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Wednesday, 21 June 2017 15:01

What Can I do about Medway Council? Part Three

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As regularly browsers of this site may have seen, I have taken a particular interest in the number of children choosing. or being encouraged to leave school for. Elective Home Education (EHE) and those which have been excluded. This is in conjunction with data about children with SEN Statements, or the replacement Education Health Care Plans, who had been permanently excluded or taken up EHE.

On 25th April, I sent Freedom of Information Requests (FOI) to both Kent and Medway Councils seeking the relevant information. This enables me to produce articles picking up issues for the benefit of families.  There was no problem in Kent and as a result I have been able to highlight schools that appear to be abusing the procedures. However, the complete lack of response from Medway means I have now had to ask for an Internal Review of their failure to provide the information, in spite of three separate requests for each FOI which have all been ignored. This is the last formal step before a complaint to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which will take up an inordinate amount of Council time.  

The requests appear to be quite straightforward (reproduced below), as all the information should be on the Council’s data-base, so I can only assume they are trying to hide something in the data. This was certainly the case with the previous complaint I took to the ICO about Medway Council (and won!). There is a possible alternative that that they simply don’t care.

Medway

What a total waste of everyone’s time, but clearly the Council finds it easier to spend its time on holding Internal Reviews to keep officers occupied rather than ‘Serving You’, their trite but false slogan as confirmed by so many articles on this site.…

Both Medway requests were submitted on 25th April, but apart from acknowledgements of receipt, I heard nothing within the 20 working day limit. On 1st June, I issued a reminder and received a prompt response saying the relevant Department had been asked to respond urgently. This again produced nothing at all so, on 14th June I asked for an Internal Review to take place but also requesting once again the information. I now have an acknowledgement that the Internal Reviews will take place, the final stage before I can go to the Information Commissioner to force the data out, but no reference to my third request for the data. I still don’t have the data – what is the Council trying to hide, or is it simply that they do not care?

And what a total waste of Council officers' time and resources which could have been saved at any stage in the past two months by production of the data!

First FOI Sent to Medway Council 25 April 2017

I am requesting the following information under FOI for the academic year 2015-16.

For each primary, secondary and special school and academy separately. Please break numbers down further by Year Groups.

The request is for:
  1. The number of permanent exclusions for each school
  2. The number of managed moves out
  3. The number of managed moves in
  4. The number of children leaving to become home educated

Please feel free to contact me for any clarification or suggestions for simplification.

This was amplified the same day, after I had specific concerns raised about events in 2016-17 by:

I am requesting the following data for the academic year 2015-16, and for 2016-2017 to date. 

For each Medway school separately with 4 or more pupils leaving to become Educated at Home, I request the number of  pupils leaving in the period, and the school Year Group from which they left.

 

Second FOI Sent to Medway Council 25 April 2017

I am requesting the following information under FOI for the academic year 2015-16 for children with Statements of SEN or EHC Plans.

For each primary, secondary and special school and academy in Medway separately. Please break numbers down further by Year Groups.
  1. The number of permanent exclusions for each school
  2. The number of children leaving to become home educated

Please feel free to contact me for any clarification.

Read 256 times Last modified on Thursday, 22 June 2017 07:31

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