We have received two more Freedom of Information Act request responses
from the Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
Some of the response, which is outlined in the original blog post on the fulfillment
, was in relationship to the local authority and the now temporarily abandoned free school project put forward by Rivendale.
Another bit may be more widely interesting. Included in the response were the minutes of the meeting
in October 2010 between James Woods (Rivendale Project Manager) and H&F Council in which the project and its progress with the DfE were discussed. A few points:
1. The DfE was reluctant to hand funding over to a company.
This is an interesting statement because as of the date of this post, Rivendale is not a charity yet - so obviously the DfE has handed funding over to a company despite the reluctance indicated in the notes. James Woods said he had gotten £144K, and the DfE's spreadsheets actually identified Rivendale Eduation Ltd as getting £33K in March 2011. To our knowledge Rivendale is still pending charity status, for whatever that is worth in the case of free schools. This may be part of what is referred to in the DfE video by the promoters of the free school
when they discuss disagreements between Rivendale and the DfE (the publication of which is surprising given it is a production of the DfE.) I can't help but wonder if the DfE feels they 'need' to do this in order to get more Freeschools up and running, and if it is a lead in to handing money over to for profits?
2. James Woods, Project Manager, wants to be employed by the Trust.
This runs in stark contrast to statements minuted in the Consultation meeting on 15 February 2011
that he has no conflict of interest. He unequvocally stated this and backed it up later by saying that his company (Schools Plus
) has a model which would not work in primary schools.
3. James Woods' preferred Governance structure seemed to be an issue for the DfE
. The notes indicate that the preferred structure is that the Trust appoints the Governors, and the Governors are to be made up by members of the Trust. 'The department hasn't conceded yet, but hasn't put forward any statutory obstacles either'.
Interesting statement. It implies that the DfE doesn't really like this kind of arrangement....but what to do? This may also be one of the 'disagreements' referred to in the DfE video by the Rivendale proposers. Who won that one? I guess we won't know until a Rivendale school opens.