Mail says faulty figures had been passed by DfE before publication

Janet Downs's picture
The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has upheld a complaint by concerning a Daily Mail front page spread about school exclusions with the melodramatic headline “Britain’s Broken Schools”. The Mail had claimed that exclusions had doubled in a year when they had in fact fallen.

The Daily Mail agreed to publish a correction although this does not have the same front page prominence as the misleading article.

The PCC and Fullfact had agreed the wording of the correction in August but the Mail added a qualifying statement. It claimed that the figures had been run past the DfE before publication. Fullfact has discovered that the person at the DfE who saw the figures is a Special Adviser to the Secretary of State, Mr Gove, and wonders why the adviser did not point out the error when the Mail submitted the figures. Local Schools Network readers might be asking the same question. Fullfact also queries whether a Special Adviser was the right person to check the data and even wonders whether the Adviser was, in fact, actually asked to do so.

This is another example of incorrect information about state education being presented to the public in a sensational way. And what is particularly worrying in this case is the possibility that the faulty data had been seen by a Special Adviser to Mr Gove before it was splashed over the Mail’s front page.  And that adviser had said nothing.

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