Bradford MPs pledge to get to the bottom of Kings Science Academy situation (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford MPs pledge to get to the bottom of Kings Science Academy situation
Two Bradford MPs say they will continue to grill the Government over its handling of a failings at a Bradford free school which is now subject to a criminal investigation.
Parents of pupils at Kings Science Academy in Lidget Green have been invited to a meeting on Monday morning where staff will discuss the police investigations at the flagship school.
A message sent to parents says staff will answer questions they might have regarding the reports.
MPs David Ward and George Galloway have vowed to get to the bottom of who knew about the major failings in the school’s financial controls – revealed in a Department for Education auditors’ report which was written in May but only released last week.
In the report were revelations that almost £77,000 of start-up grants for the school, which opened in September 2011, had not been used for their intended purposes, there was evidence of false invoicing, principal Sajid Hussain Raza had employed family members as staff and that the school had paid for the refurbishment of a property owned by a company of which Mr Raza is a director, and his father a trustee.
That led the two MPs asking 19 Parliamentary questions between them, including what information the Department for Education had provided to police and why it had taken five months for the report to be published. Some of the questions were due to have been answered yesterday but remained unavailable last night.
A spokesman for the DfE said the answers might not be published until after the weekend.
Mr Ward (Lib Dem, Bradford East) said last night: “Next week I will be putting in a whole batch of questions. I am determined to find out who knew about this, and whether Michael Gove knew about this, at what stage, and what he did about it.
“This situation is far too serious to just be brushed under the carpet.”
Mr Galloway (Respect, Bradford West) said he also plans to submit a new batch of questions regarding the school.
As reported in yesterday’s T&A, West Yorkshire Police announced on Thursday that it will be investigating the findings of the DfE report after the case was referred to it that day by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
A school spokesman said Mr Raza was not available for comment, as it was half term. The school’s only statement has been released via its website.
It admits to problems caused by the “unprecedented pace” of opening and a “lack of training and support available for new governors” but it also maintains that “there has been no misappropriation of funds and all expenditure has been academy-related”.