back to article flushed away £15k defending pupil nationality data slurp – then canned scheme

The Department for Education forked out £15,000 defending its controversial pupil nationality data slurp that was canned just months later. The money was spent on drawing up legal defences against judicial challenge launched by campaigners against the scheme, which sucked up data on schoolchildren's nationality and country of …

  1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    "We've asked the DfE to comment"

    I imagine they will say, though they eventually scrapped the scheme, that, when it was in place, it was entirely legal, and therefore right and appropriate to defend it from challenges in court that it wasn't.

    I would have to agree.

    1. Teiwaz

      Re: "We've asked the DfE to comment"

      when it was in place, it was entirely legal

      Surely if it were entirely legal then no defence would need to be drawn up as there'd be no case to answer.

      ......You'd think.....

      Unless they weren't sure they were on safe legal ground......

      It's not as if the UK government has ever rushed through legislation that was later found to be illegal.....

      1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

        Re: "We've asked the DfE to comment"

        Surely if it were entirely legal then no defence would need to be drawn up as there'd be no case to answer.

        I don't know how it is where you are, but in the UK one has to have the defendants represented in court to say there is no case to answer, and to prove that is a fact when the judge asks inconvenient questions like; how so?

        The purpose of court proceedings is to determine if there is a case to answer or not, and that has to be argued out with both sides allowed to present their views and legal arguments. Only the most vexatious claims are rejected out of hand.

    2. SVV

      Re: "We've asked the DfE to comment"

      Just because something is entirely legal, it does not logically follow that it is therefore right.

      Also, it is very worrying that the Home Office was not involved in the decision to collect this data, but then subsequently used it anyway. Data should be collected for clearly defined purposes, and its use strictly limited to those purposes, otherwise it's just a free for all and all sorts of terrible abuses of power are possible.

  2. fnusnu

    £15k in a £58.2bn budget? Have a word....

    1. Spanners Silver badge


      That is more than half a teacher. If we got rid of all the piddly sums wasted on whiz-bang spiffing ideas, how many more teachers could be paid?

      The trouble is getting the figure. Imagine the FOI request "How much money have you wasted on stupid ideas?" The answer would be "£0 because all our ideas are really splendid and the best possible use of money that would otherwise be wasted on snotty kids".

    2. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

      The problem is...

      These civil servant career fucktards don't actually have to earn the money they spend. So they take no responsibility, or have no self-awareness when it comes to wasting it.

      As another says, this is criminal in that it is the funding of 1/2 of a teacher or nurses salary, maybe more than 1/2. In my world these idiots would be shot, or at least put on a remote island to keep them away from the people trying to earn their way through life.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: The problem is...

        I sympathise with your view. But I suspect that they're merely defending the policy put in place by the minister. In effect, doing exactly what they're employed to do.

  3. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Government at it's finest


    1. hammarbtyp

      Re: Government at it's finest

      To be honest, at the moment this might even be a high point for this government

  4. Christoph

    "Hey, kid, what is your nationality?"

    "Klingon. Want to argue about it?"

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Little kids, details kept in a database, most of it for perfectly good reasons.

      Misusing data (as in not for the reason it was provided) or collecting it without good reason, however. No.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    little johnny foreigner

    that would be my sprog, hurrah! I'm glad I've always ignored that nationality field (or something similar) in the school forms :)

  6. JoMe

    In these cases, I firmly believe the minister should personally be billed for projects like this that are just canned.

  7. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    Was this the slurp,....

    .... that was sold initially as being used to allegedly asses language ability for remedial purposes? I was just finishing working in education as that one happened and it all seemed a bit fishy.

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