Tomorrow’s Guardian is carrying a feature-length story about my FOI battle with the Department for Education. It’s the first time I’ve written about the process in full, though I’m currently unable to talk too much about the Tribunal appeal.
There’s one point about Free School transparency, though, that keeps being raised by the government and by free school supporters that needs to be addressed up front. I am constantly hearing that “the process has got better” in later years, as if this somehow excuses early incompetence. Fact is, we can’t be sure the process has got better because we don’t know what it involved in the first cohorts, and there’s still no transparency on decisions or applications even now.
However, even if we accept that decisions are now better, this doesn’t render that which went before unimportant. Every time I hear the argument that we should dismiss mistakes because they were “in the past”, I am reminded of the Lion King who, in the clip below, sounds an awful lot like Gove reflecting on the Free Schools policy. Leaders can hide from the past, or learn from them. I’m a teacher. Gove should know which side of that dilemma I am on.