My School Data
Lauren Johnson made this Freedom of Information request to Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority
This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.
Dear Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority,
Please treat this request for access under administrative arrangements if possible, or if not, please deal with it as a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act.
I am requesting access to records used to populate the My School website. More specifically, documents that contain the latest NAPLAN, ICSEA and finance data for each of the schools contained in the database.
Thank you for your email.
To request data from ACARA, please send an email to
[email address]. Please fully outline the data you require and
the purpose for which you require it.
For more information regarding data request process, visit the ACARA
Thanks for your emails. My name is Peter Matheson, Board Secretary, Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). ACARA is generally supportive of use of its data for research purposes. ACARA’s mission is to improve the learning of all young Australians through world-class school curriculum, assessment and reporting.
In the email trail below, I have included both your emails to ACARA of 6 March 2017 and ACARA’s first response, also sent 6 March 2017. In your first email to ACARA, you included the words “Freedom of Information request - My School Data” in the subject line. I am treating your request as request under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth) (FOI Act). Whilst ACARA can process your request under the FOI Act, the outcome is unlikely to be favourable to you (for reasons discussed further below).
Australian Schools List
I advise that ACARA publishes a list of schools at (http://asl.acara.edu.au/). This list will partially satisfy your request. The published data fields on this website comprise: school name, city, state, postcode, type and sector. I note that the data on the Australian schools list can be downloaded in different formats.
ACARA’s data access protocols
1. For the data fields that ACARA holds, ACARA provides access to the data requested by third parties under the Data Access Protocols – 2015 revision. These Protocols have been endorsed by the Education Council (comprising Australia’s nine education ministers). ACARA is bound to follow the directions of the Education Council: s.7(1) of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority Act 2008 (Cth (ACARA Act).
2. Under the Protocols, different considerations apply, depending on whether or not each data field is published.
3. The data that you are requesting is published – “the 2015 NAPLAN results data for each of the schools contained in the My School database”.
4. I advise that clauses 31 and 36 of the Protocols are relevant to your request. For published data, applications are treated on a case by case basis. ACARA has a data access process at (http://www.acara.edu.au/contact-us/acara...).
5. I note that ACARA was successful in an FOI matter before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Mark R Diamond and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority  AATA 707. The document in that case was the My School database. In my view, the arguments that were accepted by the Tribunal in that case are also applicable in relation to your request. Strong arguments can be made that to provide you with published data in contravention of the Protocols would cause ACARA to breach s.7(1) of the ACARA Act, which would, or could reasonably be expected to, have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient conduct of the operations of an agency (one of the conditional exemptions upheld by the Tribunal in the Diamond matter).
In light of the above, unless I hear from you to the contrary, I am treating your Freedom of Information request as being withdrawn. I would be happy to answer your queries regarding ACARA’s data access process, noting that the data on the Australian Schools List is unlikely to fully satisfy your request.
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Dear Peter Matheson,
Thank you for the information. I have submitted a request as part of the data access protocols.