The 2020 exam grading system provoked a significant number of statutory requests made by students wanting access information relating to their assessment grades, rankings and related personal data. Schools and colleges that are public authorities also received Freedom of Information requests from journalists and other parties querying the operation and robustness of the process.

We anticipate that students and other interested parties will seek access to information about teacher assessed and centre assessed grades this year in a similar way. Understandably, educational establishments are once again concerned about the likely volume of requests being made in a short space of time.

In response, Stone King’s information law team has produced two guides to help. Firstly, it has updated its practical guide for educational establishments receiving subject access requests in relation to 2021 assessment grades. Secondly, it has produced a separate practical guide on Freedom of Information Act requests.

Stone King Guide: Handling subject Access Requests

Stone King’s practical guide on handling a SAR in the context of the summer 2021 assessments contains detailed guidance, template responses, FAQs and key tips.

Developed by specialist Information lawyers, this guidance pack includes:

  • How to identify if the SAR is legally valid.

  • An overview of your legal obligations as a controller including time limits for responding to a SAR and circumstances in which those time limits can be extended; how to approach requests made by parents on behalf of students; dealing with “bulk” requests made by multiple students in close proximity to each other; verifying identity of the requestor and requesting clarification of a request.

  • How to identify personal data in the context of handling a SAR.

  • An overview of some of the most applicable legal exemptions from the right of access under the Data Protection Act 2018.

  • Various templates to be adapted for use where a SAR is received, including an acknowledgement of receipt and a substantive response to a SAR.

  • Practical tips on effectively dealing with a SAR.

  • Answers to questions such as “Can we extend the deadline for dealing with the SAR?” “Will anonymised or pseudonymised information be exempt from a SAR?”.

Stone King Guide: Handling Freedom of Information Act Requests

Stone King’s specialist information law team has also produced practical guidance for educational establishments that are subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) regime.

This guidance pack covers:

  • An overview of your legal obligations under the FOIA including: identifying a valid FOIA request; time limits for responding to a request; how to deal with an unclear or ambiguous request; how to respond to an FOIA request (including the format in which information should be disclosed to the requester); and charging for providing information.

  • Refusing a request – an overview of some of the most relevant legal exemptions under the FOIA in the context of requests relating to assessments, including the process of refusing a request on the grounds of costs and the legal duty to provide advice and assistance to the requester.

  • A template refusal notice that may be used where information is being withheld under an exemption.

  • Frequently asked questions – we answer the commonly asked questions that we have received in connection with FOIA requests about assessments.

Please note, the FOIA only applies to certain types of educational establishments (such as maintained schools, academy trusts, and certain types of universities and colleges) and does not apply to independent schools.



Standard fee

Discounted fee *

SARs practical guide



FOIA practical guide



Bundle: SARs practical guide + FOIA practical guide

£1440 (includes 10% discount)

£1330 (includes additional 5% discount)

* Discounted fee is available for Stone King legal support retainer clients and members of Stone King’s partner organisations.

Discounted rates are available to the following organisations that partner with Stone King LLP: Institute of School Business Leadership (ISBL); The Confederation of School Trusts (CST); Sixth Form Colleges Association (SFCA); The Independent Schools’ Bursars Association (ISBA); Catholic Independent Schools' Conference (CISC) and Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS).

Fees are exclusive of VAT which is also payable.


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The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.