Benin, was made to preserve
the chronological structure of the programmes of study.  Benin was included as an option in
the previous version of the national curriculum and its continued inclusion from the very
first revision of the February version of the programme of study was to show schools that
already study Benin that they can continue to do so, but with an emphasis on its earlier
stages.  There is nothing to prevent schools taking the study beyond the 1300 date. 

For the second part of your request, for notes or minutes which reflect the discussions or
decisions made about the content of the history curriculum between February and July 2013,
the Department holds the information that you requested.  The information which can be
disclosed is as follows:

At a meeting of the National Curriculum Review Advisory Group on 30 April 2013, it was
reported that: “there had been many discussions about the programmes of study, and in
particular much work on design and technology and history” and that “Significant concerns
had been raised about the proposed history programme of study [and]…. that an expert group
had been established to examine the draft and suggest improvements.” 

The Department holds the remainder of the information you requested, but it is being
withheld because the following exemption(s) apply to this information:

 

Section 36(2)(b).  

 

Under Section 36(2)(b), the Department is not required to provide information, if in the
reasonable opinion of a qualified person (a Minister in the case of Government Departments)
disclosure of the information under the Act would, or would be likely to inhibit:

 

the free and frank provision of advice (section 36(2)(b)(i)); or

 

the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation (section 36(2)(b)(ii))

 

In relation to your request, a Minister has decided that, in his reasonable opinion,
disclosure of the notes and minutes is likely to have this prejudicial effect and therefore
the exemption in Section 36 applies.

Section 36 is a qualified exemption and therefore a public interest test has been carried
out. In doing so the following factors have been taken into consideration:

 

o In balancing the public interest, the Department has taken into account that
considerations for disclosure add up to an argument that more openness about the process
may lead to better quality policy formulation and development, greater accountability,
an improved standard of public debate, and improved trust. 

 

o Conversely, it is in the public interest that the formulation of government policy and
government decision-making can proceed in the self-contained space needed to ensure that
it is done well.  Good government depends on good decision-making and this needs to be
based on the best advice available and a full consideration of the options.  Without
protecting the thinking space and the ability for Ministers and senior officials to
receive free and frank advice, there is likely to be a corrosive effect on the conduct
of good government, with a risk that decision-making will become poorer and will be
recorded inadequately.

 

o In this particular case, the development of the draft programmes of study for history
was an ongoing process over a period of many months, with a range of meetings taking
place and drafts being refined over time to reflect consideration of research evidence
and discussion with both subject experts and Ministers.  We believe that there would
have been less free and frank discussion of options if it had been anticipated that the
record of these discussions would be published. 

 

The arguments for and against release have been considered and it has been decided that the
balance of public interest falls in favour of non-disclosure due to the likely effects on
future discussions relating to the development of the school curriculum.

The information supplied to you continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use
it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research, and for
any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except
photographs) can be also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of
news reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the
permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by the Department for Education will be protected by Crown
Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be re-used under the Open Government Licence
([1]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o.... For information about
the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives
website
-[2]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
.

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining
permission from a third party see the Intellectual Property Office’s website at
[3]www.ipo.gov.uk.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the
reference number 2014/0057435 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,

John Hopper
Curriculum and Standards Division
[email address]
[4]www.gov.uk/dfe

show quoted sections

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

References

Visible links
1. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
blocked::http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
2. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
blocked::http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
3. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
blocked::http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
4. http://www.gov.uk/dfe

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org