Free School Statistics

S Lenahan made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Education

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Education,

I would appreciate any and all information relating to the following:

1. The names of all Free Schools, including the Local Authority approved and opened in 2011-2012 or set to open in September 2012.

2. The number of pupils on roll for each of the open Free Schools, or those set to open as outlined in point '1'.

3. The full funding of each of these Free Schools, along with a breakdown of funding per pupil on roll.

4. The names of all Free Schools which were initially approved to open by September 2012 but have had funding withdrawn, including reasons for the withdrawl.

5. The total amount spent on the Free Schools as outlined in point '4', with a breakdown of of the total of each Free School.

6. Figures for the demand of places in each of the Local Authorities where Free Schools have sucessfully opened, including unallocated places in Primary and Secondary Schools.

Yours faithfully,

S Lenahan

Department for Education

Dear Sir/Madam

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:
2012/0058131

Regards
Department for Education

Web: www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

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Dear Department for Education,

I am writing to remind you that your response to my FOI request is delayed. By law, you are required to respond promptly and within 20 days of the request. The FOI request should have been completed by 28th September and is now 14 days overdue.

I request that you complete the request as soon as possible. If I have not recieved a response within five days, I will have no option but to pass a complaint to the Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours faithfully,

S Lenahan

Laura McInerney left an annotation ()

This information is now overdue. Has it been passed to the Information Commissioner?

S Lenahan left an annotation ()

Complaint has been sent to the ICO.

Dear Department for Education,

As you have failed to respond to my initial FOI request and to my follow up on the delay I would like to request an internal review of why there has been such a long delay and lack of response.

I would also like an immediate response to the original FOI request on Free Schools.

I have made a complaint to the IOC and passed over all relevant documentation.

Yours faithfully,

S Lenahan

Department for Education

1 Attachment

Dear Mr/Ms Lenahan ,
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 31 August 2012. I would like to offer my apologies for the delay
in responding to you in full and the inconvenience this may have caused you.

You requested an internal review of the reasons for the delay on 27 October 2012. The review panel has met and has asked me to
apologise on their behalf for the delay in replying to you. The panel found that the delay was caused by a number of reasons
including relevant officials being unavailable to answer aspects of your request and shortcomings in the administrative process.
The panel acknowledged that these issues should have been addressed at an earlier stage and regretted that such an unacceptable
delay resulted. We strive to achieve the levels of good practice identified by the Information Commissioner and are sorry that we
were not able to do so on this occasion.

Turning back to your original request of 31 August 2012, you requested the following information about Free Schools:

1. The names of all Free Schools, including the Local Authority approved and opened in 2011-2012 or set to open in September 2012.

2.  The number of pupils on roll for each of the open Free Schools, or those set to open as outlined in point '1'.

3.   The full funding of each of these Free Schools, along with a breakdown of funding per pupil on roll.

4.    The names of all Free Schools which were initially approved to open by September 2012 but have had funding withdrawn,
including reasons for the withdrawal.

5.    The total amount spent on the Free Schools as outlined in point '4', with a breakdown of the total of each Free School.

6.    Figures for the demand of places in each of the Local Authorities where Free Schools have successfully opened, including
unallocated places in Primary and Secondary Schools.

I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).

1. The names of all Free Schools, including the Local Authority approved and opened in 2011-2012 or set to open in September 2012.

In total 79 Free Schools have opened to date, 24 of these opened in September 2011 and the remaining 55 in September 2012. The
complete list of these schools and the local authority is provided as an attachment to this e-mail.

2. The number of pupils on roll for each of the open Free Schools, or those set to open as outlined in point '1'. 

Pupil numbers are published annually by the Department using data collected during the termly School Census.  Under section 21 of
the Act, the Department is not required to provide information in response to a request if it is already reasonably accessible to
you. Pupil numbers for Free Schools that opened in September 2011 can be found under “Publication’s Underlying Data” at

[1]http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB....

Under section 22 of the Act, the Department is not required to provide information in response to a request if it is intended for
future publication. The number of pupils on roll for Free Schools that opened in September 2012 will be published on the above
website in June 2013 within the School Census. In addition, the number of pupils for schools opening in September 2013 will be
published on the above website in June 2014.

