Education Secretary Michael Gove quizzed by MPs over Kings Science Academy, Bradford

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Kings Science Academy in Lidget Green The Kings Science Academy in Lidget Green

Michael Gove has refused to suspend the principal of scandal-hit free school Kings Science Academy – insisting a police investigation must be completed first.

Quizzed by MPs yesterday, the Education Secretary also ducked a call to reveal whether officials had advised him not to open the Bradford school in the first place.

However, Mr Gove did concede that MPs were “absolutely right” to be angry about what went on at the school in Lidget Green.

Previously, he had only been prepared to admit there were “questions to be answered” by those running the school, whom he also hailed as “idealists”.

Mr Gove came under fresh pressure over Kings Science Academy at a meeting of the education select committee, which includes Bradford East MP David Ward as a member.

The Liberal Democrat MP pointed out the school had been criticised by Department for Education (DfE) auditors and the National Audit Office and was under investigation.

It must repay about £77,000 after “fabricated invoices” for rent were submitted to the DfE – something only revealed when a secret report was leaked.

Payments also went towards teachers’ furniture, with more than £600 spent on parties or meals and £169 given to an employee to buy clothes.

Mr Ward asked: “Is it right that that principal of that college should still be in place?”

But Mr Gove replied: “It is wrong for me to talk about individuals when it is still the case that there are one or two matters to be resolved.”

He added: “You are absolutely right. There are things that went wrong. There are people who, at the very least, made mistakes.”

Earlier, Mr Gove was asked whether Kings Science Academy had been among “low-scoring applications” that went ahead against the advice of DfE officials. He agreed to write to MPs with further information about the application, because of the “legitimate interest in this case”.

But, three times, Mr Gove refused to agree to reveal the full advice, saying: “Officials need to be able to offer advice frankly and candidly and that needs to be protected.”

West Yorkshire Police started a criminal inquiry into what happened at Kings Science Academy in October, six months after the DfE audit found wrongdoing.

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