Information

Correspondence regarding class contact hours for Scottish teachers: FOI release

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


Information requested

All correspondence (emails, typed or handwritten notes, letters, phone calls, WhatsApp, Signal or SMS messages, documents or otherwise) involving the Scottish Government (Ministers, Special Advisers and Civil Servants) regarding proposals to reduce the number of class contact hours for Scottish teachers from the maximum of 22.5 hours per week to 21 hours per week.

This should include correspondence received from and sent to COSLA and/or individual local authorities, particularly in respect of potential difficulties raised by those organisations. I am interested in correspondence over the past 6 calendar months.

Response

I can confirm that the Scottish Government holds information falling within the scope of your request.

Exemptions under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) and section 30(b)(i) (the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation and advice) of FOISA apply to some of the information you have requested.

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 of individuals, 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.

An exemption under section 30(b)(ii) of FOISA (the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation and advice) applies to some of the information requested. This exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views.

The exemption at 30(b)(i) (free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation and advice) is a qualified exemption, which means it is subject to the public interest test. We have considered carefully whether the public interest lies in maintaining the exemptions or releasing the information. However, there is also a public interest in ensuring that officials and Ministers are able to engage in free and frank discussions that inform high quality policy development. Release of the exempt information would be likely to inhibit such free and frank discussions and result in less informed decision-making regarding this and other related key policy initiatives. This is particularly the case given that this remains a live area of policy development and implementation. On balance, we consider that the public interest test falls in favour of maintaining the exemptions.

About FOI

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.

FOI - 202200286686 - Information Released - Annex

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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