'Satellite' grammar school provision in Kent

The request was partially successful.

Dear Kent County Council,

I would like to make a Freedom of Information request regarding ‘satellite’ grammar schools in Kent.

1. Please send information on any discussions with the Weald of Kent grammar school regarding changes in the use of the school’s two sites since the school opened, or changes to the integration between the two school campuses. Please, in particular, provide copies of all documents including emails, letters, notes, attendance notes, power point (or similar) presentations or attachments or annexes to such documents which comprise, relate to, or evidence such discussions.

2. Regarding the ‘satellite’ selective school provision proposed for Whitstable or Herne Bay, by Queen Elizabeth grammar school and Barton Court grammar school, please send details of discussions regarding integration between the two school campuses to fulfil the requirements as detailed in ‘Making significant changes to an open academy’ for a trust using an additional site to prove any new provision is genuinely a change to an existing school and is not, in effect, a new school. Please provide all documents relating to this discussion, including minutes of meetings, emails, letters, memos, power point (or similar) presentations or attachments or annexes to such documents including, in particular, all documents which consider, evaluate or explain the intended operational and governance arrangements for the satellite including the arrangements for pupils, staff, policies, premises and finance.

3. Regarding the ‘satellite’ grammar school provision planned by Tunbridge Wells Boys grammar school in the town of Sevenoaks, please send details of discussions regarding integration between the schools two campus sites, in fulfilment of the requirements for schools using an additional site to prove the new provision is genuinely a change to an existing school and is not, in effect, a new school. Please provide all documents relating to this discussion, including minutes of meetings, emails, letters, memos, power point (or similar) presentations or attachments or annexes to such documents including, in particular, all documents which consider, evaluate or explain the intended operational and governance arrangements for the satellite including the arrangements for pupils, staff, policies, premises and finance.

Thank you for your assistance.

Yours faithfully,

Joanne Bartley

 

Information request
Our reference: 10270777

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Dear Ms Bartley
   
Thank you for your email which we received on 18 November 2019.
 
Kent County Council (KCC) acknowledges your request for information, which
we will consider under the relevant legislation (Freedom of Information
Act 2000 and/or Environmental Information Regulations 2004).
 
Assuming KCC holds this information, we will endeavour to supply the data
to you as soon as possible but no later than 16 December 2019 (20 working
days from date of receipt).
 
We will advise you as soon as possible if we do not hold this information
or if there are exemptions to be considered and/or any costs for providing
the information.
 
Please quote our reference - 10270777 in any communication regarding this
particular request.
 

Please see our [1]Information Rights Privacy Notice for details of how we
process your personal data.

 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Carly Wattle
Information Access Officer
Strategic and Corporate Services
+443000417061
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

References

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1 Attachment

 

Information request
Our reference: 10270777

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Dear Ms Bartley
 
Thank you for your request for information received on 18 November 2019.
 
Please find attached our response to your request.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Kelly Leeson
Strategic and Corporate Services
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Dear Kent County Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Kent County Council's handling of my FOI request ''Satellite' grammar school provision in Kent'.

Thank you for responding to this request and providing some information. I would like you to review the decision to withold the email chain relating to the response to the question on pupil travel between the Sevenoaks site and Tonbridge.

You mentioned that the emails would reveal the identity of the individual who raised the question. I suspect that it would be possible to send much of the email text, simply obscuring the name, email address and other identifying details.

You mentioned that there were email exchanges between Ian Watts (Area Education Officer) and the school discussing this aspect of the plan, so I assume that responses from Ian Watts and the school should be able to be provided.

You also withheld some information and directed me to ask the school instead. I wanted to double-check that you were not responsible for information on this plan, as the authority operating the school? I ask because I have sent FOI to community (council maintained) schools in the past and these schools have then directed me to contact the local authority. I will try the school for the information I need in this case, I just wanted to check this point as it does not seem clear who is the authority responsible for FOI in these cases? Clearly you expect the school to respond to FOI, but some maintained schools clearly do not feel they are responsible for FOI, but instead the local authority is responsible.

Thank you for all your help.

Yours faithfully,

Joanne Bartley

 

Information request
Our reference: 10270777

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Dear Ms Bartley
 
Thank you for your request for a review received on 8 January 2020. I am
sorry that you are dissatisfied with our attempts to handle your request
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
 
I can confirm that we are considering your concerns and we will aim to
provide you with a response by 5 February 2020.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Kelly Leeson
Strategic and Corporate Services
 
NOTE: Please do not edit the subject line when replying to this email.

