Help Me Investigate Education is a website to help those who want to investigate questions relating to the education system.

The site is based on Help Me Investigate.com, a site which was launched in July 2009 with funding from Channel 4’s 4iP fund and Screen West Midlands.

Investigations undertaken by users of Help Me Investigate include the uncovering of a £2.2 million overspend on Birmingham City Council’s websitefalse claims by publishers of a free newspaper; the worst places for parking fines; the real average cost of weddingslegal issues surrounding recording council meetingspolice claims of sabotage against Climate Camp protestershow much higher education costs the taxpayerwho is responsible for an advertising screendoes scrapping speed cameras save money? Varying availability of hormonal contraceptive on the NHS, and the allocation of Olympic torchbearer places.

Stories and information uncovered by the site have been used by news organisations including The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Daily Mail, Stoke Sentinel, Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail, Bournemouth Echo, Caledonian Mercury, Der Tagesspiegel, the Health Service Journal, BBC Radio WM and BBC Radio 4.

The site was conceived by Paul Bradshaw, a visiting professor in online journalism at City University London and course leader of the MA in Online Journalism at Birmingham City University.

In 2010 Help Me Investigate was shortlisted and highly commended for Multimedia Publisher of the Year in the NUJ’s Regional Media Awards, and won ‘Best Investigation’ in the Talk About Local/Guardian Local awards.

In February 2011 the code for the original site was released under an open source licence.

There is also a site blog, which provides regular tips and updates.

If you want to get involved in any of the Help Me Investigate sites, please leave a comment or contact us privately on paul@helpmeinvestigate.com

3 Responses to About

  1. Keith Ewing says:

    Off the cuff, I imagine these clauses are used to intimidate. It is already the case that taking part in strike action is a breach of contract. (In this country the strike is usually regarded as a breach rather than a suspension of the contract.) Nevertheless, employees who DO take industrial action are protected from dismissal for at least the first 12 weeks of the action. That would apply even where there is an express no strike clause in the contract. Pass it on.

  2. A Matalia says:

    Parent wins a 17 month battle after an independent appeals panel directs one of the countries top grammar schools to offer a child a place.

    The school undertook an outrageous chain of actions including an alleged vindictive act of revenge against a parent who complained about bullying.

    The child scored the 17th highest mark for boys in the county area and was offered a place at the school. It subsequently withdrew the place and refused to allow an appeal as required under the admissions code and spent thousands of pounds of school money [fighting this while] leaving him without a school place.

    Failing to provide a year 7 information pack whilst offered a place.
    Failing to send a member of staff to the boy’s primary school as part of transition arrangements, when staff were sent to other schools where boys had been offered and accepted places.
    Unlawfully refusing to allow the boy to attend year 7 induction day (a once in a lifetime event) when his place was not withdrawn.
    Unlawfully withdrawing a school place after 4.5 months without establishing breach of rules despite the Council informing them their action was unlawful and the parent had complied with all rules, leaving him without a secondary school place during the last week of year 6 in order to maximise the damage.
    Undertaking an unlawful re-determination.
    Refusing to offer the statutory right of appeal as required under the Admissions Code 2012 as they knew they were wrong.
    Refusing to place the boy on a waiting list.
    Refusing to process a new application and failing to inform the parent and offering an appeal.
    Claiming in writing the parent had been treated fairly.
    The boy ended up with an offer at another grammar schools 30 miles away involving a 3 hours daily commute for the parent.
    Making claims to the police claiming harassment due to unwanted communication (compliant letter), which the CPS and police agreed there was no case of harassment.
    Intimidating the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) causing a second investigator to be appointed who came the same conclusion – severe fault in the school and ordered an appeal.
    Trying to persuade the LGO not to publish its report on its website.

    They filed a case to seek an injunction against the parent one day before the appeal, posting it after the appeal to remove the story on websites as it causes anxiety and distress (harassment). The police had already investigated claims and agreed there was no harassment.

    The independent appeal panel was won at the first stage. Knock on effect: children were denied grammar school places due to the unlawful actions of the School.

    This is the most outrageous behaviour in school admissions.

    [sections removed following legal communications]

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