s.444(3)(C) Religious Observance

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Education,

s.444(3)(C) READS:
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(3)The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of his absence from the school—
(c)on any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which his parent belongs.
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Does the DfE have a calendar of all religious observance dates?

Does the DfE refer schools / LEA's to another source of information relating to religious observance dates? (IE: http://www.interfaithcalendar.org/2016.htm or http://www.catholic.org/calendar/june.php )

Does the DfE update LEA's with religious body lists?

Does the DfE hold a list of Religious bodies?

Does the DfE provide guidance relating to this defence?

If any of the above are to the affirmative, please provide the information

Can a religious body register with the DfE a list of all dates it has exclusively set apart? If so, please provide guidance on how such actions are to be taken.

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

Dear Department for Education,

Re
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Any update on my request? Can you please provide the Ref you have assigned to said request.

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

Dear Department for Education,

Why haven't you replied. Please review your failure to adhere to s.10 (1) s.17

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsall, 

Re: Case reference 2016-0029673

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 13 June 2016. You requested:

s.444(3)(C) READS:

=====

(3)The child shall not be taken to have failed to attend regularly at the school by reason of his absence from the school— (c)on any day exclusively set apart for religious observance by the religious body to which his parent belongs.

=====

Does the DfE have a calendar of all religious observance dates?

Does the DfE refer schools / LEA's to another source of information relating to religious observance dates? (IE: http://www.interfaithcalendar.org/2016.htm or http://www.catholic.org/calendar/june.php )

Does the DfE update LEA's with religious body lists?

Does the DfE hold a list of Religious bodies?

Does the DfE provide guidance relating to this defence?

If any of the above are to the affirmative, please provide the information

Can a religious body register with the DfE a list of all dates it has exclusively set apart? If so, please provide guidance on how such actions are to be taken.

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

The Department for Education does not have a calendar of all religious observance dates; nor does it refer schools and Local Education Authority (LEA) to another source for this information or update LEA’s with religious body lists. In addition the department does not hold a list of religious bodies.

The Department’s latest published guidance on school attendance which refers to religious observance (see page 11, Code R) and this can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy...

Religious bodies are not required to, and do not, register with the Department for Education a list of all dates they have exclusively set apart.

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,

Jasumati Pankhania 

School Attendance Team

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

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Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsall,

Re: Case reference 2016 – 0029673

We responded to your FoI request on 11 July, and provided you with the information you requested on religious observance.

Your FoI request was sent on Saturday 11 June 2016 at 12:04 and was logged on the department’s system as receipt date Monday 13 June as the request was sent outside working hours. The system automatically set a deadline date as Monday 11 July because the system does not count the date of receipt as one of the working days.

We will assume that you no longer wish us to proceed with an internal review of this case, unless you contact us to state otherwise.

Yours sincerely,

Jasumati Pankhania 
School Attendance Team

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

[https://www.education.gov.uk/images2/iri...

Dear Department for Education,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 's.444(3)(C) Religious Observance'.

Even if received outside of normal business hours, it is received on the date the message arrives with the DfE mail servers (the DfE is the data controller for it's mail servers).

DAY 1 was monday (Monday was not day 0).

You claim that the response was sent on 11th July, (which was late if it was sent), but it clearly has not arrived and therefore I would assume that you Dept made an error and it was not infact sent.

Your dept failed to note the ref of my request despite a request too.

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

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall

Department for Education

Dear Mr Pearsall,

I refer to your request for an internal review which was received on 13 July. You requested the following:

“Dear Department for Education,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Education's handling of my FOI request 's.444(3)(C) Religious Observance'.

Even if received outside of normal business hours, it is received on the date the message arrives with the DfE mail servers (the DfE is the data controller for it's mail servers).

DAY 1 was monday (Monday was not day 0).

You claim that the response was sent on 11th July, (which was late if it was sent), but it clearly has not arrived and therefore I would assume that you Dept made an error and it was not infact sent.

Your dept failed to note the ref of my request despite a request too.

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

Yours faithfully,

Wayne Pearsall”

The Department has now completed its internal review process and has carried out a thorough review of the case, chaired by a senior officer who was not involved with the original request. The outcome of this review is that the Department does not believe that it was in breach of section 10, ‘Time for compliance with request’ of the FOI Act. We believe that we have adhered to section 10 as the Department has followed the guidance provided by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Regarding when the ‘clock starts’ for requests received on weekends the Department has followed the example provided by the ICO on page 10 of the attached “ICO guidance on time compliance” i.e.

“A public authority which is closed at weekends receives a request on a Saturday. As the time for compliance only commences on the next working day, the clock will start on the following Monday.”

With this example in mind we consider that the receipt date of your request was the Monday, and that the ‘clock started’ on the same day, so allowing the Department 20 working days to respond after the date of receipt. We therefore consider that we responded within the specified 20 days.

You have also mentioned as part of your complaint that you did not receive our response of 11 July. When responding to FOI requests the Department will respond to the requester via the email/address through which the request was made. In this instance the request was made through the ‘Whatdotheyknow’ website and the Department responded directly to this site. I have checked the history of our correspondence (using the link you have provided i.e. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s... and there is a copy of our response of 11 July on this web page.

Finally, you have also highlighted that the Department did not respond to your request for a reference number for your FOI. I can confirm that we did fail to pick up and respond to this request and I would like to offer my apologies for this oversight and for any inconvenience caused.

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: https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...

Yours sincerely,

Jasumati Pankhania
School Attendance Team

Web: https://www.education.gov.uk<https://www.education.gov.uk/>
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

[https://www.education.gov.uk/images2/iri...

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