DfE publishes three waves of free school applications

The Department for Education (DfE) has published the first three waves of free school application forms, more than two years after they were first requested.

Waves one, two and three of application forms submitted by free schools in order to gain approval for opening were supposed to be published before Christmas, but the DfE said last week they would be published “in due course”.

Now the three sets of applications, which include paperwork for Toby Young’s West London Free School (wave one) and others across the country, have been published on the DfE’s website.

In September, the DfE published the application forms for seven free schools, in response to specific freedom of information (FOI) requests.

At the same time, the department committed to publishing application forms for all free schools approved to open. But on December 24 it was confirmed that the information release has been delayed. Reasons for the hold-up have not been provided.

Laura McInerney – now editor of Schools Week – has been granted an appeal after an earlier FOI tribunal ruled the DfE did not have to publish free school application forms and the government’s letters to applicants regarding the outcome of applications, as it placed a significant burden on the department’s resources. The request was first submitted in September 2012.

The case will now be reviewed at Upper Tier Tribunal on Thursday, January 22.

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