Kent County Council

7 Attachments

Information request
Our reference: 10270777

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Dear Ms Bartley

 

Information requested by: Ms Joanne Bartley

 

Further to your request for an Internal Review of our handling of your
recent request for information made under the Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) 2000, relating to Satellite Grammar Provision in Kent, this has now
been completed by an independent officer within Education Planning and
Access, that was not involved with your original request and I have
paraphrased their response below:

 

“On receipt of Ms Bartley’s request for a review of the initial response
to her FOI submission, the personal details within the email chain
concerning the response to a question on pupil travel between the
Sevenoaks site and Tonbridge have now been redacted and the full email
chain is attached.

In addition, further email correspondence that relates to the subject of
the original information request is attached.  As previously stated this
is limited as it is ultimately for the School to determine internally how
they will operate the school across two sites.  Therefore, the previous
response did not refer you back to the school, instead it was stating that
as an Local Authority, KCC will not hold a great detail of information on
this subject.”

I trust that this explanation now satisfies your complaint. However, if
you are still unhappy, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner, who
oversees compliance with access to information legislation including the
Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations
2004, Data Protection Act 2018 & General Data Protection Regulation.
Details of what you need to do, should you wish to,  pursue this course of
action, are available from the Information Commissioner’s website
[1]https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/, or you can phone the ICO Helpline
on 0303 123 1113. 

Yours sincerely

 

Hannah Rumball | Information Governance Specialist | Information
Resilience & Transparency Team | Kent County Council | Room 2.87, Sessions
House, Maidstone, ME14 1XQ | Phone 03000 412313| Fax 03000 420303 | 
[2]Access to Information | Please see our [3]Information Rights Privacy
Notice for details of how we process your personal data in line with our
data protection obligations |

 

 

 

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Dear Kent County Council FOI team,

Thank you very much for the additional information, I just have one more question. KCC is the decision maker for the new Tunbridge Wells Boys grammar school 'satellite' school in Sevenoaks, so responsible for checking it fits the requirements of 'Making significant changes (‘prescribed alterations’) to maintained schools' brief and is a legally sound plan.

I asked for details of discussions regarding integration between the schools two campus sites, in fulfilment of the requirements for schools using an additional site to prove the new provision is genuinely a change to an existing school and is not, in effect, a new school.

In the information I was sent there was no legal guidance at all. Can you clarify whether KCC has sought legal advice on the proposal? If so please send copies of all documents relating to this legal discussion, including minutes, emails, letters, notes, presentations (and attachments to such documents) which comprise, relate to, or evidence these legal considerations being discussed.

Yours faithfully,

Joanne Bartley

Dear Ms. Bartley

Thank you for your email, which I have passed on to the relevant team to
deal with. To clarify, this is now being dealt with as a follow-on query
to your previous request, under the same reference ' 10270777

The FOIA does not legislate for follow on request and therefore there is
no statutory timeframe for us to respond within. However, I will endeavour
to supply the data to you as soon as possible but no later than 5th March.

Kind regards

Kelly Leeson

Information Access Officer

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Good afternoon,

My apologies for the delay.  Please see the below response: 

In the information I was sent there was no legal guidance at all. Can you
clarify whether KCC has sought legal advice on the proposal? If so please
send copies of all documents relating to this legal discussion, including
minutes, emails, letters, notes, presentations (and attachments to such
documents) which comprise, relate to, or evidence these legal
considerations being discussed.

When Weald of Kent Grammar School applied to the Secretary of State to
open an annexe of their school on the Wildernesse site, legal advice was
sought by the parties involved including the Trust and KCC.  Subsequently
the DfE have confirmed that, in their opinion, the setting is operating
effectively as an annexe of Weald of Kent Grammar. 

During the time between the introduction of that annexe and the
consultation to open a satellite of TWGSB, national legislation in respect
of the expansion of selective provision has not changed and for that
reason, no further legal advice has been sought.

I trust that this explanation now satisfies your questions. However, if
you are still unhappy, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner, who
oversees compliance with access to information legislation including the
Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations
2004, Data Protection Act 2018 & General Data Protection Regulation.
Details of what you need to do, should you wish to,  pursue this course of
action, are available from the Information Commissioner's website
[1]https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/ , or you can phone the ICO
Helpline on 0303 123 1113. 

Kind Regards,

Kelly Leeson

Information Access   Officer

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