- 30 Aug 2018
FOI reference: FOI/18/01978
Date received: 23 July 2018
Date responded: 21 August 2018
- Material held detailing the school-level use of Pupil Equity Funding (for example, this may include documents containing breakdowns or examples of items on which Pupil Equity Funding money has been spent).
- Any analysis of Pupil Equity Funding spending held by the Scottish Government.
Earlier this year we wrote to local authorities and asked them to submit an end year report of school level Pupil Equity Funding spend up to 31 March 2018. An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to this information because we intend to publish it within 12 weeks of the date of your request. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until it is published, and we will write and inform you once it is published.
[Update: this information is available on the Scottish Government website at /policies/schools/pupil-attainment/].
You will be aware that the Scottish Attainment Challenge Schools Programme schools are asked to submit annual proposals. The document is for proposed interventions using Schools Programme funds and as part of that proposal schools are asked “Please explain in no more than 250 words how these proposed activities – funded by the Schools Programme – complement your planned use of PEF”. I have therefore copied the responses from that question from each school in the Schools Programme from both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 proposals. They are enclosed in the email enclosing this response. A small number of redactions have been made under section 38(1)(b) where individuals could be identified from the information provided.
There are also various sources of published materials that may fall into the scope of your request. These are:
- Individual School Improvement Plans and Standards and Quality Reports - as set out in our National Operation Guidance (/publications/pupil-equity-fund-operational-guidance-2018/) schools are expected to incorporate details of their PEF use into existing planning and reporting processes and these plans and reports should be publicly available. More information on how to access these will be available from the responsible local authority.
We hold a number of 2017-18 reports on our files. These were found through a simple internet search when we sampled a small number of schools plans to inform the ongoing policy development of PEF. A list of the school plans we hold are enclosed in the Annex below.
- Local authority level reports – we wrote to local authorities and requested them to report on the use of PEF at a strategic level as part of their requirements under the Standards in Scotland’s Schools etc. Act 2000. These reports should also be published and publically available.
- Local level presentations on PEF - earlier this year, the Scottish Government funded and helped to organise a series of 7 national head teachers events. As part of these events, we invited local authorities to share practice via a series of workshops. The presentations from these workshops may contain information on school level use of PEF and can be accessed from the National Improvement Hub at https://education.gov.scot/improvement/practice-exemplars/SAC%20National%20Pupil%20Equity%20Fund%20Event.
- Evaluation of the Attainment Scotland Fund Interim Report (Years 1 and 2) – as part of this, the 2017 headteacher survey contained some questions on PEF. The published findings from this survey may contain information about the use of PEF and can be accessed at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/03/1892/downloads.
Reasons for not providing information
The ‘public interest test.’
The exception under section 27(1) of FOISA is 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 exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in the release of this information and this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure that the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published. Also, we see no public interest in disrupting our programme of work to release the information ahead of its publication.
Exemption 38 (1)(b) 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.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at https://www.gov.scot/foi-responses
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House