Kings Science Academy - press release
25 October 2013
Commenting on reports of concerns about governance, financial irregularities and conflicts of interest at Kings Science Academy in Bradford, Christine Blower, General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said:
“It is now apparent that the DfE has been sitting on the report detailing financial irregularities at the Kings Science Academy since May and only released it late today once it became clear that the NUT had released to the press its own document outlining financial irregularities at the school.
“The catalogue of irregularities and what frankly points to fraud in the management of the school’s finances acknowledged in the DfE’s investigation report is a disgrace. This makes it very clear that the DfE lacks the proper procedures to manage and oversee its free schools programme. The audit investigation team deemed that the situation was so serious as to warrant investigation by the police.
“Michael Gove is himself personally responsible for this position. The public can no longer have confidence in him or his education policies.
“Problems around good governance, financial probity and standards of education are emerging in increasing numbers of free schools. The Government cannot continue to claim that these are isolated cases. These problems will continue to recur while we have a free school policy which allows groups to set up new schools and to run themselves without any accountability mechanisms.
“It is ironic that the Government has now asked the local authority to support the free school – a clear recognition of the educational expertise in local authorities. Free schools that are already opened should be brought within the local authority family of schools so they can be properly supervised in all their activities. The Government must end the approval of new schools by the free school route and must restore to local authorities the legal powers to open new maintained schools where places are needed. These schools must be locally accountable.”