Report from GL Assesment in OSA determination to Altrincham grammar school for boys

The request was successful.

Dear Office of the Schools Adjudicator,

Please could you send me the report by GL Assessment referred to in the ruling you made to
Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, Trafford on 26 June 2014, referenced here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

I believe this is a report dated 9 May 2014 referring to English or alternative tests of grammar school ability. This matters to me and my friends who have an interest in English test papers deciding grammar school admissions in our area. I hope you can help as we can not ask GL Assesment as they are not eligible for FOI, and we see the school was asked in another request but refused the request.

As your ruling used this report to make an important decision about English papers used for school admissions I hope you will help us see the information about this.

Yours faithfully,

Joanne Bartley

Office of the Schools Adjudicator

1 Attachment

Thank you for your email which has been logged. A member of the team will respond within 15 working days.

Office of the Schools Adjudicator
Bishopsgate House
Feethams, Darlington
DL1 5QE

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/offi...
[Description: OSA Header]

Office of the Schools Adjudicator

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Bartley

Please find attached letter confirming receipt of your FOI request.

Clare Jenkinson

Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)
Bishopsgate House
Feethams, Darlington
DL1 5QE
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

Clare Jenkinson

Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)
Bishopsgate House
Feethams, Darlington
DL1 5QE
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

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Office of the Schools Adjudicator

1 Attachment

Dear Ms Bartley

Please find attached letter dated 12 July in response to your request below.

Yours sincerely

Alison Ellsworth
Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)
Bishopsgate House
Feethams, Darlington
DL1 5QE

Tel: 01325 340525
Email: [email address]
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

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Dear Office of the Schools Adjudicator,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Office of the Schools Adjudicator's handling of my FOI request 'Report from GL Assesment in OSA determination to Altrincham grammar school for boys'.

I would appreciate a review. Or, if the decision is upheld, I would like further explanation of the exemptions you used to prevent me seeing the information in the report.

You stated this was a Section 41 exemption due to a potential breach of confidence.

I think there are key points in the ICO guidance on this examption that apply in this case. https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisatio...

This states that if the requested information is commercial in nature then the disclosure will only constitute a breach of confidence if it would have a detrimental impact on the confider.

I am not clear whose confidence is breached by the provision of this report? I asked to see a report by test company GL Assessment which discusses the advantages or disadvantages of English papers as a way to determine selective school entry. The report was written by GL Assessment for the school and the OSA. I do not feel either the school or the OSA have a confidence that could be harmed by disclosure of the contents of this report. I am not clear what detriment there would be to anyone if this was revealed.

The confidence of GL Assesment, who provided the report, is covered by their commercial interests (section 43) so their trade secrecy or commercial confidentiality can not be part of this exemption.

The ICO state any court action 'must be likely to succeed' based on harm to the confider. I can not see the confider in this case triggering legal action, because there is no detriment caused to any confider by disclosure of confidential information.

The ICO also state there is no public interest test as such with this exemption, but that it must be considered whether the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in maintaining the confidence.

In this case the report written by GL Assessment reviewed whether children with English as an Additional Language (EAL), children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) or Dyslexic pupils may be at a disadvantage in a test for school entry that contains English and Verbal Reasoning (VR) papers.

As many children have English not as a first language, SEN or dyslexia there seems a clear public interest in revealing a report that discusses whether certain admissions tests are fair for these children. This is particularly the case because admissions similar to this school's exist in many other schools. Parents of EAL, SEN or dyslexic children have an interest in knowing if the school entry test may disadvantage their child if it contains English or VR.

If this report shows such admissions are unfair, and describes why, then this information would allow parents to make a qualified judgement about whether to appeal against similar admissions at other schools. In this case the report evidence was read by the adjudicator, and the appeal was upheld. This suggests the report contains evidence that may lead to other English and VR tests being challenged.

The reasons in the report seem to have led to a ruling that this school's admissions were unfair. As disclosing the information may help to remove other unfair admissions I feel this must be in the public interest.

You also used the Section 43 exemption, 'prejudice to the commercial interests of any person. '

In this case the person it may prejudice is GL Assessment who might wish to protect their business which involves setting tests for selective school entry. Yet section 43 is a qualified exemption and subject to a public interest test.

I would like an explanation of why you feel the information contained in this report is not in the public interest? The reasons stated earlier apply here too. This report was used to prove unfairness in school admissions. Yet many similar school admissions are ongoing, and it must be in the public interest to have complete information about why specific admission tests may be unfair. Tests defining children's school admissions serve an important function to the public. If this report suggests sections of the public are disadvantaged by certain school tests then it is in the public interest to know this. These tests could then be challenged and improved in other schools where they currently operate.

If this report remains confidential no one will know why the english test at this school was unfair, and other english tests will continue to exist in many schools because the public don't have access to the full facts.

I hope you will look again at this decision and consider the public interest in allowing others to see this potentially important report.

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

Yours faithfully,

Joanne Bartley

Office of the Schools Adjudicator

1 Attachment

Thank you for your email which has been logged. A member of the team will respond within 15 working days.

Office of the Schools Adjudicator
Bishopsgate House
Feethams, Darlington
DL1 5QE

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/offi...
[Description: OSA Header]

Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Dear Ms Bartley,

I write further to your email below and apologise for the delay in responding.

On reviewing the OSA's response to your request I noted that we had not contacted GL Assessment as the information holder about your request. I have written to GL Assessment about your request and received a response from the Business Development Manager on 3 August confirming GL Assessment's position that the information requested was exempt under sections 41 - confidentiality; and section 43 - commercial interests.

I note your request for an independent review of the handling of your request for information which will be undertaken by officials in the Department for Education (DfE) as the OSA's sponsor department. I have passed on all relevant communications to officials in the School Organisation & Admissions Division at the DfE for review. I understand DfE officials will contact you directly on the outcome of the review once it is completed.

