Exclusive: Kings Science Academy to join Bradford’s Dixons academy chain

Kings Science Academy
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THE KINGS Science Academy is to join another academy chain in Bradford, it emerged tonight.

The scandal-hit free school will become part of the Dixons group at the beginning of next year.

Parent were told of the news in a letter today.

Governors at Kings had asked the Department for Education (DfE) to find a new sponsor following the dismissal of its original principal and founder Sajid Raza. The school has been at the centre of a financial scandal for almost a year after it emerged that a DfE audit investigation alleged that the school had submitted fabricated invoices to claim public money in 2011.

The matter was only passed to West Yorkshire Police for investigation after the matter had been leaked. The DfE had reported it in April last year with a call to Action Fraud - a financial crime call centre - but the matter was wrongly recorded as only being an information report.

Mr Raza has been arrested and bailed twice earlier this year and The Yorkshire Post can reveal that he was released on bail again earlier today pending further enquiries.

The school have previously said that Mr Raza’s dismissal following a disciplinary investigation was not linked to the police investigation.

Today governors informed parents that the school was set to join the Dixons Academy Trust.

A statement said: “At the full governing body meeting on July 10, that was attended by representatives of the DfE, the governors requested that the department identify a suitable partner for the academy to join. On September 4 the department informed the chair of governors John Bowers, that they had considered a number of potential sponsors. The preferred option is Dixons Academy Trust. Dixons is a proven sponsor.

“This option was put to the full governing body of Kings Science Academy on September 11 2014 and was agreed unanimously. It is hoped that the process of transfer can be completed by January 1 2014.”

Dixons involvement in Bradford schools dates back to the Dixons City Technology College which was one of the first CTCs launched almost 25 years ago. This school then became an academy in 2005 and has consistently achieved some of the best exam results in the Bradford district.

The group now run three other free schools including Dixons Trinity, which became the first secondary free school in the country to be rated as outstanding by Ofsted and Dixons Music Primary which was rated as requiring improvement.

Dixons’ executive principal Nick Weller said: “The priority will be to bring stability to the school and to improve students’ progress.

“Despite its problems the school has many strengths and we will look to build on these to make it an even better school.”

Before Mr Raza’s dismissal there had been demonstrations held outside Kings protesting at what a group of parents saw as the declining standards at Kings since he was suspended following his original arrest in January.