Free school at centre of police inquiry holds meeting for parents

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A TROUBLED free school has held a meeting for parents following a series of protests and the arrest of its original head teacher.

It took place at the Kings Science Academy in Bradford, where the founder and principal Sajid Raza has been arrested over allegations of fraud.

He was originally arrested in January and was arrested again over further allegations last month when he answered his bail.

The police investigation was launched following a Department for Education audit which alleged that the school had submitted fabricated invoices to claim just over £10,000 of public money.

Mr Raza has been suspended from the school since his arrest and an interim head teacher, Jane Tiller, is currently in charge.

She has joined the school through the Bradford Partnership, an organisation representing school head teachers across the city. However there have been two protests outside the school gates in Lidget Green, Bradford, by a group said to represent parents who are concerned about standards at the school during Mr Raza’s absence.

The meeting in the school was chaired by the school’s chairman of governors, John Bowers, with Bradford Partnership represented by its chief executive Nick Weller. It was described asa chance to “discuss recent events at the school and begin to find a way forward”.

The Yorkshire Post has been unable to contact Mr Bowers.

The Kings Parents Forum has voiced concerns about the way the academy is now being run. Its members also claimed that the school was being branded as failing to prevent Mr Raza from being able to return.

A statement from Mr Bowers from last month said that Mr Raza’s future was dependent on the outcome of both the police investigation and an internal review into his conduct being carried out by the school.

Kings Science Academy was one of the first free schools to open in 2011. It was hailed as a flagship of the Government’s programme and was visited and praised by Prime Minister David Cameron two years ago. However, it has become the subject of political controversy over the official response to fraud allegations.