Dear Department for Education,
Freedom of Information Request
The Thomas Coram Centre (TCC, London, WC1 N2NY has been operating in breach of the Education Act 2002, Section 20, paragraph 5, because it has been using a name other than that on its Instrument of Government. A complaint was made to the Department for Education and there has been correspondence from the TCC and the London Borough of Camden
to the Department for Education.
Camden said in a reply to a FOIR,
“Thanks you for your e-mail of 24th August, the contents of which I
note. I apologise for the delay in responding to you and for any
confusion that our previous e-mail may have caused, however in
order to assist you we needed to liaise with other local authority
To clarify, the Instrument of Government supplied in response to
your Freedom of Information request is correct in so far as the
name of the school is the Thomas Coram Centre.
You are correct that the DfE, Ofsted and Camden web-sites still
refer to the school as the Thomas Coram Early Education Centre, as
this was the name prior to 2003. Although there is no statutory
notification requirement to do so, the local authority will make
arrangements to ensure that the change of name is notified as soon
as possible and take steps to rectify our own web-site details.
Whilst they would all refer to the Thomas Coram Centre, it may be
that the different names / titles on correspondence and procedures
exist due to historic naming conventions.
It should be noted however that implementation and naming of
policies and procedures are the schools responsibility as they are
data controllers in their own right”.
Bernadette Duffy OBE, the head of Centre, said, in reply to another
“The School Governance (constitution) (England) Regulations 2003
required that the first instrument of government for a nursery
school be made by the relevant local authority. The instrument was
signed by the authority in Sept 2003 as required by regulation and
set out the name the name of the school and name of governing body.
This has been provided in response to question (a) above.
Since 2003 the school name has been The Thomas Coram Centre”.
The Department for Education stated,
“Thank you for your email of 26 August 2011 about the Thomas Coram
Early Childhood Centre. I have been asked to reply.
I hope you will appreciate that the Department are not able to
offer legal advice, however a number of observations follow which I
hope you will find useful. According to information supplied by the
local authority both to the Directgov and to the Edubase websites,
there is a maintained nursery school named Thomas Coram Early
Childhood Centre in the London Borough of Camden. It would appear
that it is using its powers to provide extended services (under
section 27 of the Education Act 2002) to operate additionally as a
Sure Start Children's Centre. Section 27 enables maintained schools
to operate such provision on behalf of local authorities.
On the question of the name of the school, section 20(5) of the
Education Act 2002 says that the governing body of a maintained
school shall not conduct the business of the school under a name
other than the one for the time being set out in the schools
instrument of government.
Under regulation 31 of the School Governance (Constitution)
(England) Regulations 2007, the governing body is responsible for
preparing the instrument which sets out various details about the
school and the make up of its governing body and it would send this
to the local authority who would check that it complies with "all
applicable statutory provisions" (that should include whether the
name is correct) before the local authority "makes" the instrument,
at which point it becomes a legal document. It would therefore be
for the school's governing body to explain any name being used by
them in relation to the school's business, if this appears to be
different to that on the current instrument of government.
I hope this information is helpful.
Public Communications Unit
The DFE also said,
“Thank you for your email below.
I wrote to the Chair of Governors on 17 October requesting sight of
current Instrument of Government for Thomas Coram.
I have not yet received a response and will issue a reminder,
it is not likely that we will be able to provide any comments in
for the hearing on redacted.
School Governance Team
The School Governance Team at the DFE have stated they have
received two communications from LB Camden and the Thomas Coram
Centre and or its Governing Body.
1 Copies of any communications whether by letter, e-mail, fax and
any memos, notes of telephone calls and or drafts sent from London
Borough of Camden and/or Thomas Coram Centre to the Department For
Education (DFE)related to this matter and
2 Copies of any letters e-mails, letters memos,notes of telephone
calls, faxes or communications from the DFE to London Borough of
Camden and Thomas Coram Centre and or its Governing Body related to this matter.
Dear Mr Petters
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
Department for Education
Public Communications Unit
Tel: 0370 000 2288
Dear Mr Petters,
Thank you for your email dated 5 February 2012 in which you requested 1) Copies of any
communications whether by letter, e-mail, fax and any memos, notes of telephone calls and or
drafts sent from London Borough of Camden and/or Thomas Coram Centre to the Department for
Education (DfE) related to this matter and 2) Copies of any letters e-mails, letters, memos,
notes of telephone calls, faxes or communications from the DfE to London Borough of Camden
and Thomas Coram Centre and or its Governing Body related to this matter. I have dealt with
your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
A copy of the information is enclosed.
The information supplied to you 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 a government department or agency will be protected by Crown
Copyright. Most Crown copyright information can be re-used under the Open Government Licence
(http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/o...). For information about
the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information please see The National Archives
Copyright in other documents may rest with a third party. For information about obtaining
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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.
Independent Education and School Governance
Your correspondence has been allocated the reference number 2012/0008859.
Communications via the GSi may be automatically logged, monitored and/or
recorded for legal purposes.
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