Shock resignation of so-called "superhead" Greg Wallace
PUBLISHED: 10:34 21 November 2013 | UPDATED: 10:35 21 November 2013
Teaching unions have warned Hackney Council not to sweep their investigative report on the so-called superhead Greg Wallace under the carpet, following his shock resignation yesterday.
Mr Wallace – once described as one of education secretary’s Michael Gove’s “magnificent seven - was suspended from his post in July while the council investigates allegations over the awarding of lucrative computer contracts to C2 Technology, which is reportedly owned by his boyfriend Tony Zangoura.
The council withdrew financial and staffing powers from the governing body of the Best Start Federation (BSF), the umbrella organisation of the five schools Mr Wallace led as executive head.
He started out as head teacher 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.
Mick Regan ex-Hackney National Union of Teachers secretary said his sudden resignation must have come as a big shock to his supporters who have been staging protests calling on the Learning Trust to reinstate him.
But he added the council report should not be “swept under the carpet”.
“This is public money that needs to be accounted for - how contracts are awarded is covered by EU law and the council cannot ignore that,” he said.
In a statement, Cllr Rita Krishna, cabinet member for education and children’s services, said The Learning Trust’s priority is now to ensure children’s education is not disrupted.
“Steve Belk, former chief executive of The Learning Trust, has been appointed to support the BSF until the investigation process has concluded,” she said.
“We will publish the findings of the investigation in due course which will include any relevant disciplinary action in its recommendations.”
A spokesman said no compromise deal had been agreed with Mr Wallace.
In September the Hackney union branches of GMB, Unison and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) called on the Learning Trust 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,” they say in a letter signed by Sandra Hall from the NUT, Matthew Waterfall from Unison and Tony Brown from the GMB.
A letter was sent out to parents at the BSF schools yesterday - signed by the BSF chair of governors Mike Sharman and the Learning Trust’s education director, Tricia Okoruwa – confirming Mr Wallace’s resignation.
“Under his leadership we all know the schools have made significant improvements in their levels of performance and quality of provision,” they said.
“We are sure you will join us in thanking Greg for his commitment to improving the education of pupils in all best start schools.”
The schools had to put their plans to convert to academy status on hold in May once the investigation was launched in April.
The BSF appealed to Mr Gove to intervene in the case, but he refused.