Plan for sixth school in Sawyers Hall Lane scrapped

Plans to add a primary school to a Brentwood street that already has four in it have been scrapped after Essex County Council (ECC) failed to secure the central funding it needed to progress it. Following tip-offs from contacts actively involved in education in Brentwood, we broke the news on 15th June that ECC had applied for funds to apparently site a primary […] Continue reading

How can local “need” or “demand” possibly be assessed centrally?

As more potential free school plans have surfaced in the area in recent months, I spent some time recently trying to understand on what basis proposals are now assessed. While noting an apparent shift in emphasis from “demand” to “need” in the approval process, the Department for Education (DfE) does not clearly differentiate between the […] Continue reading

If an “impact” is what you seek, how valid is the assessment?

Last week the UK’s largest teaching union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), released a statement confirming that, 18 months after their initial request, they had secured an obligation on the Department for Education (DfE) to release free school impact assessments: “The National Union of Teachers is delighted that the Information Commissioner has upheld the […] Continue reading

DfE FOI request refusals – “protection” or inhibiting “choice”?

As we have previously covered, in December the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, ruled that the Department for Education (DfE) needed to rapidly improve the response rate to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests that they received (DfE in “special measures” – what would happen if they were a school? This week, basic information regarding proposals […] Continue reading