Military ethos in schools

Will McCallum 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 successful.

Dear Department for Education,

On the 15th November you published an announcement regarding the promotion of a military ethos in schools on your website (http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy...). In that statement you claim that:

"Past experience from both the military and education sector has demonstrated how these core values help pupils to reach their academic potential and become well-rounded and accomplished adults fully prepared for life beyond school."

This is a request to view all documentation and/or correspondence used in the formation of this policy that demonstrates those benefits outlined in the statement.

Yours faithfully,

Will McCallum

Department for Education

Dear Mr McCallum

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 2012/0077528

Thank you

Department for Education
Public Communications Unit
Tel: 0370 000 2288

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Department for Education

1 Attachment

 
 

Dear Mr MCallum

 

Freedom of Information Request – Military Ethos in Schools

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 27
November 2012.

You referred to the following statement from our website: "Past experience
from both the military and education sector has demonstrated how these
core values help pupils to reach their academic potential and become
well-rounded and accomplished adults fully prepared for life beyond
school."

In relation to this, you requested:

All documentation and/or correspondence used in formulation of this policy
that demonstrates those benefits outlined in the statement.

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 exemptions apply to your request: 35 (1)
Information held by a government department or by is exempt information if
it relates to- (a) the formulation or development of government policys;
(b) Ministerial communications.

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.

The Department estimates that it will take an additional 20 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 17 January.  If it
appears that it will take longer than this to reach a conclusion, we will
keep you informed.

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2012/0077528. 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,

Emma Hubball
Academies System Division
[email address]
[1]www.education.gov.uk

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References

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Department for Education

1 Attachment

Dear Mr McCallum,
 

Freedom of Information Request – Military Ethos in Schools 

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 27 November 2012. Further to my letter on 12 December
2012, please find a full response to your request below.

You referred to the following statement from our website: "Past experience from both the military and education sector has
demonstrated how these core values help pupils to reach their academic potential and become well-rounded and accomplished
adults fully prepared for life beyond school." In relation to this, you requested:

All documentation and/or correspondence used in formulation of this policy that demonstrates those benefits outlined in
the statement.

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

The statement you refer to relates to the Department’s military ethos work encompassing Cadets, Troops to Teachers, the
cadet version of National Citizen Service, alternative provision with a military ethos and our exploration of how free
schools and academies can use their freedoms to foster a military ethos. As mentioned on the Department website, our
ambition is for pupils to use the benefits of a military ethos, such as self-discipline and teamwork, to achieve an
excellent education which will help them shape their own futures.

In formulating this policy, the evidence we looked at is that which is already in the public domain. Under section 21 of
the Act, the Department is not required to provide information in response to a request if it is already reasonably
accessible to you. The documents and details of where they can be found are listed here:

1.  Blond, P., Kaszynska,P., Military Academies: Tackling disadvantage improving ethos and changing outcome. Respublica.

2.  Burkard, T. (2008) Troops to Teachers: A successful programme from America for our inner city schools. London: Centre
for Policy Studies. (Available free of charge at:
[1]http://www.cps.org.uk/files/reports/orig...)

3.  Burki, A., and T. Burkard. (2011) Something can be done: Troops in our schools will do more than troops on our
streets. London: Centre for Policy Studies. (Available free of charge at:
http://www.cps.org.uk/files/reports/orig...)

 4.  Feistritzer, C. E (2005) Profile of the Troops to Teachers Programme. Washington: National Centre for Education
Information, (Available free of charge at: [2]http://www.dantes.doded.mil/Sub%20Pages/...)

 5.  Greatbatch, D., Tolley. H.,Gibbons, C.,Mallia, C., (2007), Evaluation of Skill Force: 2006-2007. Nottingham:
University of Nottingham (Available free of charge at:
[3]http://www.skillforce.org/sites/default/...

 6.  Institue of Education (2005) Skill Force Evaluation. London: University of London (Available free of charge at:
[4]http://www.skillforce.org/who-we-are/our... accessed 19/04/11)

 7.  Moon, G., Twigg, L., Horwood. J., (2010), The Societal Impact of Cadet Forces (Available free of charge at:
[5]http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy...)

