Finance and data

Freedom of information

The Freedom of Information Act requires all maintained schools to publish or adopt a scheme of what public information they hold, where they hold it and how it can be accessed by an interested member of the public. From January 2005 an individual has the right to a response from a request for information.

As schools are listed separately under the list of public authorities to whom the FOI act applies, you are responsible for dealing with FOI requests you receive directly. If you hold the information requested you should respond; the identity of the requester is immaterial.

Freedom of information act 2000 (ICO website)
The FOI Act came into effect on 1 January 2005. All public authorities, including schools, are required by law to process requests for information, normally within 20 working days

Freedom of information guide (ICO website)
The guide explains how to apply the Freedom of information Act, by giving practical examples and answering frequently asked questions.

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (GOV.UK)
The Freedom of Information Act legislation in full.

What schools must publish online

What maintained schools must publish online (GOV.UK)
The information that schools maintained by their local authorities must publish on their websites.

DfE statutory policies and other documents governing boards are required to have by law (EGfL governors toolkit document)

Templates for schools

Schools in England definition document
ICO: This guidance will be of most use to schools developing their own guide to information. Smaller schools may alternatively use the template guide to information for the schools sector:

Template guide to information for schools
ICO template is intended to assist smaller schools (and in particular primary and nursery schools) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to meet their publication scheme obligations.

How to complete the template guide to information for schools
ICO have produced a template guide to information for smaller schools to use. We intend that this will be particularly helpful for primary and nursery schools

Retention guidelines for schools

Retention guidelines for schools
The information management toolkit for schools has been created to assist schools to manage their information in line with the current legislative frameworks.

Exemptions to the right of access

Exemptions (word)
Exemptions to the right of access to information under the act.

When can we refuse a request for information? ICO website


For further information contact:

Freedom of information
Tel: 020 8825 8367

Was this page useful? 
Last updated: 01 Aug 2023