New head in place at troubled Bradford free school

David Cameron on a visit to Kings Science Academy in 2012
David Cameron on a visit to Kings Science Academy in 2012
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A NEW interim head teacher has been appointed to help lead a free school where the principal has been arrested by police investigating alleged fraud.

The Kings Science Academy in Bradford has appointed Jane Tiller to work in the school on an interim basis until September.

She is an experienced head teacher who has led other secondary schools in the city.

The move follows a critical Ofsted inspection into the school last month which said it needed to “secure additional leadership capacity at the most senior level.”

The school’s founder and principal Sajid Raza was arrested and bailed earlier this year by police investigating allegations of fraud.

The free school has been at the centre of a scandal after a Department for Education investigation report alleged that it had submitted fabricated invoices to claim public money. The matter only became public when the DfE report was leaked to the media in October last year.

At the time a statement from the school said there had been no “misappropriation of funds” and all spending had been academy related.

The school said earlier this year that Mr Raza would not be returning until the police investigation is concluded.

Mrs Tiller has been appointed to lead the school on an interim basis. The Yorkshire Post was unable to contact her yesterday.

She has been appointed after the school’s governors approached the Bradford Partnership - a group representing the city’s secondary schools. Mrs Tiller is currently head of Immanuel College in Bradford and has also led Feversham College in the city - which was the country’s first Muslim state school.

Nick Weller the partnership’s chief executive said: “She will be ensuring that adequate staffing arrangements are in place from September and will work to improve outcomes for students.”

It is understood that she will work from Kings for two days a week. The appointment has been welcomed by Bradford Council’s executive member for children’s services Coun Ralph Berry.

He said: “The recent monitoring visit from Ofsted several issues at the school including the need for senior leadership. I am delighted that an experienced, successful and respected head teacher is going in.”

Mr Berry said that support of Bradford Partnership and the work of the council which has been helping Kings Science Academy with governance showed the importance of schools working together locally.

The Kings Science Academy was one of the first wave of 24 free schools to open in 2011. It was visited and praised by Prime Minister David Cameron in 2012.

In its first Ofsted inspection last year the school was found to require improvement. A recent monitoring inspection voiced concern that leaders and governors were not taking effective action to improve the school.

Ofsted also called for the Kings Science Academy to recruit “sufficient high quality, experienced teachers” to deliver the curriculum and develop systems to hold teachers’ to account.