Investigation into so-called 'superhead' teacher praised by Michael Gove uncovers concerns over his schools' financial affairs
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Wednesday 05 February 2014
An investigation into allegations of financial irregularities at a primary school run by one of the country’s most prominent “superheads” has uncovered concerns over the way the federation it belonged to ran its financial affairs.
Greg Wallace, who was one of the “Magnificent Seven” superheads praised by Education Secretary Michael Gove in a speech extolling the virtues of good head teachers, resigned from his post as executive head of five primary schools in Hackney, east London, once the investigation got under way. He has now been officially dismissed over the affair.
It was alleged that he had awarded a computer contract to a firm run by his boyfriend Tony Zangoura, boss of C2 Technology.
In addition, the investigation has ruled that the federation of the five primary schools under the Best Start Federation should be disbanded, with individual new governing bodies set up for each of the five schools, which will remain council-run schools.
The affair came to light at the same time as Mr Wallace was planning to convert the federation’s schools into academies - but the plan was put on ice once the allegations emerged.
The five schools - Woodberry Down, London Fields, Whitmore, Mandeville and Burbage - have all shown significant improvements in recent years. In a visit to Woodberry Downs, Mr Gove said that he had had high expectations of the school before seeing it first-hand but that these had been “totally surpassed”.
A spokesman for Hackney Council said last night: “A routine audit at a Best Start Federation school uncovered concerns about financial irregularity and the procurement of ICT contracts.
“A full independent investigation was carried out and - although Mr Wallace tendered his resignation during the disciplinary process - the procedure was completed and we can confirm Mr Wallace was subsequently dismissed from his position.
“The report also made a number of recommendations to tighten financial and procurement procedures in BSF schools. The federation’s governing body has agreed to de-federate the schools and new governing bodies will be set up for each school. Those new bodies will take forward the recommendations.”
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