Durand Academy leisure centre profits still going to ex-head under £850k 'special payment' deal

Most of the money made by leisure facilities on a school site in south London is being paid to the school’s former head, it has emerged.

Sir Greg Martin, who quit as head of Durand Academy in 2015, is entitled to a £850,000 “special payment” under an agreement with the Charity Commission.

The deal was reached following the termination of a contract between one of Martin’s companies and London Horizons Limited, which runs the leisure centre on the school site. Martin was initially entitled to £1.8 million, but this was reduced in agreement with the regulator.

Durand was finally rebrokered to the Dunraven Educational Trust earlier this year after its previous sponsor, the Durand Academy Trust, had its funding agreement terminated by the Department for Education. The school reopened as Van Gogh primary in September.

However, as revealed by Schools Week at the time, school land occupied by a leisure centre and accommodation remains in private hands and has not been passed to Dunraven along with the rest of the site.

The issues stem from the fact that part of the land on the school’s Hackford Road site is still controlled by Durand Education Trust, a separate private company set up in 2010 by Martin and others.

John Wentworth, an education consultant currently serving as a trustee of the Durand Education Trust, told MPs on the public accounts committee today that the facilities make around £400,000 a year, but that much of this is being paid to Martin.

“At the moment, we have a considerable liability to the previous executive headteacher of Durand Academy, and he has a contractual, I suppose it’s a break in his contract, which entitles him to a lump sum payment and so most of the money is going to paying the previous headteacher.”

“It was arrived at through an inquiry by the Charity Commission, a statutory inquiry which Durand Education Trust went along with. Originally it was considerably higher, and as the numbers grew, an arrangement was made between Sir Greg Martin and DET with the Charity Commission authorising that figure.”

The committee heard the school’s land was handed over to the Durand Education Trust in 2010 by the government. Wentworth said it was “not clear” whether that land can be transferred to another trust.

During his time as head, Martin’s annual earnings were said to total more than £420,000. This included management fees paid through his firm GMG, which in turn ran London Horizons, of £161,000 in 2012/13 and £175,000 in 2013/14, on top of his headteacher’s salary of £229,138 in 2012/13.