Recent scandals around the Government's flagship free schools have shown how the management standards are "not up to scratch", according to the Chairwoman of an influential committee of MPs.
Public Accounts Committee Chair Margaret Hodge, Labour MP for Barking, said:
– Margaret Hodge
Recent high-profile failures at Al-Madinah School and Kings Science Academy demonstrate the DfE and the EFA's oversight arrangements for free schools are not yet working effectively to ensure public money is used properly.
The department and agency have set up an approach to oversight which emphasises schools' autonomy, but standards of financial management and governance in some free schools are clearly not up to scratch.
The agency relies on high levels of compliance by schools, yet fewer than half of free schools submitted their required financial returns for 2011-12 to the agency on time.