CREDIT: This story was first seen in TES
Superhead Greg Wallace has won a High Court appeal against his ban from teaching over allegations of financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest involving £1m worth of IT contracts, TES reports.
A senior judge ruled that a “less intrusive measure” than a ban could and should have been adopted against Mr Wallace, the former executive headteacher of the Best Start Federation of schools in Hackney, East London, because of the public interest in maintaining his “exceptional contribution to education”.
Mr Wallace was barred for a minimum of two years after the DfE overruled a recommendation from the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) that a ban should not be imposed because of his “inspirational example” as an educator.
An NCTL professional conduct panel had heard that Mr Wallace conspired to award contracts worth more than £1m, without seeking approval from school governors, to a firm owned by a friend and partner, and then attempted to cover up evidence by deleting emails.
The NCTL panel also heard that Mr Wallace received payments from the firm, including one of £4,000.
Recommending that no ban be imposed, the panel said Mr Wallace was a victim of “an element of duress brought about by a combination of his own natural enthusiasm and others outside of the federation encouraging him to take on responsibility for more schools in order to address poor achievement levels in the local area”.
Mr Wallace, the panel suggested, was overburdened by “the breadth of responsibility on his shoulders”. It added that “an apparent lack of supporting infrastructure appeared to impact on his attention to the detail of some procedural requirements”.
But the DfE decided the panel had not taken “sufficient account of the public concern that would arise, and that public confidence in the profession could be seriously weakened, if the conduct found proved in this case was not treated with the utmost seriousness”.
In 2012, Mr Wallace was praised in a speech by then education secretary Michael Gove as a “magnificent” academy head running outstanding schools in deprived areas.
Two years later, he was dismissed by Hackney council following an investigation into the awarding of the computer contracts to C2 Technology.
Mr Wallace went to the High Court to make a statutory appeal against the education secretary’s insistence on a teaching ban.
He won his case in a ruling handed down in Birmingham by Mr Justice Holgate.
The disgraced head was forced to quit a government maths advisory panel run by the DfE and the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics.