Glow - Active users and costs: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

You asked the following:

How many pupils and staff around Scotland are active glow users?

How much does glow cost the Scottish Government/ Education Scotland, per year?

And, What is the cost of glow to the Scottish Government/ Education Scotland, per year, per individual user?


Glow Accounts

Education Scotland manages and provides Glow for Glow Customers, the organisations who sign up to use Glow. Currently there are 143 Glow Customers which include local authorities, independent schools, Initial Teacher Education universities, colleges offering Early Learning and Childcare qualifications and national organisations involved in education. At 30 October 2020, there were currently 625,269 active Glow accounts across all Glow Customers and they are broken down in the table below. (Please note that Glow accounts can be added or removed by Glow Customers at any time).

October 2020
Teaching staff 77,985
Non-teaching staff 47,306
Students 499,658
Other 320
TOTAL 625,269

Glow annual costs

Glow is funded by the Scottish Government as part of the Digital Learning and Teaching programme. The money spent on contracted services for Glow is published in Education Scotland’s annual accounts in the section “Notes to the financial statements” which you will find here:

The annual accounts for 2019-20 will be published in the next 12 weeks and it will include the cost of contracted services for Glow. In addition the total cost for staff working on Glow in 2019-20 is just over £2m and includes permanent staff, secondees, contractors and agency staff. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information requested because an exemption under section 27(1), information intended for future publication, of FOISA applies. The reason why this exemption applies is explained in Annex A.

Annex A - Reasons for not providing information
Section 27(1) – information intended for future publication

An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies because the cost of contracted services for Glow will be included in the annual accounts for 2019-20, which we intend to publish within 12 weeks of the date of your request.  We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release this information before the planned publication date.

This exemption 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 recognise that there is some public interest in release with regard to transparency but the information requested will be met by our planned publication schedule, following our regular approvals process and our statutory duty to lay our annual accounts in Parliament before they are published.  There is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure the information has been properly collated, checked and approved before it is published as planned.  We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. 

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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