Correspondence Relating to Exam Results 2021

Date published: 11/01/2023

FOI reference: 21/21 057

Date received: 13/08/2021

Date responded: 05/01/2023

Information requested

Any correspondence including but not limited to emails, letters, texts, WhatsApp messages or internal messaging apps such as Gchat and details of meetings including agendas, minutes, notes, handouts, attendance lists, location, and purpose, on the topic of the SQA exam results for 2021 to and from the Scottish Government and the SQA between July 13 to date.

Response

The information requested is enclosed within the attached documents. Please note that due to the number of documents to attach, these will be sent in 2 emails. The first

However, some information has been redacted as this is considered exempt.

The names and personal information of SQA staff below Head of Service level and staff from other organisations have been redacted under section 38(1)(a) as it is considered to be personal information.

Other information has been redacted under section 30 (b)(ii) of the Act which states:

30        Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs

Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act—

(b) would, or would be likely to, inhibit substantially—

(i) the free and frank provision of advice; or

(ii) the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of deliberation; or

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. 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 seek advice and views from 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 will be an 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 officials can provide free and frank advice and views to other officials.

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.

Other information is considered out of scope of the request and has been redacted, where noted in the documents.

Documents:

Exec 1 - EMT Email Index List (18 KB)

Exec 2 - Collated Emails (6.40 MB)

Exec 3 - Attainment Rate Summary (42 KB)

Exec 4 - Transcript of Interview with Shirley-Anne Somerville (81 KB)

Exec 5 - National Coverage Press Cuttings (7.36 MB)

Exec 6 - Education Recovery Group Agenda (74 KB)

Exec 7 - Results 2021  (346 KB)

Meet 1 - Meetings Attachments Index (17 KB)

Meet 2 - Meetings Log and Agendas (114 KB)

Meet 3 - Presentation for Meeting with Shirley-Anne Somerville (2.38 MB)

Stats 1 - Statistics Attachments Index (18 KB)

Stats 2 - Collated Emails (562 KB)

Stats 3 - Pupil Cohort (28 KB)

Stats 4 - Principles for Sharing Provisional Results (115 KB)

Stats 5 - Individual Confidentiality Agreement  (84 KB)

Stats 6 - Exam Diet 2021 Briefing Pre-release (27 KB)

Stats 7 - A-C Volumes 1999-2021 (23 KB)