KINGS Science Academy opened in September 2011 as one of the first free schools in the country, hailed by then education secretary Michael Gove as a "flagship school."

Founded by Sajid Hussain Raza, the state-funded school was free from council control, and had a longer school day - 8am to 3.30pm.

The school was built on a plot of land in Lidget Green, and was fully completed in 2012 at a cost of £10.5 million.

It was visited by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012 who was shown round the school by Mr Raza in 2012 when he described it as “innovative and inspiring.”

The school opened with just one year group, and would add a new Year 7 each year until it reached capacity.

However in March 2013 the first cracks started to appear when the school was judged to require improvement in every category by Ofsted, with a report raising concerns about management and leadership.

Inspectors called for the school to carry out a review of its governance, saying: "They have been concerned with establishing the academy and have not been sufficiently robust when challenging leaders about the quality of education provided."

Mr Raza replied to the result by saying the inspectors "found it very difficult to understand our education methods, our homework programme, our teaching methods and our longer day."

Despite the criticism, the school remained popular, receiving 1,197 applications for just 180 places available that September.

In October 2013 a report into the schools finances revealed that the school had "serious failings" including the disappearance of tens of thousands of pounds, false invoicing, and question-able staff appointments and payments.

Department for Education auditors had been called in to examine the school's books after concerns were raised by a whistleblower about the way it was being run since it opened.

The probe also found the principal Sajid Hussain Raza had employed members of his family at the school, including his wife and sister as teachers on a combined salary of more than £49,000, and his father as a minibus driver on a wage of £6,950, all during the year ending August 31, 2012.

The investigation took place early in 2013, with the school issued with a warning notice in May.

A statement released by the DofE said the police had been notified but "no further action" would be taken, and any disciplinary action would be a matter for the school.

After the report, the school placed a statement on its website saying: "The financial and governance systems were initially very weak due to the unprecedented pace of opening the school within two or three months from approval and the lack of training and support available for new governors.

"It is of no surprise that the report has highlighted some weaknesses with regards to the financial systems and governance two years ago in their historical review.

"There has been no misappropriation of funds and all expenditure has been academy related."

Local MPs at the time, David Ward (Bradford East) and George Galloway (Bradford West) demanded a proper inquiry into financial failings at the school and described claims that the police deemed no further action as "misleading," as police said there had been no official inquiry.

Just a few days later West Yorkshire Police stepped in to investigate after the case was referred to them by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

A police spokesman said the DfE had reported the matter to Action Fraud, which investigated fraud allegations, on April 25, when it was recorded as an information only case not as a crime.

They said the case was not sent to West Yorkshire Police, either as information or for investigation.

After the investigation started, parents of pupils at the school were called to a meeting about the issue. The Telegraph & Argus was not allowed in, but after the meeting parents said there appeared to be a split of parents who supported Mr Raza and those who didn't.

Meanwhile in Parliament, then Education Secretary Michael Gove refused to criticise the school, despite his own department having identified the apparent fraud.

He also refused to suspend Mr Raza until after the police investigation.

Instead, he hailed the "idealists" behind the school and the other free schools sprouting up in Bradford and across the country, and accused Labour critics of ignoring what he called the "appalling" quality of education in Bradford.

It soon emerged that Mr Gove had first heard about the fraud claims in March.

In January 2014, Raza was arrested and taken to a police station where he was questioned for several hours before being released on bail.

After the arrest John Bowers, the school's chairman of governors, released a statement saying: "As a result of this investigation Mr Raza will not be returning to the academy until the investigation is complete and finalised."

However the school came under fresh criticism when it posted a message to parents on its website saying Raza had been "released without charge," a phrase used by police to say no further action would be taken against him.

In April 2014 Jane Tiller, the head of Immanuel College in Thackley, was parachuted in to work on an interim basis at the school until a new principal was found.

In May 2014, City of London Police admitted that "human error" meant the financial irregularities at the school were not investigated by police for months. They said not only did the NFIB incorrectly record the case, but when officers realised their mistake they did not pass this information to West Yorkshire Police.

In June, there was a protest at the school by parents who claimed standards had slipped since Raza left his role as principle. A group of protesters gathered outside the school one afternoon, handing out leaflets saying ‘We trust in Mr Raza’s vision of educational excellence for every child."

In August 2014 the school announced that Raza had been sacked following an internal disciplinary investigation, and that the school would be looking for an academy chain to join.

In September it was announced that the school would join Bradford-based Dixons Academy chain and be re-named Dixons Kings Academy. Neil Miley became the new head.

In November 2014 the Department for Education finally lifted the warning notice it had placed on the school 18 months earlier. And by February 2015 Ofsted said the school was "moving in the right direction."

Raza was finally charged with fraud offences in March 2015, with Daud Khan, the former director of finance, and Shabana Hussain, a former head of department, charged shortly after.

Today's convictions followed a lengthy court case. The sentencing hearing in September will take place around about five years after the academy's opening.