The former superhead of a Hackney schools federation and former advisor to Nicky Morgan has been banned from teaching after he was found to have awarded a £1 million IT contract to a “close friend”.
Greg Wallace, executive principal at the Best Start Federation in East London, admitted to various allegations, including that he failed to get governors’ approval prior to handing the contract to C2 Technology Limited in 2008. The five year contract was worth more than £1 million.
Wallace was the company secretary until 2004 and had been in a sexual relationship with C2 Technology’s director and shareholder “prior to 2002” and after 2012. He was also paid £4,000 by the company for his part in the “Effective Marking Scheme” delivered by the firm.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) released its report into the allegations today.
Wallace, 46, said he did not declare that he was in a relationship with the individual, known only as “TZ”, as declaration forms focused on “immediate family” rather than “partners”.
The NCTL also heard how Wallace sent confidential tendering information from a rival company to TZ. The NCTL said: “Mr Wallace admitted that as a result of the disclosure, TZ and C2 Technology were afforded an unfair competitive advantage and gained financially from the award of the contract.”
Wallace also admitted deleting “a significant number” of emails that had been sent between himself and TZ, after the Metropolitan Police’s anti-fraud division visited the school.
Wallace denied, however, that any of the above amounted to acting “dishonestly” by allowing “significant public money to be spent for the personal gain of Individual TZ with whom you had a close personal relationship”,
The NCTL panel did not find Wallace to be acting “dishonestly” on the “balance of probabilities” and did not advise he should be banned from teaching.
However, this was overruled by Jayne Millions, who reviewed the decision on behalf of the education secretary. She then imposed a two-year banning order on Wallace.
The NCTL said his “wrongdoing” had already had “a traumatic impact on his career”, but that he was now working for the Harris Federation “playing a significant part in turning around failing schools”. The panel said this “reinforces [our] perception that Mr Wallace is motivated wholly by a desire to improve the educational development of children in challenging areas”.
However, Jayne Millions, said: “I differ in my view from that of the panel. The panel concluded that the unusually significant public interest in Mr Wallace being allowed to continue his work, outweighs the public interest considerations in this case.
“I believe that the panel has 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. I consider that the panel has given undue weight to the testimonies of the excellent work of Mr Wallace.”
Wallace resigned from his role as an advisor on the maths working group at the Department for Education at the end of last year.