Kings science academy scandal raises questions over free schools policy

On the website of the Kings science academy in Bradford is a letter from David Cameron, thanking its principal, Sajid Hussain Raza, for the welcome he received during a visit in March 2012. The prime minister was clearly impressed with this flagship free school – one of the first to open in the autumn of 2011.

“I was really [his emphasis] impressed and have told Michael Gove about your work,” Cameron wrote in his own hand under his standard typewritten note. “Keep it up!”

In January this year Raza was arrested as part of a police investigation into his school’s finances. He is currently on bail, and away from the school on a leave of absence.

Last week, following a further critical report from Ofsted, a new executive principal was brought in from another Bradford secondary school to bolster the senior team at Kings.

So what went wrong? How could a project launched with such evident enthusiasm and passion have collapsed so comprehensively and so publicly?

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