3. The full funding of each of these Free Schools, along with a breakdown of funding per pupil on roll.

I have interpreted these parts of your request to mean that you require information about pupil funding on Free Schools that opened
in 2011 and 2012. Under section 21 of the Act, the Department is not required to provide information in response to a request if it
is already reasonably accessible to you.

The Department has responded to a Parliamentary Question which contains information on the amount of pupil funding allocated to
each Free School in 2011-12. Details are available at:

[2]http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...

The Department has published details of pupil funding (known as the General Annual Grant) for the year 2012-13 for Free Schools
that opened in 2011 and 2012. Details are available at:

[3]http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/exe...

Therefore, although the Department holds the above information it is being withheld under section 21 of the Act as it is already
reasonably accessible to you.

4. The names of all Free Schools which were initially approved to open by September 2012 but have had funding withdrawn, including
reasons for the withdrawal.

In total, there were five proposed Free Schools approved to pre-opening stage by the Secretary of State that were subsequently
withdrawn:

·        Newham Free Academy

·        Rivendale

·        Rotherham Central Free School

·        Chorley Career and Sixth

·        Priory Laughton Manor

Each of these schools were initially approved as they could demonstrate that they would be able to offer a high-quality education,
value for money and meet local demand. However, for a variety of reasons it was later decided that these proposed schools were not
progressing as they should be and so it was agreed that the school should withdraw from the programme.
 
5. The total amount spent on the Free Schools as outlined in point '4', with a breakdown of the total of each Free School.

Under section 22 of the Act, the Department is not required to provide information in response to a request if it is intended for
future publication. The cost of each of the withdrawn Free School projects at point 4 above, will be published on the Department’s
website in due course at: [4]http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/lead...

6. Figures for the demand of places in each of the Local Authorities where Free Schools have successfully opened, including
unallocated places in Primary and Secondary Schools.

We have interpreted your request as being related to the pupil capacity of open Free Schools. Under section 22 of the Act, the
Department is not required to provide information in response to a request if it is intended for future publication. Data on school
capacity and local authority pupil forecasts is collected by the Department in the School Capacity survey.

The School Capacity survey for the 2011/12 academic year will be published in January 2013 at:
[5]http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/in.... Data for the current academic year (2012/13) will be published on the same
website in January 2014.

Section 22 of the Act is a qualified exemption which means that a public interest test needs to be carried out both in relation to
items 2, 5 and 6 above. In doing so the following factors have been considered:

* It is acknowledged that there is a general public interest in disclosure because of the need for there to be open and
transparent government and that the sharing of information with the public should be free and open.
* However, the public interest in permitting the Government to publish information in a manner and at a time of its own choosing
is also important. It is part of the effective conduct of public affairs that the general publication of information is a
conveniently planned and managed activity within the reasonable control of the public authority.
* The Government has already determined that it will a) publish pupil data as part of the School Census and School Capacity
Survey, and b) publish the costs of withdrawn Free School projects in due course.
* It is not reasonable for the Government to be expected to release piecemeal information in advance of its planned timetable and
planned publication, and there is a strong argument in favour of allowing everyone to view this information at the same time.

The arguments for and against release have been considered and it is our view that the balance of public interest falls in favour
of the maintenance of this exemption in relation to the withheld information for items 2,5 and 6. This is because if the
information requested was released on varying occasions this would result in partial information being released over a protracted
period leading to confusion and inaccuracy.

The information supplied to you in this response continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it for your own
purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research, and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current
copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can be also used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news
reporting. Any other re-use, for example commercial publication, would require the permission of the copyright holder.

Most documents produced by the Department for Education will be protected by Crown Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can
be re-used under the Open Government Licence ([6]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For information
about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives website
-[7]http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor... .

Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining permission from a third party see the
Intellectual Property Office’s website at [8]www.ipo.gov.uk.

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
Office. 
Yours sincerely,

James Ashbridge
Free Schools Group
[email address]
[9]www.education.gov.uk

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References

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1. http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB...
2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...
3. http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/exe...
4. http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/lead...
5. http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/in...
6. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
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http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...
7. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
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http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/infor...
8. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
blocked::http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
9. http://www.education.gov.uk/