A CHARITY behind a scheme in England and Wales to get graduates into teaching urged the Scottish Government to block the release of documents about its plan for a similar initiative north of the border.

Teach First asked civil servants to consider knocking back the information request on the grounds of commercial sensitivity.

The SNP Government is currently accepting tender bids for providers to design a new graduate route into the teaching profession. Teach First has run its own fast track scheme south of the border and has been in discussions with the Government about a Scottish version.

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However, the talks produced a series of freedom of information requests from a journalist, James McEnaney, who wanted to read the communications between the Government and Teach First, as well as minutes of any meetings.

James Westhead, the executive director of the Teach First, argued that any submission by them made to a future tender could be unfairly prejudiced by release.

McEnaney, a critic of Teach First, said that the Government released some of the files to him in error.

On the charity asking the Government to block his requests for information, he said: “If nothing else this should refocus attention on this organisation's lobbying efforts in Scotland.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “As is good practice, we made Teach First aware of the FOI while it was being considered but what information is released is solely a decision for the Scottish Government.

“As a result all information relating to meetings and communication between representatives of the Scottish Government and Teach First has been released, other than for a limited amount of redaction where exemptions applied.”

A Teach First spokesperson said: “As is routine, Teach First was contacted by The Scottish Government requesting our view in relation to a Freedom of Information request. We replied stating due to legal reasons, stipulated under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, certain details regarding our plans qualified for exemption, as they had the potential to undermine the Scottish Government’s ability to run a truly competitive tender process. We also requested personal data of employees should be redacted.”