On Friday we received an interesting response to a freedom of information request.
As you’ll know if you know us or have read the About section, through the first half of 2013 we had increasing concerns that our December-born son Andrew wouldn’t be ready for school. He was then four years old.
In August when we first spoke to the school about deferral, we were told that the nursery was full, so if he was deferred, he’d have to go somewhere else. We had no reason to question this at the time.
I’m not going to say who told us that. I’m not even going to say if they are male or female. Let’s just call that person Kant.
The only reason – literally, the only reason – we allowed Andrew to start school in August was because we felt that there were greater risks in him going to an entirely new childcare environment than in starting school with his cohort. It was a marginal decision.
We watched his progress and asked others to do the same, and by November we were sure he shouldn’t be in school and went back to them about deferral.
At the November meeting Kant again told us that nursery was full. Not “I think it might be full”, not “I’d need to check, but…” Just; it’s full.
Only this time I’d done my homework and had anonymously checked availability with the council’s pupil placement team. They had told me that there were two afternoon places.
When I told Kant that, the response was surprise. Kant was in a position to know about nursery vacancies, but if Kant hadn’t, it could have been checked with one email or phone call.
This made me wonder about what Kant had said in August. So under the Freedom of Information Act I asked the council about capacity, enrolment and availability in the school nursery back then.
The answer, which we received on Friday, was that were five places; one morning and four afternoon.
So the question is this; did Kant lie to our faces?
Or did Kant say something important as fact without having checked first? Did Kant choose not to check so that it wouldn’t be a lie?
And does it really make much difference which of these is true?