Yours sincerely

Wilf Fleming
Secretary
 
Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)
Bishopsgate House, Feethams, Darlington DL1 5QE
Tel: 01325 340402
www.gov.uk/government/organisations/offi...
 

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Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Dear Ms Bartley,

Further to my email of 9 August below, I have received confirmation from the FOI Officer at the Department for Education that it would not be appropriate for the Department to undertake a review of the OSA's handing of your request for information. As an independent authority the FOI Act requires the OSA to conduct its own review of responses made to requests for information.

I have therefore forwarded all relevant communications and papers to the Chief Schools Adjudicator, Ms Shan Scott, who will review the case and will let you know the outcome as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Wilf Fleming
Secretary

Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)
Bishopsgate House, Feethams, Darlington DL1 5QE
Tel: 01325 340402
www.gov.uk/government/organisations/offi...

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Dear Office of the Schools Adjudicator,

Thank you for your reply, and for asking the Chief Schools Adjudicator, Ms Shan Scott, to look at this request. Is there any progress with this internal review?

I feel that the fairness and suitability of 11 plus tests is extremely relevant now that the government is proposing expanding their use. I hope that you will decide it is in the public interest to make this report public.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours faithfully,

Joanne Bartley

TEAM, OSA, Office of the Schools Adjudicator

1 Attachment

Thank you for your email which has been logged.  A member of the team will
respond within 15 working days.  

 

 

Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Bishopsgate House

Feethams, Darlington

DL1 5QE

 

[1]www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-schools-adjudicator

[2]Description: OSA Header

 

References

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TEAM, OSA, Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Dear Ms Bartley,

Thank you for your email below. I am sorry but the review of the response to your request for information is continuing and I apologise for the delay in providing a substantive response.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Wilf Fleming
Secretary
 
Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)
Bishopsgate House, Feethams, Darlington DL1 5QE
Tel: 01325 340532

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/offi...
 

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Dear OSA,

Thank you for the update. The internal review request was submitted on 12th July, and I would appreciate news of how long this is likely to take to complete? I understand the recommended time for reviews is 20 working days.

I feel this may be a situation where I need to bring in the Information Commissioner's Office who is likely to have a more thorough understanding on the correct application of commercial confidentiality in this case.

I do hope that you might be able to help by completing the review as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Joanne Bartley

TEAM, OSA, Office of the Schools Adjudicator

1 Attachment

Thank you for your email which has been logged.  A member of the team will
respond within 15 working days.  

 

 

Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Bishopsgate House

Feethams, Darlington

DL1 5QE

 

[1]www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-schools-adjudicator

[2]Description: OSA Header

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-schools-adjudicator

TEAM, OSA, Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Dear Ms Bartley,

I refer to your email below dated 12 October 2016.

First, I must apologise for the delay in concluding the review of your request for information. It has been necessary to consult with the data holder, GL Assessment, and test the legal requirement which has taken some time and has not yet concluded.

I will aim to provide you with a substantive reply as soon as possible and thank you once again for your patience in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Wilf Fleming
Secretary
 
Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)
Bishopsgate House, Feethams, Darlington DL1 5QE
Tel: 01325 340532

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/offi...
 

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Dear OSA Team,

As this request for an internal review was submitted on July 12, I am concerned that there is still no decision. Could you please give me a fixed date by which time this information will be provided?

I would appreciate you giving me this date within the next two days please. I do thank you for the updates, and understand that have to deal with GL Assesment and discuss legal matters, but I will be reassured that progress is being made if you can give me a set date by which time the internal review will be completed.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Joanne Bartley

TEAM, OSA, Office of the Schools Adjudicator

1 Attachment

Thank you for your email which has been logged.  A member of the team will
respond within 15 working days.  

 

 

Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Bishopsgate House

Feethams, Darlington

DL1 5QE

 

[1]www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-schools-adjudicator

[2]Description: OSA Header

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-schools-adjudicator

TEAM, OSA, Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Dear Ms Bartley,

Thank you for your email below and your continuing patience in this matter.

I am sorry but I am unable to provide you a completion date at this time. As noted in my email of 17 October, I am in correspondence with GL Assessment regarding the review and have been checking the legal position. Following a further response from GL Assessment received on 13 October, I wrote to them again on 19 October and await their reply.

Please be assured I have asked for an early response from GL Assessment and once I have that, Ms Scott will complete her review and will send you a substantive reply at the earliest opportunity.

Yours sincerely

Wilf Fleming
Secretary
 
Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)
Bishopsgate House, Feethams, Darlington DL1 5QE
Tel: 01325 340532

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/offi...
 

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TEAM, OSA, Office of the Schools Adjudicator

1 Attachment

Dear Mrs Bartley,

Further to my email below, I can now confirm that GL Assessments have agreed that we can release the report (attached).

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Yours sincerely

Wilf Fleming
Secretary

Office of the Schools Adjudicator (OSA)
Bishopsgate House, Feethams, Darlington DL1 5QE
Tel: 01325 340532

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/offi...

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Dear Wilf and the OSA Team,

I am very grateful for your efforts to obtain permission to send me this report, and the updates on the progress throughout. I'm also glad that GL Assesment decided this should be in the public domain after all.

Thanks you.

Yours sincerely,

Joanne Bartley

TEAM, OSA, Office of the Schools Adjudicator

1 Attachment

Thank you for your email which has been logged.  A member of the team will
respond within 15 working days.  

 

 

Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Bishopsgate House

Feethams, Darlington

DL1 5QE

 

[1]www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-schools-adjudicator

[2]Description: OSA Header

 

References

Visible links
1. file:///tmp/www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-schools-adjudicator

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