Durand Academy head Sir Greg Martin retires

The executive headteacher of an academy whose trust is under investigation for potential financial mismanagement has retired.

Sir Greg Martin, executive headteacher of Durand Academy, will step down from the role next month, but will remain as a school governor, it was announced today.

The south London school is run by Durand Education Trust, which is at the centre of an inquiry by the Charity Commission.

The probe was launched after concerns were raised during a Public Accounts Committee hearing about the school’s relationship with another company – run by Sir Greg – that runs leisure centre facilities on the school’s site.

The committee heard Sir Greg was paid a £175,000 management fee from the company in 2013/14, on top of his £229,000 salary and pension package as head of the academy.

It was also revealed he ran a dating agency with the company registered at the school’s address. Committee chair Margaret Hodge described Sir Greg’s pay as “pretty gob-smacking stuff”.

The hearing followed a National Audit Office report released last year, which raised concerns about “related-party transactions” made between the trusts and associated private companies.

Schools Week has also reported that the school was told by the Office of the School’s Adjudicator to change its admissions policy, which gave preferential treatment to children who had attended its nursery.

Durand Academy informed parents of the changes in a letter today. In it, chair of governors Kevin Craig said Sir Greg’s years at the school have been “incredibly successful”.

“I had the privilege of being taught by Sir Greg at the start of his teaching career in another primary school in Lambeth, so I know all too well the significant contribution he has made and the lives he has changed.

“The Governors are very pleased that Sir Greg will continue to support the Academy as a Governor for the coming year, and will take a leading role in overseeing the delivery of the secondary project, by supporting and advising senior colleagues.
“We are confident that this new senior staffing structure will continue to deliver outstanding educational opportunities for our pupils.  Whilst we will certainly miss Sir Greg, Durand has always looked to the future and we have put in place a strong team able to cope with any of the inevitable changes that occur in the life of a school.”

Headteacher Mark McLaughlin has taken on the role of interim executive headteacher.

Sir Greg received a Knighthood for services to education in the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. He has been at the school for 29 years.

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