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Freedom of Information Act 2000

Page last updated: 23/05/2018

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoI) came fully into force on January 1 2005.  Under the Act, any person has a legal right to ask for access to information held by the school.  They are entitled to be told whether the school holds the information, and to receive a copy, subject to certain exemptions.

It is important to note that it is an offence to wilfully conceal, damage or destroy information in order to avoid responding to an enquiry, so it is important that no records that are the subject of an enquiry are amended or destroyed.
Requests under FoI can be addressed to anyone in the school; so all staff need to be aware of the process for dealing with requests.  Requests must be made in writing, (including email), and should include the enquirers name and correspondence address, and state what information they require.  They do not have to mention the Act, nor do they have to say why they want the information. 

There is a duty to respond to all requests, telling the enquirer whether or not the information is held, and supplying any information that is held, except where exemptions apply.  There is no need to collect data in specific response to an FoI enquiry.  There is a time limit of 20 days excluding school holidays for responding to the request.

All the guidance information contained on these pages has been developed by the Office of the Information Commissioner (Website available here: Data Protection and Freedom of Information advice ) who are the responsible authority for overseeing the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.

For full advice and guidance you can contact the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745. It's open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Or you can email them at

Their Textphone service is available between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Guide to the Freedom of Information Act

This guide explains your school’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, answers many frequently asked questions and gives practical examples to illustrate how to apply the Act in practice download a pdf version of the Guide​

Freedom of Information - General

Advice and Assistance

Codes of Practice

Confirm or Deny

Costs and Fees


• Section 21: information reasonably accessible to the applicant by other means 

• Section 22 & 22A: information intended for future publication and research information
• Section 23: security bodies 
• Section 24: safeguarding national security 
• How Section 23 and 24 interact 
• Section 26: defence 
• Section 27: international relations 
• Section 28: relations within the UK 
Section 29: the economy 
• Section 30: Investigations and proceedings 
• Section 31: law enforcement 
• Section 32: information contained in court records 
• Section 32: information contained in court transcripts 
• Section 33: public audit 
• Section 34: parliamentary privilege 
• Section 35: government policy 
• Section 36: effective conduct of public affairs 
• Section 36: record of the qualified person’s opinion 
• Section 37: communications with Her Majesty and the awarding of honours 
• Section 38: health and safety 
• Section 40: personal information 
• Section 40: access to information held in complaint files 
• Section 40: information exempt from the subject access right
• Section 40: neither confirm nor deny in relation to personal data 
• Section 40: personal data of both the requester and others 
• Section 40: requests for personal data about public authority employees 
• Section 41: information provided in confidence 
• Section 41: outsourcing and freedom of information 
• Section 42: legal professional privilege 
• Section 43: commercial interest 
• Section 43: commercial detriment of third parties 
• Section 43: public sector contracts 
• Section 44: prohibitions on disclosure 
• Public Contract Regulations​

Holding Information

Publication Schemes

Public Interest Test

• The public interest test 

• Information in the public domain (if some information is already publicly available)​

Refusing a Request

Request Handling

Time for Compliance

Vexatious or Repeated Requests