Yesterday I used the Department for Education schools database, Edubase, to check details of some academies which had changed hands.
Today I tried to access Edubase again. But instead of the usual public search page I was greeted with an authentication box.
Edubase has now been replaced by a new database called ‘Get Information About Schools’ (GIAS). It’s only available for those with a username and password. There’s no information about how to register and who would be allowed to do so.
I tracked down a spreadsheet (downloadable here) listing schools in England. But information for each school isn’t on an easy-to-read page as was the case with Edubase. The DfE spreadsheet has umpteen columns – readers have to whiz up, down and across to find information.
The DfE spreadsheet also has omissions and oddities:
So far, so confusing. Academy trusts aren’t named. State schools with a religious character don’t have a religious ethos. Sponsored academies are New Provision; converter academies aren’t. Most free schools are New Provision; some aren’t. And most free schools aren’t Academy Free Schools.
This confusion, however, isn’t as disturbing as making it difficult for the public to find information which used to be freely available on Edubase. The Government claims it supports transparency. But closing Edubase and substituting it with a database which requires an authenticated password is not transparent. It’s the opposite.