DfE refuses to release names of academies changing hands from 1 July 2017
I’ve had no problems in the past getting the names of academies which have changed hands in a particular period. I’ve asked the Department of Education and they’ve sent a list.
They dragged their feet over the costs of academy transfers - a process known as rebrokerage. It took months and months of campaigning by this site and Schools Week before the costs were published in September 2017.
But there was no such delay in releasing the names of transferred academy. That is, until today.
I asked the DfE for the names of academies which had changed hands between 1 July 2017 and 31 December 2017. But it’s refused on the grounds it intends to publish the information during the ‘reporting financial year’.
The data will be included in the DfE’s ‘annual academy transfer costs publication’ but the dates for the 2017/2018 financial year haven’t yet been decided.
It’s good the DfE has at last acknowledged it needs to publish rebrokerage costs annually. But refusing to give basic details of transferred academies means the public won’t know the names of all transferred academies or their new trusts until up to a year after the event.
The DfE says it’s unreasonable to release the information on an ‘ad hoc’ basis before the ‘planned timetable and planned publication’ (which isn’t, as the DfE admits, known yet).
There’s a ‘strong argument’, the DfE says, in ‘allowing everyone to view this information at the same time’. And that’s reasonable. I accept that sorting out final rebrokerage costs takes time and releasing them on request before the annual date could result in errors.
But there’s no reason why the names aren’t released more frequently especially as details of transferred academies will already be known locally. In some high profile cases such as the transfer of WCAT academies, it will be known nationally. The information is in the public domain already so why not just compile a list?
That would enable us to keep tabs on the number of rebrokered academies in six, rather than twelve, months, especially as the numbers appear to be rising.