I Won. DfE Must Release Free School Application Forms.

The older I get, the more I question the democracy we live in. Having to fight for basic transparency. Well done, Laura!

Laura McInerney

In October last year the DfE refused my FOI request for (a) Free School application forms, and (b) the acceptance and rejection letters sent to applicants. After a long and ludicrous battle (started here), the Information Commission Office have released their Decision Notice about my case.

In sum: I won.

The ridiculously lengthy 17-page judgement demonstrates why the information must be made available to the public. Given its length I haven’t taken it all in thoroughly yet . But essentially the DfE’s claims that releasing this information would “prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs” came down to four arguments:

  1. It would reduce the quality of future applications
  2. It would reduce the DfE’s ability to figure out which applications were of high quality
  3. It would put people off applying in future (because they are scared off by scrutiny)
  4. Application forms & letters are not a good way to scrutinise school…

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