Free schools?

“The Secretary of State believes Kings will become a ‘flagship school’ and will help to raise the standards of attainment in education. This is a testimony of his confidence in the excellent calibre of teachers and professionals who have joined Kings and who will deliver an outstanding academic education for your child.”

“Kings Science Academy in Bradford comes closest to David Cameron’s vision of what a free school should be. Its principal is determined to help the poorest pupils”

Bradford free school invoices were fabricated, says a report”

The above links are to snippets about a free school which has recently been in the headlines.

As the stories of financial irregularities emerge we can read the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, giving his stamp of approval on the school’s website, beneath a message from the principal. Other than what I read, I have no idea what’s going on at that particular free school, but it all seems a little bit strange and predictable.

We have a government who lectures us daily about the waste of “tax payer’s money” on this project and that project.

We have a government who preaches in the name of “hardworking families”, about the need to cut  waste in its battle against “welfare”.

We hear about how money cannot be given to the feckless poor, the disabled, the idle, recently sacked and redundant without first making sure they are fully checked out.

Then we have a government minister handing over millions to a group of people I know nothing about so they can run a school however they want. And this results in stories in the press about “fabricated invoices” and “financial failings”.

Worse still, we have the Department for Education  publishing a report on its website about an investigation which took place in “early 2013” after a “whistleblower” tipped them off. The investigation confirmed the financial failings and the police were informed in “April 2013”. The police decided to take decided to take no further action. However, the school is still conducting its own investigation, after which they may take disciplinary action. That should sort it all out then.

Here in Bedfordshire, the Beds On Sunday are reporting today (27/10/13) about goings on at Barnfield. The DFe have confirmed the investigation after they received allegations which they are taking seriously.

To summarise, we have someone, or some people, playing funny with “hardworking families” “tax payer’s” money, to the tune of  £86, 335 or £76, 933. This money was given to them to by the Government.  No small sum, unless compared to a CEO Bonus.  Then we are told, the “school may take disciplinary action”.

What is going on Secretary of State?

This is not a little game. What does he have to say? Nothing as far as I can find out. For once he is silent. That well-known section of “the enemies of promise”, the NUT and The NASUWT, have been warning him about the likelihood of things like this happening. But “I Know Best Gove” didn’t want to listen.

This money is a gift from the “hard-working” families of this country. When the Secretary of State  gives it away he needs to be damn sure it’s going to people who know what they are doing.

If our money is going to be handed over, we need to know they can be trusted to look after it.

Instead of listening to your close allies, you need to listen to those you claim to speak for, the “decent, hardworking” people in our communities. You might start to get a few things right if you do. But  if you can’t get it right Secretary of State, then stop giving our money away. Stop using our money for your pet projects and start making sure the people who need it get their fair share. Better still, if you can’t do your job properly, clear your desk and get out.

We will, of course, make our views known through the ballot box at the appropriate time. We do things the right way Secretary of State, openly and fairly. The vagaries of our electoral system might give you something to cling on with, but the majority will not support you.


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