Dear Department for Education,
I would like to make a Freedom of Information request for information regarding the decision to allow the Weald of Kent grammar school to operate a ‘satellite’ school in Sevenoaks.
Please send me the following information:
1. All the business case proposals and documentation submitted to the DfE by the Weald of Kent school in relation to building a satellite school in Sevenoaks.
2. Details of any dialogue or discussions with the Weald of Kent school regarding changes to its satellite site’s operation since approval was given for its proposal, or discussions relating to its status as a single school since approval was given. In particular, all documents which consider, evaluate or explain changes the intended operational and governance arrangements for the satellite including the arrangements for pupils, staff, policies, premises and finance. 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.
Thank you for your help.
Thank you for contacting the Department for Education, you will usually
receive a reply within 15 working days.
You can find out how the department processes your personal information by
reading our Privacy Notice.
Thank you for your request for information, FOI 2019-0040324, which was
received on 18 November 2019. The deadline for responding to your request
is today, 16 December 2020. However, we are experiencing a delay in
processing your request and will not be able to respond to your request by
I would like to offer my apologies for the delay. The Department takes
very seriously its obligations under the Act, including the requirement to
respond within the statutory deadline of 20 working days. I am afraid that
we have not been able to maintain this standard in this instance and while
there may be considered to be mitigating circumstances, this delay is not
acceptable and I am very sorry for the inconvenience which it may cause
I am dealing with your request and will be in touch as soon as possible.
Dear Joanne Bartley,
Thank you for your request for information, which was received on 18^th
November 2019. You requested the following:
‘I would like to make a Freedom of Information request for information
regarding the decision to allow the Weald of Kent grammar school to
operate a ‘satellite’ school in Sevenoaks.
Please send me the following information:
1.All the business case proposals and documentation submitted to the DfE
by the Weald of Kent school in relation to building a satellite school in
2. Details of any dialogue or discussions with the Weald of Kent school
regarding changes to its satellite site’s operation since approval was
given for its proposal, or discussions relating to its status as a single
school since approval was given. In particular, all documents which
consider, evaluate or explain changes the intended operational and
governance arrangements for the satellite including the arrangements for
pupils, staff, policies, premises and finance. 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
I have dealt with your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000
The Department has considered whether the public interest lies in
disclosing or withholding the information.
A copy of the information which can be disclosed is enclosed.
The Department holds the remainder of the information you requested, but
it is being withheld under the following exemptions.
· 36(2)(b)(ii) - the free and frank exchange of views for the
purposes of deliberation
· 36(2)(c) - would be likely otherwise to prejudice, the effective
conduct of public affairs
Under Section 36(2), the Department is not required to provide
information, if in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person (a
Minister in the case of Government Departments) disclosure of the
information under the Act would otherwise prejudice, or would be likely
otherwise to prejudice, the effective conduct of public affairs.
In relation to your request, a Minister has decided that, in his
reasonable opinion, disclosure of parts of the correspondence is likely to
have this prejudicial effect and therefore the exemption in Section 36
As Section 36 is a qualified exemption, a public interest test has been
carried out. In doing so, we have considered the following factors:
· It is in the public interest for there to be transparency in the
way officials carry out their functions. Releasing this information would
enable greater insight into the significant change process and help the
public understand how thorough the department is in assessing all
· The desirability of citizens to obtain information on issues that
directly affect their community.
· Conversely, there is a public interest in maintaining levels of
trust and confidence between the Department and the stakeholders.
Releasing the information would likely restrict the openness with which
stakeholders share information, views and opinions with the Department.
This would in turn hinder the ability of officials to gather intelligence
from trusts, thus having a negative effect on the robustness of the
· Publication of this information would likely have the dampening
effect described by s36(2)(c) as officials would likely be unable to
effectively carry out their roles if stakeholders either refuse to engage
with the Department or refuse to provide essential information required to
make informed decisions. Such loss of stakeholder engagement would
ultimately undermine the policy to expand good and outstanding schools.
· Publication of this information would likely reveal our assessment
process and compromise the safe space in which conclusions are formed,
thus weakening our ability to reach the best decisions in the future.
· Publication of this information would also likely make officials
less likely to offer advice or exchange views in a candid manner in the
future. This would negatively impact on the level of discussions which
would ultimately have an impact on the department’s ability to reach the
The arguments for and against the release have been considered, and we
have determined that the balance of public interest falls in favour of
withholding the information. This is because disclosure:
· Would likely hinder the free and frank provision of advice
· Would likely hinder the free and frank exchange of views for
· Would likely hinder the effective conduct of affairs
The enclosed, also, includes a number of redactions to which we
are applying section 40(2) (personal data). Personal data is that which
relates to a living individual who can be identified from that data, or
from that data and other information which is likely to be in, or to come
into, the possession of the requestor. Disclosure of this information
would contravene a number of the data protection principles in the General
Data Protection Regulations/Data Protection Act 2018, and would be
regarded as ‘unfair’. By that, we mean the likely expectations of the
data subject that his or her information would not be disclosed to others
and the effect which disclosure would have on the data subject. Section
40(2) is an absolute exemption and is not subject to the public interest
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
information about the OGL and about re-using Crown Copyright information
please see The National Archives website
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 www.ipo.gov.uk.
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number 2019-0040324 in any future
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.
Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office
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