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Under half of the UK's new free schools have submitted their accounts for the tax year 2011/12 to the Education Funding Agency (EFA), an influential group of MPs has warned.
The Public Accounts Committee was particularly critical of the following:
- Al-Madinah School in Derby.
- Discovery New School in Crawley, West Sussex, which was closed down last month.
- Kings Science Academy in Bradford.
- They said that these cases suggest that the Department for Education (DfE) and EFA's processes for overseeing free schools "are not yet working effectively to ensure that public money is used for the proper purpose".
The Government has dismissed criticisms of its rollout of free schools, claiming a scathing report by MPs into recent scandals is "misplaced".
A Department for Education spokeswoman said:
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:
Poor financial management and bad governance are dragging down some free schools and leaving the Government to be overly reliant on whistleblowers to raise problems, an influential group of MPs has warned.
The Public Accounts Committee raised concerns the Government did not have a clear idea of where taxpayers' money was being spent on the flagship policy.
There were also concerns over the lack of bids to open primary free schools in areas where more places for youngsters were desperately needed.
The report analyses the success and value for money of the free schools programme and says that the Government has made "clear progress" on the scheme - which is a key part of its education policy - by opening new schools quickly.
But it adds that the measures put in place for checking how these schools are run and whether money is being spent properly are not good enough.