A joint investigation by FE Week and the Financial Times which culminated in a court case has successfully overturned a ban on publication of a damning Ofsted report into training and apprenticeship provider LearnDirect.
Nick Linford, FE Week editor, told the Press Gazette the paper was ‘delighted to have successfully fought to have the high court injunction lifted and in doing so ensure freedom of the press is taken seriously.’
‘Learndirect not only tried to silence us, their lawyers even threatened us with contempt of court proceeding, a criminal charge. The judge concluded there was no contempt to consider and Learndirect also lost their judicial review.’
‘It was the right result in the end and it’s been brilliant to work on the investigation with the Financial Times.’
A ‘brilliant’ outcome indeed. And it isn’t the first time that FE Week and its companion paper Schools Week have uncovered facts which organisations would rather remain hidden. Schools Week, for example, found evidence via Freedom of Information (FoI) that the Department for Education (DfE) appeared to be attempting to hide details of the cost of academy transfers. Last month FE Week found planning for the new ‘T-Levels’ was already behind schedule when its FoI request revealed the DfE had failed to appoint any members to its proposed advisory panels. The first two T-Level ‘pathfinder’ routes are supposed to ready for teaching in September 2019 – just two years away. This timetable has been described by several awarding bodies as ‘impossible’.
It’s only by dogged persistence and a stubborn refusal to be deterred that inconvenient truths can be revealed. Long may it continue.