The Legal Right for Parents to Defer School Start for 4yr olds

D. Delaney made this Freedom of Information request to North Lanarkshire Council Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was successful.

Dear North Lanarkshire Council,

1. Please provide information on the policy and procedures that the council are using to
a) monitor
b) track
(as discussed in the September 2023 education, children and families committee)

the progress of children who defer school start (P1)
* this will include eligible 4yr olds and 5yr olds

2. Please provide information on the work of the Deferral Working Group since it's creation until today including
a)the groups aims and objectives
b)the groups membership (including names and job titles)
c) minutes from all working group meetings
d) emails and any other communication between the working group and parents/ families in North Lanarkshire Council

3. Please provide all emails and correspondence between the head of education, council officers and local councillors on
a) council policy on a parents legal right to defer their 4yr old
b) reports on deferring 4yr old children in North Lanarkshire Council
c) statistics about or relating to school deferrals

From October 2022 to October 2023

4) Please provide details on the budget received to North Lanarkshire Council from the Scottish Government for early learning and childcare and primary education
b) how much of the budget is allocated to 1140hrs
c) how much is spent on 1140hrs
d) how much is allocated for P1 deferral
e) how much has been spent on P1 deferral

from October 2021 - October 2023

4) Please provide information on all formats and methods of communication sent to
a) children, parents and families
b) local authority staff
c) PVI staff

on a parents legal right to defer school start for their 4yr old child
from October 2022 - October 2023

Yours faithfully,

D. Delaney

Neil McKay, North Lanarkshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam

 

I acknowledge receipt of your email which is receiving attention.

 

I shall contact you again when I am in a position to respond more fully to
your request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Neil McKay

Freedom of Information Co-ordinator

North Lanarkshire Council

Legal and Democratic

Please contact by email

 

 

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Jacqueline Keachie, North Lanarkshire Council

1 Attachment

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Request for Information

 

I refer again to your email dated 8 October 2023 seeking information under
the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

 

Having investigated,  my response to your questions is as follows:-

 

Question 1

 

All children and families who request a statutory deferred year
(mid-August to 28/29 February) and discretionary entry, where there is
exceptional circumstances (March to mid-August) to primary 1 are recorded
on our Nursery Application Management system.

 

In North Lanarkshire Council we strive to provide high quality early
learning and childcare provision significantly to enhance children’s
progress and achievement as they grow and learn. In line with expectations
and guidance from Education Scotland and Care Inspectorate all children’s
learning and developed is monitored and tracked within their ELC placement
to ensure their progressed is secured in the following areas:

 

• Progress in communication, early language, mathematics and health and
wellbeing
• Children’s progress over time
• Overall quality of children’s achievement
• Ensuring equity for all children

 

In accordance with Deferred Entry legislation, National guidance relating
to Education Scotland and Care Inspectorate, these approaches should be
consistent across Local Authorities.

 

In August 2023 NLC launched a new Transition Policy to ensure transitions
from one setting to another are consistent and targeted at supporting
children’s individual needs, based on  a universal, additional and
intensive level of support.  This includes transitions from nursery to
primary 1.

 

Question 2

 

Please find attached information identified, adjusted to exclude anything
which constitutes personal data in respect of which disclosure would
contravene the Data Protection principals and that this constitutes a
ground of absolute exemption in terms of Section 38(1)(b) of the Freedom
of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.  The details edited from the document
are the names of individuals.

 

Question 3 & 5

 

I can advise that the information you seek is already in the public domain and
Section 25 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 provides an
absolute exemption for information which is already

accessible.

 

In order to assist you this information can be accessed on the Council's
website at:-

 

[1]CMIS > Committees > Education, Children and Families Committee

 

[2]Deferred entry to primary school - updated guidance for session
2023-2024 | North Lanarkshire Council

 

Question 4

 

Establishment budgets within North Lanarkshire Council are allocated per
the Council's approved DSM Scheme. 
 

Budgets are set for the financial year, running 1st April to 31st March.
The opening budgets for 2022/23 were:-

 

  2022/23  
ELC      53,067,418
Primary    128,365,625  

 

 
The Council has been operating full 1140 hours service provision since the
21/22 academic session, therefore, all ELC budgets are considered as part
of 1140 hours provision. In 2022/23,

the actual spend was £53.8m

 

There is no additional funding or separate budgets for P1 deferral. The
associated costs are met from ELC budgets.

 

For the academic year, August 2022 – July 2023 this totalled £2.3m with
the associated costs based on the 1140 hours and meals provision during
this time.

