All communication between the Scottish Government (ministers, special advisers, staff from education-focused directorates) and the SQA regarding the grading of 2022 exams. To be clear, this would include discussions / information related to grade boundaries, pass rates, attainment gaps, and likely public/media response to any of those.
I enclose some of the information you requested.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under sections 30(b)(ii) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation), 25(1) (Information otherwise accessible) or 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.
Exemptions under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (free and frank exchange of views) apply to some of the information requested. These exemptions apply because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank provision of advice and exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation, as part of relationships which remain vital in supporting the delivery of qualifications through the Covid-19 pandemic.
These exemptions are subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemptions. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemptions.
We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which issues can be explored and refined to enable the Government as a whole to reach a decision that is sound and likely to be effective, particularly while the importance of the advice from these relationships continues to have a bearing on how qualifications are affected by Covid-19 going forward. This private thinking space also allows for all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken.
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.
Some of the information you have requested is available from https://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/nq2022-awarding-methodology-report.pdf
Under section 25(1) of FOISA, we do not have to give you information which is already reasonably accessible to you. If, however, you do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you a paper copy.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
- File type
- 13 page PDF
- File size
- 769.8 kB
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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