Former head who resigned returns as Hackney Learning Trust school advisor

A former headteacher who resigned six years ago after a “poor track record” managing her school, has been reappointed by the Hackney Learning Trust to advise school governors.

Maggie Kalnins quit Haggerston School in the summer of 2009 along with its chairman of governors and chairman of the finance committee.

But this week the Learning Trust defended its decision to reappoint her as head of its governors’ support unit.

A spokesman said: “Maggie Kalnins was appointed having successfully satisfied a rigorous assessment process.

“She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience of leadership and governance in schools and senior roles within the third sector.”

When Ms Kalnin was running Haggerston School in Weymouth Terrace, it had a budget surplus of £1.3 million in 2007/08. However, poor management resulted in a controversial staff “restructuring” programme and six teacher redundancies.

This prompted a series of NUT strikes and in July 2009 the Trust removed the school governors’ delegated powers in a bid to “stabilise the school”, and Sir Michael Wilshaw, now head of Ofsted, was drafted in as executive head.

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Mick Regan, former associate secretary of Hackney’s National Union of Teachers (NUT) branch, was surprised by the appointment. He said: “Is this a suitable person for the Learning Trust to reemploy given her past record?

“Why has someone with such a poor track record, which lead to her and two senior governors resigning following a confidential report, end up in a role advising governors how they should run their schools?

“The restructuring which she introduced at Haggerston which must have cost a lot of money and the loss of six teachers’ jobs has now all been overturned - so it was a bit of a waste of money and time.”

Hackney Learning Trust commissioned auditors from accountancy firm Deloitte to review the school’s “financial procedures” in 2009, but the council refused to disclose the report through a Freedom of Information request, stating it was “confidential”.

A spokesman said at the time: “There were weaknesses identified within the procedures which have since been rectified. But there was no impropriety or anything like that.”