 

 

I can advise that North Lanarkshire Council, having regard to the
provisions of Section 21 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act
2002, has established a procedure whereby any person who has requested
information and is in any way dissatisfied with the decision on that
request, can within forty working days require a review of that decision
by writing to the Chief Officer of Legal and Democratic, Civic Centre,
Windmillhill Street, Motherwell ML1 1AB.  Accordingly, if you are
dissatisfied with this decision and seek such review please write to the
Chief Officer of Legal and Democratic.

 

I would advise, also, that in terms of Section 47 of the Act a person who
is dissatisfied with a notice given by the local authority under Section
21 of the Act - ie. a notice following a review of a decision by a local
authority, or by the failure of a local authority to give such a notice -
may make application to the Scottish Information Commissioner for a
decision as to whether, in any respect specified in that application, the
request for information to which the requirement relates has been dealt
with in accordance with the Act.  Such an application must be made within
six months of the review decision and be in writing or in another form
which, by reason of it having some permanency is capable of being used for
subsequent reference. The application must state the name of the
applicant, and provide an address for correspondence. The application must
also specify the request for information to which the requirement for
review relates, the matter which gave rise to the applicant’s
dissatisfaction with the original decision of the local authority and the
matter which gives rise to the applicant’s dissatisfaction with the
decision on review by the local authority or the failure of the local
authority to issue such a decision.  The Scottish Information Commissioner
can be contacted as follows:-

 

Scottish Information Commissioner

Kinburn Castle

Doubledykes Road

St. Andrews

KY16  9DS

email: [3][email address]

 

Appeals to the Scottish Information Commissioner can also be made online
via the following link: -

 

[4]www.itspublicknowledge.info/Appeal

 

I hope this information is sufficient for your purpose.  If, however, you
require further information – or I can assist in any other way – please
let me know.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Jacqueline Keachie

For Freedom of Information Co-ordinator

North Lanarkshire Council

Contact by email

 

From: Neil McKay
Sent: Monday, October 9, 2023 10:31 AM
To: D. Delaney <[FOI #1035911 email]>
Subject: RE: Freedom of Information request - The Legal Right for Parents
to Defer School Start for 4yr olds

 

Dear Sir / Madam

 

I acknowledge receipt of your email which is receiving attention.

 

I shall contact you again when I am in a position to respond more fully to
your request.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Neil McKay

Freedom of Information Co-ordinator

North Lanarkshire Council

Legal and Democratic

Please contact by email

 

 

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Dear North Lanarkshire Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of North Lanarkshire Council's handling of my FOI request 'The Legal Right for Parents to Defer School Start for 4yr olds'.

My Freedom of Information request consisted of 5 questions with subquestions to each. I am grateful for the information provided. However, I am not satisfied with the response to some of the subsection questions. Therefore, I request an internal review on the response to the following questions:

1. Please provide information on the policy and procedures that the council are using to
a) monitor
b) track
(as discussed in the September 2023 education, children and families committee)

The FOI response from NLC provides details the policy guidance and requirements in relation to monitoring and tracking. However, the response is not clear in relation to the procedures, how monitoring and tracking is conducted in relation to

• Progress in communication, early language, mathematics and health and
wellbeing
• Children’s progress over time
• Overall quality of children’s achievement
• Ensuring equity for all children

What are the procedures for monitoring and tracking of each of these areas? The response also refers to "monitored and tracked within their ELC placement". Therefore I am seeking clarity that the monitoring and tracking ends in ELC and does not continue as the child transitions into primary school. I noted in my original FOI that this question is specifically in relation to the discussion that took place at the September Education, Children and Families Committee meeting where the discussion stated there would be monitoring and tracking of deferred children.

2. Please provide information on the work of the Deferral Working Group since it's creation until today including
c) minutes from all working group meetings
d) emails and any other communication between the working group and parents/ families in North Lanarkshire Council

The FOI response provided information in relation to question 2. a) and b), however, there are no minutes provided in the FOI response. Therefore, I am seeking clarification that there are no minutes from any of the Deferral Working Group meetings since 2021?

The FOI response does not provide details of emails and communications between the Deferral Working Group and parents/ families in North Lanarkshire. Therefore, it is not clear whether this is because the Deferral Working Group never communicated with parents/ families in North Lanarkshire or not. Can this be clarified?

