Wednesday 20 February 2013

Michael Gove in clash over free schools freedom of information requests

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From The Guardian

The information commissioner, Christopher Graham, and Michael Gove have clashed over the public’s right to know the names, places and religious affiliation, if any, of all the groups who have applied to join the government’s controversial free schools programme.

The education secretary appeared to suggest that Graham was effectively helping opponents of the taxpayer-funded schools, which are independent of local authorities, to intimidate applicants – prompting Graham to retort that the arguments of Gove’s department in resisting public disclosure “clearly failed to convince”.

The steely exchange came as Gove reluctantly released details of 517 applications made for the first three waves of free schools after losing a tribunal ruling last month. Announcing he would no longer challenge the commissioner’s decision, Gove claimed parents and teachers trying to join the government’s programme had been vilified by opponents and even lost their jobs, even without full details of applications.

 

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