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“Superhead” Greg Wallace was dismissed by Hackney Council following financial investigation

PUBLISHED: 13:59 06 February 2014 | UPDATED: 13:59 06 February 2014

Greg Wallace, executive principal of the Best Start Federation

Greg Wallace, executive principal of the Best Start Federation

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Details of an investigation into “financial irregularities” involving so-called superhead Greg Wallace were revealed this week – but a teaching union has slammed Hackney Council for refusing to publish the full report and its findings.

Mr Wallace – once described as one of education secretary’s Michael Gove’s “magnificent seven – was suspended from his post six months ago while the council investigated allegations over financial irregularity and the awarding of lucrative computer contracts thought to be worth in excess of a million pounds to C2 Technology, reportedly owned by his boyfriend Tony Zangoura.

It was initially thought he had resigned from the position as executive head of five Hackney schools – which came under the umbrella of the Best Start Federation (BSF) governing body – but the council confirmed this week that he had already been served with a letter of dismissal.

It has also emerged that the recommendations to “tighten financial and procurement procedures” at the schools included disbanding the BSF and appointing new governing bodies.

The council had pledged to make public the findings of the report and its recommendations, but members of the National Union of Teachers have accused it of backtracking after being told last week by head of Hackney Learning Trust, Tricia Okoruwa, that the report would not be published as it related to a disciplinary matter and was confidential.

Hackney Council has since cited “legal reasons” for the refusal to publish the report and reveal how much taxpayer cash was involved.

Mick Regan, former secretary of Hackney NUT, said: “This is public money that needs to be accounted for – how contracts are awarded is covered by EU law. Why is the Trust trying to bury this report – have they got something to hide?”

Requests from the Hackney union branches of GMB, Unison and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) for an investigation to dig deeper.

“In-light of the other allegations which have been raised by our members, the high turnover of staff and large numbers of compromise deals, we are requesting a full investigation into the BSF by the Learning Trust,” read the joint letter signed by Sandra Hall from the NUT, Matthew Waterfall from Unison and Tony Brown from the GMB.

A council spokesman said the report 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.”

He also confirmed that the matter had not been referred to police by the council.

Mr Wallace started out as headteacher of Woodberry Down in 2001 and was deemed so successful he was drafted in to turn around four more underperforming schools – London Fields in Westgate Street, Whitmore in Bridport Place, Hoxton, Mandeville in Oswald Street, Lower Clapton and Burbage in Ivy Street, Hoxton.

In July when the investigation launched, the council withdrew financial and staffing powers from the BSF governing body.

The BSF is now in the process of disbanding and should be dissolved by the end of April.

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