 8.  Owings, W.A. (2006) Teacher Quality and Troops to Teachers: A National Study with Implications for Principals,
National Association of Secondary School Principals (Available priced $25.00 at:
[6]http://bul.sagepub.com/content/90/2/102....)

The Department also used the document below to inform the development of policy. This is unavailable in the public domain
so has been attached with this email:

1.    Burton, R, and Jacobs. J, (2011) Comparative Study of Critical K-12 Teaching Skills between Florida based Military
Instructors and Experienced Classroom Teachers

As you will be aware, our approach was also set out in the schools white paper 2010. This was positively received at the
time.

We are delighted that feedback we are receiving from schools, teachers, parents and pupils show that military ethos is
having a positive impact on pupils. Some of this feedback is set out in our recent press notice. Again, under section 21
of the Act, the Department is not required to provide information if it is already reasonably accessible to you. The press
notice is available on the Department’s website
(http://www.education.gov.uk/inthenews/in...).

As mentioned in my previous letter, the Department does hold some additional information relevant to your request, but in
this case this is being withheld under the exemptions in Section 35(1)(a) and 35(1)(b) of the Act, covering information
relating to the formulation and development of Government policy and ministerial communications. In applying section
35(1)(a) and 35(1)b, the Act requires that the Department balances the public interest in withholding the information
against the public interest in disclosing the information. I have set out below the particular factors which the
Department considered when deciding where the public interest lay.

The Department recognises the public interest in greater transparency which could make government more accountable to the
electorate and increases trust; and the public interest in being able to assess the quality of advice being given to
ministers and subsequent decision making. 

However, on balance, the Department believes that the reasons for non-disclosure are stronger for the information relevant
to your request.  The specific reasons non-disclosure of certain elements is in the public interest are:

o Good government depends on good decision making and this needs to be based on the best advice available and a full
consideration of all the options without fear of premature disclosure.
o There needs to be a free space in which it is possible to 'think the unthinkable' and use imagination, without the
fear that policy proposals will be held up to ridicule.
o The impartiality of the civil service might be undermined if advice was routinely made public as there is a risk that
officials could come under political pressure not to challenge ideas in the formulation of policy, thus leading to
poorer decision-making
o Disclosure of interdepartmental consideration and communications between ministers may undermine the collective
responsibility of the government

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2012/0077528. 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 service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request
a review of our decision, you should write to me within two calendar months of the date of this email.

If you are not content with the outcome your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. Generally, however, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the Department's complaints
procedure.
Yours sincerely,

Emma Hubball
Academies System Division
[7][email address]
[8]www.education.gov.uk

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.cps.org.uk/files/reports/orig...
2. http://www.dantes.doded.mil/Sub%20Pages/...
3. http://www.skillforce.org/sites/default/...
4. http://www.skillforce.org/who-we-are/our...
5. http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandy...
6. http://bul.sagepub.com/content/90/2/102....
7. mailto:[email address]
8. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Dear Department for Education,

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

Following the receipt of some legal advice, I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 'Military ethos in schools'.

I do not believe that the public interest in withholding this information outweighs the public interest in disclosing it. This is for the following reasons:

Most importantly, as the policy has now been announced, and is therefore no longer in the development stage, the case for disclosure, I believe, is stronger than that of confidentiality. According to the Information Rights Tribunal, the case to withhold information because ministers and officials need "time and space...to hammer out policy...without the threat of lurid headlines" is only applicable in the development stage.

This is a wide ranging policy that has the potential to impact the British education system for many years to come, as such it deserves to be scrutinised by a wider range of institutions and individuals with relevant expertise than has been the case up until this point.

There is no indication in any of the information so far received of the origins of this policy, simply how it has later been justified. Given those elements in the publications mentioned in the bibliography that refer to the recruitment benefit to the Armed Forces in engaging with young people, the reasons for this policy's inception are a cause for concern.

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

Yours faithfully,

Will McCallum

Department for Education

Dear Mr McCallum

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 2013/0003568

Thank you

Department for Education
Public Communications Unit
Tel: 0370 000 2288

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Department for Education

Dear Mr McCallum,
Thank you for your email dated 21 January 2013 about military ethos in
schools.