3. Please provide all emails and correspondence between the head of education, council officers and local councillors on
a) council policy on a parents legal right to defer their 4yr old
b) reports on deferring 4yr old children in North Lanarkshire Council
c) statistics about or relating to school deferrals
From October 2022 to October 2023

The FOI response states that email and other correspondence between the head of education, council officers and local councillors are in the public domain. The FOI response signposts me to Committee meeting minutes. The committee meeting minutes do not contain details of emails and correspondence on the matters set out below. The request is for email and other communications between the key people stated in the question between October 2022 - October 2023 about
a) council policy on a parents legal right to defer their 4yr old
b) reports on deferring 4yr old children in North Lanarkshire Council
c) statistics about or relating to school deferrals

To make clear, I am asking about internal communications between senior council officers, council officers and elected representatives on the 3 points.

4) Please provide details on the budget received to North Lanarkshire Council from the Scottish Government for early learning and childcare and primary education
e) how much has been spent on P1 deferral

The FOI response does not provide specific information on how much the local authority spent on funding P1 deferrals between October 2021 - October 2023.

4) Please provide information on all formats and methods of communication sent to
a) children, parents and families
b) local authority staff
c) PVI staff
on a parents legal right to defer school start for their 4yr old child
from October 2022 - October 2023

The last question was labelled question 4 on my original FOI, but it should be Q.5 - apologies for this typo.
This question asks for information sent to children, parents, families, local authority staff and PVI staff . I cannot see this information recorded in the FOI response. Therefore I am not clear if this means no information was sent to parents, local authority staff or PVI staff, or what information was sent to them. The FOI response signposts to the website, however this is not what I am asking. The specific question is about communications sent directly to the three groups of people outlined above.

The time period October 2022 - October 2023 has been selected because the new law change was brought in at this point. Therefore, I am asking about the communications sent to stakeholders at this specific time.

Thank you

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

Yours faithfully,

D. Delaney

Neil McKay, North Lanarkshire Council

Dear Sir / Madam

I acknowledge receipt of your request for review.

You will be contacted again when we are in a position to respond more
fully to your review.

Yours sincerely    

 

 

Neil McKay

Freedom of Information Co-ordinator

North Lanarkshire Council

Legal and Democratic

Please contact by email

 

 

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Collette Crainie, North Lanarkshire Council

Good afternoon Ms Delaney,

 

I hope you are well.

 

I refer to your email below in which you sought a review to your original
FOI request. I am one of the data protection solicitors within the
Council’s Information Governance team and I am responsible for carrying
out the FOI/ EIR review requests that the Council receives.

 

I am aware that the response to your review is due today (4 December),
however, I will, unfortunately, not be in a position to provide you with a
response today as anticipated. I am still waiting on some final responses
to your points from the Education service to allow me to fully and
adequately respond to your request for review. I have asked that the
service make this a priority and I am hopeful that I will be in a position
to provide you with our response by the beginning of next week. I hope
that this is acceptable to you.

 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Kind regards,

 

Collette Crainie

 

Collette Crainie| Solicitor| Regulation and Governance| Legal and
Democratic Solutions| North Lanarkshire Council| Civic Centre,
Windmillhill Street, Motherwell, ML1 1AB

 

Email: [1][email address]

 

Please note I am currently working from home.

 

Any information or advice contained in this email may be legally
privileged and must not be passed to a third party.

 

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Dear Collette Crainie,

Thank you for this information, I appreciate this update and look forward to hearing from you next week.

Yours sincerely,

D. Delaney

Collette Crainie, North Lanarkshire Council

Good afternoon Ms Delaney,

I refer to my email below. By way of an update, the service have now responded to the last of my queries and I have drafted our review decision. This is with the principal solicitor for sign off after which a copy of this will be issued to you. I anticipate that you will receive this before close of play tomorrow.

Thank you once again for your patience on this matter.

Kind regards,

Collette

Collette Crainie| Solicitor| Regulation and Governance| Legal and Democratic Solutions| North Lanarkshire Council| Civic Centre, Windmillhill Street, Motherwell, ML1 1AB

Email: [email address]

Please note I am currently working from home.

Any information or advice contained in this email may be legally privileged and must not be passed to a third party.

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Collette Crainie, North Lanarkshire Council

1 Attachment

Good afternoon Ms Delaney,

I refer to the below and now attach a copy of the Council's review response in respect of your recent Freedom of Information request.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about this.

Kind regards,

Collette

Collette Crainie| Solicitor| Regulation and Governance| Legal and Democratic Solutions| North Lanarkshire Council| Civic Centre, Windmillhill Street, Motherwell, ML1 1AB

Email: [email address]

Please note I am currently working from home.

Any information or advice contained in this email may be legally privileged and must not be passed to a third party.

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