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£156,000 Devon headteacher suspended from post

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: April 28, 2012

Steve Maddern, the executive headteacher of West Exe Technology College, Exeter

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The headteacher of a Westcountry school who earns £156,000 a year – £14,000 more than the Prime Minister – has been suspended.

Steve Maddern, the executive headteacher of West Exe Technology College, was suspended by the schools’ governors on Thursday evening.

It is understood that staff at the 1,300-student specialist school in Exeter were officially told of the move at a meeting yesterday afternoon.

A spokesman for Devon County Council confirmed to the Western Morning News: “The governors of West Exe have suspended Mr Maddern. This is a neutral act. We are unable to comment further.”

The authority would not comment on the reasons for the suspension.

Controversy over the size of Mr Maddern’s salary emerged last month. The figure is about £60,000 more than the next highest paid head in the city, and almost £20,000 more than the principal of Exeter College.

Beverley Maddern, deputy headteacher at West Exe and Mr Maddern’s wife, earns £86,000.

It was later confirmed that governors at the school had asked Devon County Council to review the salaries of its senior teachers.

If pay levels are deemed to be excessive, the council could recommend that the governors – who set salaries – should impose a cut.

Then the following week it emerged that the local education authority was also conducting an internal audit to examine how the school’s budget had been spent.

Two auditors from the council’s in-house team have been at the school since March 13.

Both investigations are continuing. In the meantime, the school’s bid for academy status has been put on hold.

The debate has even reached the floor of the House of Commons after Ben Bradshaw MP, tabled a series of questions to the Department for Education. The Labour MP for Exeter raised a number of issues in Parliament including the pay packet of Mr Maddern and the employment of his wife as deputy head.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb, responded to the questions on behalf of the department. He said West Exe’s application for academy status was approved because it satisfied the department’s criteria.

He said: “As part of the conversion process we would expect matters that could impact on conversion to come to light as the department works with the school and the local council towards conversion, which is what has happened in the case of this school.”

Mr Maddern was unavailable for comment.

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  • kazfielder  |  May 08 2012, 6:55PM

    I actually know for a fact that this sort of underhanded behaviour goes on in schools e.g., Governing bodies too afraid to stand up to the bullying headteachers over massive pay awards and incestual employing. I was Clerk to the Governors for a few years - a very frustrating (underpaid) job where you are privvy to what is going on but unable to do anything about it - never again. There should be some sort of overseer who is in charge of regulating these pay awards - it's just a form of daylight robbery. After all - it is the children who they are doing out of valuable resources by being so bloody greedy!

  • tuftyaurelius  |  May 03 2012, 1:27AM

    Unbelievable how long this man has been allowed to get away with all these allegations and crimes at TAXPAYERS' EXPENSE???? TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. He should be forced to pay back all his ill-gotten gains with interest!

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  • tuftyaurelius  |  May 03 2012, 1:25AM

    Unbelievable how long this man has been allowed to get away with all these allegations and crimes at TAXPAYERS' EXPENSE???? TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. He should be forced to pay back all his ill-gotten gains with interest!

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  • Joannah  |  May 02 2012, 9:35PM

    Thought this reminded me of something and have just realised what it was - the Ceausescus in Romania. Though guess this pair won't meet quite such a sticky end however mad the taxpayers of Exeter get!

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  • westexegran  |  May 02 2012, 3:47PM

    I'm told that West Exe is already a better place to be since Mr Mad'un's departure. Mrs Carah and Mr Till seem to be doing a very good job and are highly visible around the school.

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  • tuftyaurelius  |  April 30 2012, 9:58PM

    Ben Bradshaw put 7 straightforward questions to Mr Gove? But what does the long suffering taxpayer get from Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, yet more obfuscation and avoidance! We get bureacratic answers about the processes and procedures for an "academy" application rather than proper and honest answers as to how and why the head was allowed to, 1. Award himself such a huge, over the top salary? 2. Appoint his wife as deputy head earning some £85,000 a year salary? 3. Appoint his eldest son apparently as head caretaker? 4. Make numerous unwarranted, overseas, all-expenses paid "business" trips? 5.Sell the schools old computers plus other equipment by setting up a company? plus a host of malpractice allegations? Is Mr Nick Gibb actually able to read and understand the questions put to the DfE or has he passed them onto yet another obfuscating dimwit at the department????? We citizens of Exeter have had enough of all the corruption, covering up and lack of openness or is it a typical case of Devonian disingenuousness"

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  • The_Real_SKoM  |  April 30 2012, 1:43PM

    Hmm, this may be a varied repeat as the web site's playing up I don't have a press office and have not disclosed the things that may appear at a later date. Whether you believe points 1-3 to be wrong doing or not depends on you point of view. Do you think it right that salaries in the public sector can be heavily influenced by friends or family?. Other parts of the public sector do not allow familial mangement so that there is no risk of favoritism and the appointment and rewards processes are likely to be followed correctly. It is certainly no coincidence that the previous chair resigned when he did. One thing's for sure, I didn't get to 7, but then, I didn't go to Westexe.

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  • woe_is_me1  |  April 30 2012, 1:03PM

    @Skom Facts 1-3 are no indication of wrongdoing - greed maybe but not wrongdoing. Fact 4 clearly has an element of speculation as per your own admission. Is fact 5 in the public domain? Again fact 6 no indication of wrongdoing. All a bit woolly really, no? Fact 7 - if you really are in the know, then didn't you ought to let your internal press office do the talking rather than getting loose-lipped on a public forum?

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  • KC2012  |  April 30 2012, 8:28AM

    Mr Maddern doesnt deserve to even be a head teacher. He did nothing while I was attending West Exe. I got severly bullied for years my family and I tried our hardest to get his attention to put a stop to it but he didnt listen and he took no actions. I find it discusting how he got paid so much but did so little. He deserves whatever is coming to him as they say karma always finds it way, the school needs a new head teacher who isnt stuck up, self centered and someone who will actually care about the pupils and do something about the badly behaved children and help the bullied ones. Most of the staffs attitude there is appauling. I'm ashamed to say I even went to this school.

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  • Yesboy1  |  April 30 2012, 8:08AM

    the E and E should follow Joannah advice look at all public salaries and discuss them. i personally feel strongly that the public services provide an essential role in maintaining the great living standards we have here. however there is a fear that some are there to benefit themselves i would like to see top earners wages (and there increases over the last ten years - because this guy featured encouraged them around him to recommend his wages rocket?? (is there others??)) to discuss their value for money (compared to dinner ladies, care assistants for the elderly etc etc- earning minimum wages and caring for the most vulnerable in society

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