Controversial headteacher Sir Greg Martin retires from Durand Academy

Sir Greg Martin, the controversial executive headteacher of the Durand Academy, who made headlines for earning nearly £400,000 one year, is to step down.

Sir Greg, who led Durand Primary School in its different guises since 1986, announced today that he was retiring from his role as executive principal but would remain a governor at the school.

The headteacher, who was knighted in 2013 for his services to education, has continuously made headlines for the remuneration he received in return for running the school and a leisure business on the side.

In January this year, Sir Greg was called in front of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to explain how he was able to run a school while also acting as sole director of a leisure centre that operates on the school site.

Sir Greg set up a private business, called GMG, to manage the gym, swimming pool and studio apartments that are part of the school site.

MPs were told that in 2013, the headteacher received more than £229,000 in basic salary and pension contributions, but also pocketed an additional £161,000 last year through GMG.

The combined package netted him around £390,000 in 2012-13. The total is believed to have made him by far by the best paid school leader in the country.

He took home £175,000 through the leisure centre in 2013-14 but his salary and pension was £58,000 lower than the year before.

Margaret Hodge, who was then chair of the PAC, said she was “gobsmacked” by the amount of money he was taking home. “You were getting a perfectly good salary, in the top nine in the country,” she said. “That money should have gone to the students…It’s called doing a public service.”

Sir Greg also established a state boarding school in West Sussex, which has been dogged by local opposition as a result of the school catering for mainly black and Asian pupils.

TES has also been told that the school has dropped its links with the PR firm Political Lobbying and Media Relations Ltd, to which it gave more than £152,000 in 2012.

Governors have appointed Mark McLaughlin as interim executive headteacher at the school to replace Sir Greg.

Mr McLaughlin said: “This is a very exciting time for Durand Academy, with plans for expansion of the boarding school pressing ahead. Sir Greg has made a huge impact on the educational opportunities offered by Durand and I look forward to continuing to drive this forward in the future.”

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