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"Care-leaver" students

Disclosure date: 20 February 2014

Reference: FOI2013/148

Request

I am writing to ask for information, listed below, for the following year intake -

2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013:

1) Age, gender, ethnicity, and number of student applications for UG courses with a 'care-leaver' background?
2) Age, gender, ethnicity, and number of 'care-leaver' students offered a place to study at your university – on UG courses?
3) Age, gender, ethnicity, and number of 'care-leaver' student applications rejected – on UG courses?
4) Age, gender, ethnicity, and number of 'care-leaver' students enrolled in your university – on UG courses?
5) Age, gender, ethnicity and number of 'care-leaver' students in receipt of Local authority financial support?

Response

Based on the "Care" field on our student records system we have only had 16 applicants during the period who have declared that they are care leavers; all 16 have become students with us.

2008/09 intake = 0 students
2009/10 intake = 0 students
2010/11 intake = 0 students
2011/12 intake = 5 students
2012/13 intake = 4 students
2013/14 intake = 7 students

Given the low numbers involved it is likely that disclosing more detail would allow individuals to be identified. The remaining information requested is therefore being withheld under the exemption set out at section 40(2) and section 40(3)(i) of the Freedom of Information Act. This exemption protects personal information where its disclosure would contravene any of the data protection principles. It is SOAS’s view that this information is personal information because if this information was put together with other knowledge held by some members of the public (notably members of the SOAS community or friends or relatives of the people affected), individuals could be identified and personal information relating to them thereby disclosed. Given the low numbers involved, it is likely that individuals could be identified in this way. Information disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act is effectively disclosed to all, so this possibility has to be considered. SOAS believes that disclosure would breach the first data protection principle as students who enrol with SOAS would not expect SOAS to disclose these details about them. It would therefore be unfair to disclose further details that could allow them to be identified.