In the latest of the ‘Kings Science Academy’ saga, the Chairman of the Governors has been criticised for informing parents that its principal, who was arrested last week on fraud allegations, had been ‘exonerated’
Sajid Hussain Raza, headteacher and founder of the flagship free school at Lidget Green, had actually been ‘bailed pending further inquiries’, rather than being ‘released without charge’ after being arrested on Thursday January 9th.
The phrase ‘released without charge’ is used if police release a suspect when no further action will take place. A police spokesman confirmed that Mr Raza had been bailed pending further inquiries, rather than being released without charge.
The police had originally launched their inquiry into the school after the Department for Education (DfE) found last year that the school submitted fabricated invoices to claim thousands of pounds of public money.
An investigation by the Education Funding Agency (EFA) found “serious failings” in the financial management of the school.
Kings Science Academy was one of the first free schools to open in September 2011 and was praised by Mr Cameron on his visit in March 2012.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has now confirmed that Kings Science Academy was without a chairman of governors for over a year after its opening.
Now, the patron and benefactor of the school, Tory vice chairman Alan Lewis, 75, who was himself arrested last year over an historic rape allegation but later cleared of all charges, has come under fire.
Bradford MP David Ward told MPs that Mr Lewis had amended an audit report into the school by a company he recommended.
During education questions in the Commons, he asked Michael Groves for clarity over a comment made by a spokesperson for Alan Lewis who said that at no time did Mr Lewis have responsibility for financial management or governance at Kings Science Academy.
Mr Ward said: “If, as I have been told, the report by the auditors recommended to the school by Mr Lewis was presented directly to him and amended by him as a result of his comments, would you agree that this provides evidence of both financial management and governance within the school?”
Mr Gove replied: “Mr Lewis was responsible for commissioning a report which you quite rightly draw attention to, which played a part in helping to ensure that Kings Science Academy moved from a difficult position to a better one, but I must stress that I don’t want to say anything that might prejudice an ongoing police report.”
Mr Ward, wants the DfE to be more transparent over the on-going matters involving the school and wants the statement on Kings Science Academy’s website to be corrected.