The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has written to Education Minister Michael Gove to say his department did not do enough to convincing to prevent the publication of the details of those who have applied to form free schools.
Gove must now publish the details of the attempted founders of the controversial free schools, but had written to the Information Commissioner to air his displeasure with having to do so.
The information commissioner, Christopher Graham, and Michael Govehave clashed over the public’s right to know the names, places and religious affiliation, if any, of all the groups who have applied to join the government’s controversial free schools programme.
The education secretary appeared to suggest that Graham was effectively helping opponents of the taxpayer-funded schools, which are independent of local authorities, to intimidate applicants – prompting Graham to retort that the arguments of Gove’s department in resisting public disclosure “clearly failed to convince”.
The steely exchange came as Gove reluctantly released details of 517 applications made for the first three waves of free schools after losing a tribunal ruling last month. Announcing he would no longer challenge the commissioner’s decision, Gove claimed parents and teachers trying to join the government’s programme had been vilified by opponents and even lost their jobs, even without full details of applications.
The letter referred to from Gove to the Information Commissioner can be found below.