Former Durand Academy head 'tempted to give knighthood back' over decision to end funding

Sir Greg Martin, who is still chair of governors at the south London school, says he is prepared to fight the the decision to end its funding agreement in court

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Sir Greg Martin, the former headteacher and now chair of governors of the under-fire Durand Academy has said he is “tempted" to hand his knighthood back after the government said it would end the school’s funding deal.

He also said he is prepared to take legal action to challenge the decision, which came after the Education Funding Agency accused the trust running the school of “repeated and significant breaches” of its agreement.

In July, it issued the trust with a list of eight conditions that must be met in order to maintain its funding, including severing ties with Sir Greg.

Last week, announcing that it would be terminated, the EFA said six of these conditions – largely designed to reduce apparent conflicts of interest in the trust’s governance – had not been met.

MPs criticised the “dubious business relationships” at the school in November 2014 after a critical National Audit Office report. But the Durand Academy Trust last week said it would fight the decision to end its funding agreement and “any slur’ on Sir Greg’s ‘good name’.

It said it was determined to be vindicated and allowed to continue to make a profit from its on-site businesses and use the money in a way "it sees fit" to improve facilities for its pupils and the local community.

It accused the EFA of waging a campaign against the school charaterised by "half-truths and inaccuracies".

Now, Sir Greg claims he is being singled out after using the government’s education reforms to build a commercial enterprise at the school. 

He insists the financial management and governance of the schools are sound.

He told the Sunday Times: “I am prepared to fight this in court every step of the way.

 “I am tempted to hand my knighthood back. Why would any head teacher want to take over an academy when they look at what is happening here?”

The school is currently advertising for an executive headteacher on a salary of £150-£200,000.

The school uses the profits from businesses run out of its site - including a health club - to fund free music and swimming lessons and a boarding school satellite campus in West Sussex.

The business has provided hundreds of thousands of pounds for the school and Sir Greg has taken a wage from the venture.


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