Free School Conflicts of Interest

zeeshan Abdul made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

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The request was successful.

Dear Department for Education,

Guru Tegh Behadur Gurdwara in Wolverhampton has two related trustee’s. Surjit Uppal who is Paul Uppals father MP. Surjit Uppal is a trustee of Anand Primary School whilst Paul Uppal (his son) is a Wolverhampton MP who has close links with David Cameron. During the application of Anand Primary School opening can you confirm the following:

1. What is Paul Uppal involvement with the school http://www.pauluppal.co.uk/news/news/pau...
2. What involvement did Paul have with the application?
3. Were conflict of interests identified during the application that the father was a trustee of a free school, and that Paul Uppal MP was also involved in the school
4. Did the school open due to the relationship Surjit Uppal and his son Paul Uppal MP and the Prime Minister (David Cameron)
5. What relationship does the Gurdwara have with the school, is the the school financially dependent on the Gurdwara? If so what contingencies are they if neither of the Uppal’s were involved with the school or the Gurdwara

Yours faithfully,

zeeshan Abdul

Department for Education

Dear Mr Abdul

Thank you for your recent enquiry. 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 reference number 2013/0057755

Thank you

Department for Education
Ministerial and Public Communications Division
Tel: 0370 000 2288

-----Original Message-----
From: zeeshan Abdul [mailto:[FOI #177691 email]]
Sent: 20 September 2013 14:27
To: ACCOUNT, Unmonitored
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Free School Conflicts of Interest

Dear Department for Education,

Guru Tegh Behadur Gurdwara in Wolverhampton has two related trustee’s. Surjit Uppal who is Paul Uppals father MP. Surjit Uppal is a trustee of Anand Primary School whilst Paul Uppal (his son) is a Wolverhampton MP who has close links with David Cameron. During the application of Anand Primary School opening can you confirm the following:

1. What is Paul Uppal involvement with the school http://www.pauluppal.co.uk/news/news/pau...
2. What involvement did Paul have with the application?
3. Were conflict of interests identified during the application that the father was a trustee of a free school, and that Paul Uppal MP was also involved in the school
4. Did the school open due to the relationship Surjit Uppal and his son Paul Uppal MP and the Prime Minister (David Cameron)
5. What relationship does the Gurdwara have with the school, is the the school financially dependent on the Gurdwara? If so what contingencies are they if neither of the Uppal’s were involved with the school or the Gurdwara

Yours faithfully,

zeeshan Abdul

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Department for Education

Dear Mr Abdul,
 
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 20 September.

You requested the following information about Anand Primary School which opened in Wolverhampton in September 2013:

“1.      What is Paul Uppal involvement with the school http://www.pauluppal.co.uk/news/news/pau...

2.      What involvement did Paul have with the application?

3.      Were conflict of interests identified during the application that the father was a trustee of a free school, and that Paul Uppal MP was
also involved in the school

4.      Did the school open due to the relationship Surjit Uppal and his son Paul Uppal MP and the Prime Minister (David Cameron)

5.      What relationship does the Gurdwara have with the school, is the school financially dependent on the Gurdwara? If so what contingencies
are they if neither of the Uppal’s were involved with the school or the Gurdwara”

I have dealt with your request outside of the Freedom of Information (FOI) ACT 2000, as you are not seeking access to recorded information.

Questions 1-3:

The Secretary of State for Education has entered into a funding agreement with the academy trust setting up Anand Primary School this summer and
the school opened with its first cohort of pupils in September 2013.

Paul Uppal MP is not a member or director of the academy trust which entered into the funding agreement for Anand Primary School. The Department
is not aware of any involvement Paul Uppal might have had in developing this school. We understand that Mr Uppal is supportive of the Free Schools
Programme and Anand Primary School.

As part of Community Engagement activities prior to submitting their application, we are further aware that the proposing group met with the 3 MPs
for Wolverhampton including Paul Uppal MP.

I trust that the above paragraphs also address your question number 3.

Questions 4-5:

Every free school application is assessed individually on its merits. The strongest applications are then further scrutinised at an interview. 
Those applications that are approved then enter the pre-opening stage during which the academy trust has to take a number of steps that will allow
the school to open successfully.

At this stage the Department’s lead contact, Educational Adviser and Education Funding Agency officials guide and monitor the trust’s progress in
setting up the school. These steps include appointing a Principal Designate, producing educational policies, the recruitment of pupils, producing
robust financial plans etc. Only when all the necessary processes and tools to run a school are in place the Secretary of State will agree to
enter into a funding agreement with a free school.

Anand Primary School successfully fulfilled all the requirements as outlined above and on this basis the Secretary of State entered into the
funding agreement with the trust to open a school in September.

For more information about what is expected of free schools in pre-opening please see the link to the Department’s pre-opening guidance for free
schools, here:

[1]http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/fil...

As explained above, during pre-opening stage Anand Primary has produced and submitted to the Department robust financial plans for the school.
These plans showed that the school will not be dependent on a third party income (from the Gurdwara or anyone else).

Guru Tegh Behadur Gurdwara is supportive of Anand Primary School and one trust member of the Gurdwara is also a member of the school’s trust.  

I hope you find this information useful.

Yours sincerely,

Kinga Halska
Free Schools Group
[2]www.education.gov.uk

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References

Visible links
1. http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/fil...
2. http://www.education.gov.uk/

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