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Suspended superhead’s schools refused to release FOI details about lucrative computer contracts

PUBLISHED: 16:50 31 July 2013 | UPDATED: 10:30 01 August 2013

Greg Wallace, executive principal of the Best Start Federation

Greg Wallace, executive principal of the Best Start Federation

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Three primary schools run by “super-head” Greg Wallace who was suspended last week refused to release details about lucrative computer contracts

Executive Principal of the Best Start Federation (BSF) of schools, Greg Wallace – once described as one of education secretary’s Michael Gove’s “magnificent seven” – was suspended by Hackney Learning Trust (HLT) last week over concerns about his “relationship” with one of the schools’ contractor’s, C2 Technology, which is reportedly owned by his boyfriend.

Schools awarding contracts worth between £1,001 to £10,000 must obtain two written quotes, while three written quotes are required for sums of over £10,001.

A request in March 2011 asking for quotes submitted by contractors for any purchases over £1,000 at Woodberry Down, Mandeville and London Fields schools was refused in March 2012 in an unsigned letter from the “chair of governors” on the grounds of being “vexacious” and too costly.

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

They all eventually came under the umbrella of the BSF, whose governing body the council has withdrawn financial and staffing powers from.

According to the governing body, which released a statement on Monday, the council “has concerns about the computer contracts in the schools and Greg Wallace’s relationship with the provider C2 Technology”.

The statement says the govenors “refute entirely that there was persistent lack of governance or worse, misfeasance” and they called on Mr Gove to intervene.

Peter Passam, MBE, acting chair of governors, stated that Mr Wallace was always open with him about his connection with C2 Technology.

He said: “We have been very satisfied with the work which has given the children access to modern technology at a competitive price.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said it would not be appropriate to comment until the council’s investigation is complete.

Last year the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove described him as one of a “magnificent seven” head teachers running outstanding schools in challenging circumstances.

A spokewoman for the BSF said: “In February and March 2011 Hackney NUT wrote at least nine separate letters to BSF schools requesting information about IT contracts and suppliers. Each letter was slightly different, meaning that a large amount of time would be needed to respond.”

Mr Wallace was unavailable for comment.


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