On Radio 4's Today programme on 24th March, Schools Minister Nick Gibb claimed that by 2022, "even on current trends", the "vast majority" of schools would be academies anyway. He went further: "If we look ahead to six years time we will be in the position where something like three quarters of schools will be academies."
Both these statements are false. As I wrote at the time, if you project current trends forward then neither three-quarters nor half would have become academies by 2022.
Curious about how he could come to that conclusion I submitted a Freedom of Information request, asking for the data that he used for this statement.
The DfE response is revealing: "The comment made by the Minister was based on an assumption that if current trends continue, in secondary schools becoming academies, then over three quarters of secondary schools will have become academies by 2022."
This is true. But Nick Gibb did not refer to secondary schools but to all schools. Indeed his statement only made sense if he was talking about all schools, as he was justifying a policy of converting all schools to academies - not just secondary schools.
Which leaves the question I asked at the time: do government ministers just make up their facts on the spur of the moment?