She will temporarily replace Bebb Burchell, the first black woman to be appointed chief education officer, who has lost her job in circumstances strikingly similar to that of Ms Conway in Bradford. On the recommendation of Ms Conway, who has been Lambeth's acting chief executive since January, the council has decided not to renew Ms Burchell's four-year fixed-term contract.
According to John Whelan, the Conservative education spokesman on the hung council, Ms Burchell had lost the confidence of councillors and officers. When the decision was taken in Bradford, Ms Conway was also said to have lost the confidence of members and that there had been objections to her management style.
In recent months, Ms Burchell has had to face a disciplinary panel to answer queries about Pounds 5.3 million that was spent on funding the service when it should have been held in accounts for school balances. That inquiry found that the director of finance was largely to blame for the error.
Tory councillors maintain there had also been objections to Ms Burchell's management style. She has been director since Lambeth took over from the Inner London Education Authority in 1988.