Please see the response below sent on behald of David McVean - the senior
officer who has considered your complaint:
 
Internal Review of Freedom of Information Request

I refer to your request for,an internal review  which was received on 21
January. This related to your original request (received 27 November 2012)
in which you referred to the following statement from our website: "Past
experience from both the military and education sector has demonstrated
how these core values help pupils to reach their academic potential and
become well-rounded and accomplished adults fully prepared for life beyond
school."

In relation to this, you requested:

All documentation and/or correspondence used in formulation of this policy
that demonstrates those benefits outlined in the statement.

The Department has now completed its internal review process and has
carried out a thorough review of the case. As a a senior officer who was
not involved with the original request, I chaired this process. The Review
Panel has decided to uphold the original decision not to disclose the
information concerned,for the same reasons set out in the letter of 21
December 2012.

Our panel looked at the objectives of our military ethos policies to
determine whether it would be in the public interest to disclose the
information. Though some elements of these policies have been announced,
the panel concluded that our military ethos polices are still in
development and are likely to evolve and need revision. As such, the
internal review panel concluded that this information remained bound by
the exemption in Section 35 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000:
Information held by a government department is exempt information if it
relates to (a) the formulation of government policys; (b) Ministerial
communication.

We agree that this is a wide ranging policy with potential to impact the
educational system for many years and, therefore, should be scrutinised.
We are satisfied, however, that sufficient plans are in place to evaluate
these policies.

If you are unhappy with this decision, you have the right to appeal
directly to the Information Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can
be contacted at:

The Case Reception Unit
Customer Service Team
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Further information about the Information Commissioner’s complaints
procedure can be found on the Information Commissioner’s Office website:
[1]http://www.ico.gov.uk/complaints/freedom...
Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2013/0003568. If
you need to respond to us, please visit [2]www.education.gov.uk/contactus,
and quote your reference number.

Yours sincerely,

Emma Hubball
Academies System Division
[email address]
[3]www.education.gov.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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2. http://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
3. http://www.education.gov.uk/

Department for Education

2 Attachments

Dear Mr McCallum,

 

Freedom of Information Request – Military Ethos in Schools

 

You wrote to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) with a complaint
about the way your Freedom of Information request was handled by our
Department. The ICO accepted this case for investigation and we have been
working with them to reconsider the way we handled this request.

 

We orginally received your request on 27 November 2012. You referred to
the following statement from our website: "Past experience from both the
military and education sector has demonstrated how these core values help
pupils to reach their academic potential and become well-rounded and
accomplished adults fully prepared for life beyond school." In relation to
this, you requested:

 

All documentation and/or correspondence used in formulation of this policy
that demonstrates those benefits outlined in the statement.

 

Most of the evidence we looked at in formulating this policy exists in the
public domain. On 21 December 2012, when we responded to your request, we
named the documents which were looked at in formulating the military ethos
policy and gave you details of where these can be found in the public
domain. We also released a document that was not in the public domian. We
explained that the Department does hold some additional information
relevant to your request, but in this case this was being withheld under
exemption Section 35 of the Freedom of Information Act, covering
information relating to the formulation and development of Government
policy and ministerial communications.

 

As part of the ICO’s investigation, we have reexamined your request and
have revised our position. The passage of time, and the increase of
information in the public domian, means the information is now less
sensitive. We are now content to release the previously withheld
information and it is attached with this email. 

 

We hope we have interpreted your request correctly; if you would like
further information please contact me. I understand that my colleague,
David Fugurally, has previously invited you to the Department to discuss
your concerns about military ethos policy; we are happy to extend this
invitation once more. We hope that the released information will satisfy
your request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

Emma Hubball

SRG Flexible Resource Unit  | System Reform Group

Tel: 02073408159 | x308159
www.education.gov.uk

[1]http://intranet/style%20library/IWP/imag...

 

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Owen Everett left an annotation ()

The information is not attached to the response, contrary to what the response says.

Owen Everett left an annotation ()

Correction: the attachment names documents that influenced the development of the Military Ethos in schools programme, but it does not give any indication of whether these can be accessed by the public (and if so, how).