Steiner Waldorf school inspection autumn term 2019

Steiner Waldorf School Fellowship 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 partially successful.

Steiner Waldorf School Fellowship

Dear Department for Education,

I am writing to request, under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, email or other exchanges between the relevant ministers, the Department & Ofsted during the autumn term 2018 concerned with Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship member schools & the replacement by Ofsted of School Inspection Service for inspection of SWSF independent schools during that period. The period in question includes information about, leading to, or arising as a result of, inspection by Ofsted of five Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship member schools, The Iona School, Greenwich Steiner School, Michael House Steiner School, London Steiner School (also known as the Waldorf School of South West London) & Moorlands Waldorf Initiative.

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours faithfully,
Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship

MINISTERS, Department for Education

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship,

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 2019-0008013

Dear Department for Education,

I am writing to request, under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act, email or other exchanges between the relevant ministers, the Department & Ofsted during the autumn term 2018 concerned with Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship member schools & the replacement by Ofsted of School Inspection Service for inspection of SWSF independent schools during that period. The period in question includes information about, leading to, or arising as a result of, inspection by Ofsted of five Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship member schools, The Iona School, Greenwich Steiner School, Michael House Steiner School, London Steiner School (also known as the Waldorf School of South West London) & Moorlands Waldorf Initiative.

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Steiner Fellowship

Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 25
February 2019.

 

You requested:

 ‘email or other exchanges between the relevant ministers, the Department
& Ofsted during the autumn term 2018 concerned with Steiner Waldorf
Schools Fellowship member schools & the replacement by Ofsted of School
Inspection Service for inspection of SWSF independent schools during that
period. The period in question includes information about, leading to, or
arising as a result of, inspection by Ofsted of five Steiner Waldorf
Schools Fellowship member schools, The Iona School, Greenwich Steiner
School, Michael House Steiner School, London Steiner School (also known as
the Waldorf School of South West London) & Moorlands Waldorf Initiative’.

 

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 applies to your request:

 

Section 31 - the disclosure of the information in question could prejudice
the exercise by the public authority of its functions.

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 under the Act 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 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 24 April 2019.
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 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, which 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

 

Kaye Callaghan

Independent Education and Boarding Team

 

 

 

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

13 Attachments

Dear Steiner Fellowship

 

Thank you for your email about Steiner Waldorf Schools, which was received
on 25 February 2019.

 

You requested:

 

‘email or other exchanges between the relevant ministers, the Department &
Ofsted during the autumn term 2018 concerned with Steiner Waldorf Schools
Fellowship member schools & the replacement by Ofsted of School Inspection
Service for inspection of SWSF independent schools during that period. The
period in question includes information about, leading to, or arising as a
result of, inspection by Ofsted of five Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship
member schools, The Iona School, Greenwich Steiner School, Michael House
Steiner School, London Steiner School (also known as the Waldorf School of
South West London) & Moorlands Waldorf Initiative’. 

 

Further to my letter of 25 March 2019, the Department has considered
whether the public interest lies in disclosing or withholding the
information.

 

A copy of the information which can be disclosed is attached.

 

Part of the information is being withheld because the following exemption
applies to this information:

 

Section 31 - the disclosure of the information in question could prejudice
the exercise by the public authority of its functions.

The information is being withheld under section 31(1)(g), 31(2)(a) and
31(2)(c) of the Act. This is because disclosure of the information would
be likely to prejudice the exercise by any public authority of its
functions for any of the purposes specified in subsection (2), and in
particular, the purpose of ascertaining whether circumstances which would
justify regulatory action in pursuance of any enactment, exist, or may
arise.

 

Section 31 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.

 

The Department recognises the general public interest in openness and
transparency and being able to hold public authorities to account.
However, it is also in the public interest that disclosing this type of
information has the potential to prejudice any regulatory action the
Department may take. There is a strong public interest in effectively
investigating here given that regulatory non-compliance concerns children.

 

The Department also considers that the paramount public interest lies in
ensuring the welfare of children and young people in schools and this
depends on professionals being able to establish all the relevant
information confidentially. Disclosure which could lead to the demand in
future cases of information held on settings that are being investigated
would put the effectiveness of the inspections of those settings, which
are undertaken at no notice, at risk. This in turn would have an adverse
effect on any investigation of the circumstances of the case and whether
regulatory action is necessary. In the Department’s view the balance of
public interest falls clearly in favour of withholding the information.

 

Some information has been redacted as we have applied section 40(2) of the
Act. This is because the information in question includes 3^rd party
personal data. Personal data is that which relates to a living individual
who can be identified from that data, or from that data and other
information, which is likely to be in, or to come into, the possession of
the requester. Disclosure of this information would be considered unfair
under the Data Protection Act/General Data Protection Regulation 2018. By
that, we mean the likely expectations of the data subject that his or her
information would not be disclosed to others and the effect which
disclosure would have on the data subject. Section 40(2) is an absolute
exemption and is not subject to the public interest test.

 

A letter from the Secretary of State to HM Chief Inspector on 15 November
2018 provides some relevant background information on the inspection of
Steiner schools. A copy of the letter is available to view [1]here.

 

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
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Most documents produced by a government department or agency will be
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Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information
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Property Office’s website at [4]www.ipo.gov.uk.

 

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 faithfully

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

Dr Peter Swift

Independent Education Division

 

 

 

 

 

References

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