Evidence of Demand in "We Need a School" Stage 2 Free School Application

Mark Castle made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Department for Education did not have the information requested.

Dear Department for Education,

The "We Need a School" group stated in their Free School stage two application (http://www.weneedaschool.org/resources/D...) that they have attracted over 1200 names on their petition in support of a new local secondary free school.

Under the FOI Act, I am requesting:

a) Has the Department for Education received a copy of this petition?
b) Has the Department for Education verified the contents of the petition?
c) Can the Department for Education provide a break down of the petition responses in relation to the number of signatures from each "Village or Town". Specifically how many people from the villages of Woolmer Green, Knebworth, Datchworth, Codicote and Oaklands Welwyn, Other, signed the petition. For the avoidance of doubt, I am not asking for names / email addresses or personal information on individuals, just summaries.
d) What steps has the Department for Education taken to ensure that the "We Need a School" petition (which they have used for Evidence of Demand) is valid?

Yours faithfully,
Mark Castle

Department for Education

Dear Mr Castle

Thank you for your recent email. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible. For information, the departmental standard for correspondence
received is that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you
are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0015017

Thank you.

Central Allocation Team

Public Communications Team

Tel: 0370 0002288
www.education.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Department for Education

Dear Mr Castle,
Thank you for your request for information which was received on 16
February 2011. In relation to a petition of support which the `We Need A
School' group referred to in their Free School proposal, you requested:

a) Has the Department for Education received a copy of this petition?

b) Has the Department for Education verified the contents of the
petition?

c) Can the Department for Education provide a break down of the
petition responses in relation to the number of signatures from each
"Village or Town". Specifically how many people from the villages of
Woolmer Green, Knebworth, Datchworth, Codicote and Oaklands Welwyn, Other,
signed the petition. For the avoidance of doubt, I am not asking for
names/email addresses or personal information on individuals, just
summaries.

d) What steps has the Department for Education taken to ensure that
the "We Need A School" petition (which they have used for Evidence of
Demand) is valid?

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Following a search of the Department's paper and electronic records, I
have established that the petition you requested has not been received by
the Department and we are therefore unable to answer questions b) to d)
above.
As you are aware, the Department has received a proposal from the `We Need
A School' group to establish a secondary school in the Knebworth area. The
initial proposal was approved on 14 January 2011 and the group are now
beginning to develop their full Business Case and Plan which will be
submitted to the Department for assessment in due course. Only where there
is an approved Business Case and a signed Funding Agreement will the
school be able to open. Evidence of demand and local support are essential
components of a strong Business Case and the group will need to
demonstrate that they have consulted widely on their proposal.

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you should
make a complaint to the Department by writing to me within two calendar
months of the date of this letter. Your complaint will be considered by an
independent review panel, who were not involved in the original
consideration of your request.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint to the
Department, you may then contact the Information Commissioner's
OfficeThank you for your email dated [enter letter date] about Free
Schools Projects.
Yours sincerely,

Clare Gibson
Free Schools Group
[email address]
[1]www.education.gov.uk

Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2011/0015017.

show quoted sections

Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.education.gov.uk/