FOI22/23 047 Correspondence with Scottish Government regarding the grading of 2022 exams

Date published: 06/10/2022

FOI reference: 22/23 047

Date received: 10/08/2022

Date responded: 05/10/2022

Information requested

Please release 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


The information requested is contained within the attached documents.

However, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible SQA has withheld some information where exemption 30(b)(ii) – the free and frank exchange of views - applies. Where this exemption has been applied is indicated on the emails included in the attached documents.  The exemption applies because disclosure would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation.   The exemption recognises the need for individuals to have a private space within which to share advice and views with others before reaching a settled public position.   Disclosing the content would substantially inhibit the provision of advice and the exchange of views in the future.

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 have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of being an open, transparent, and accountable public body, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing a private space within which staff can provide free and frank advice and views to other staff.

Accordingly, the public interest in disclosing the information is outweighed by maintaining the exemption.

All the names of SQA staff below Head of Service level and non-SQA staff have also been redacted under section 38(1)(b).


FOI22/23 047 Consolidated Emails (2.06 MB)

FOI22/23 047 GIQ Text (69 KB)

FOI22/23 047 Update on Contingency Planning (10 KB)

FOI22/23 047 SQA Message for Centres (98 KB)

FOI22/23 047 Stakeholder Engagement Redacted (117 KB)

FOI22/23 047 ECCS Info for Centres (359 KB)

FOI22/23 047 AG Edits (76 KB)

FOI22/23 047 Response to Committee (135 KB)

FOI22/23 047 SG Questions Awarding and Grading 2022 Redacted (201 KB)

FOI22/23 047 Nat Qual Meeting Cabinet Secretary and Fiona Robertson SQA May 2022 (58 KB)

FOI22/23 047 Grade Boundaries (173 KB)

FOI22/23 047 2022 Media Briefing Slides (223 KB)