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Payback time for former West Exe head Steve Maddern?

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: October 25, 2012

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Steve Maddern

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THE former executive and deputy headteachers of the city's largest school could be forced to pay back thousands of pounds from their excessive pay packets, the Echo can reveal.

The decision by the governing body at West Exe Technology College to seek legal advice into the matter comes after the publication of a report into the financial management of the school by former executive head Steve Maddern (inset) and former chair of governors Paul Smith.

The audit report, carried out by Devon County Council, looked into the running of the school in recent years and criticised the close relationship between Mr Maddern and Mr Smith.

It stated that Mr Maddern's "significantly higher than normal" salary of £156,000 came about after he, at the request of Mr Smith, produced what is described as "misleading" information with regard to national pay scales and potential pay rises.

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The £86,000 salary of his wife Beverley, who was senior deputy headteacher, was also deemed excessive by auditors.

Mr and Mrs Maddern both resigned from their posts in the spring.

Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw has welcomed the governors' move in the interest of recovering tax-payers money as a result of a salary that was "inappropriately set".

Chair of governors Peter Scott said the decision to take legal advice on whether it is now possible to "claw back" any of the Madderns' salaries was taken last week.

"The auditors' report did not specify requirements for us to recover any of their salaries," he said.

"However, as a result of what was found in the report we are seeking legal advice which will determine whether we can make a reclaim.

"It's right that we should follow this up and find out if it's possible to make a recovery, in the interests of the school and the students who are obviously affected by financial decisions.

"So we've got to do whatever we can to do the right thing and should readily investigate it to make sure we're clear as to what the options available to us are."

Mr Scott said once the legal advice has concluded, it will be a decision for the board of governors to decide whether it would be in the "financial interests" of the school to pursue a claim.

He said the board would also decide whether to re-adjust their pensions.

Devon County Council said it does not hold information on the couple's pensions.

Mr Scott said a key issue was "protecting the financial interests of the school and students".

He said: "The process itself will cost money, so we will have to look at whether it's in the interests of the college to pursue. It could be that clawing back some of the money is appropriate, but until we have a clear picture of whether we have an option to reclaim any money, it's difficult to say if we will do one or both. If the finishing salary is wrong, by default the pensions should change."

Parent governor Heather Morris, also a city councillor for Cowick, said: "Morally, the money should be reclaimed and if the legal advice is such that it is possible, I'll certainly be supporting the governing body in looking into it further.

"I would hope the governing body would look into the possibility of getting their pensions readjusted as well.

"But I want to be aware of all the facts and would want the governing body to have a full discussion."

Mr Bradshaw added: "I have already asked Devon County Council what action it intends taking to recover public funds and ensure pension liabilities are properly set.

"The public and taxpayers would find it very difficult to accept having to fund pension payments based on a final salary which was set inappropriately in the first place."

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  • tuftyaurelius  |  December 01 2012, 12:59AM

    A dreadful, evil and totally corrupt man!

    |   2
  • manrow  |  October 28 2012, 7:01AM

    It is vital that Ben Bradshaw keeps asking the right questions. Some of the governors were there throughout the last years/months of Steve Maddern's reign and failed to ask the appropriate questions on what was going on; hence their decisions now warrant close analysis as they wish to cover their tracks as soon as they can. I doubt that the advice they will receive will suggest legal action to recover the inflated sums paid to Steve Maddern, as the governors approved what he asked for. While I would love to see Steve's pension slashed the fact remains that it is the governing body which was responsible for the disastrous salary/pension deal, and unfortunately there will be no mileage in pursuing them for recompense. The County Council education department is wholly subscribed to sorting out the problem as soon as possible with the least publicity and cost; they will not be picking up the tab, the residents of Devon will be doing that. They will happily see someone retire on inflated pension terms as long as there is no damaging publicity. The Express and Echo has championed this issue so far and must continue to do so. The school functioned well in the last few years as there were dedicated staff members who carried on regardless of how much Steve Maddern was creaming from the organisation by manipulating incompetent governors. By definition they must have been incompetent as they didn't challenge the Head's justification at the time. Unless Ben Bradshaw pursues this rigorously, then the whole incident will quickly fade into history and a manipulator will have succeeded again. This whole episode could become indicative of how effective our local MPs are; Ben Bradshaw stand up and be counted. Watch this space, right now we need the big guns of our MP and the Express and Echo; if this subject fades into oblivion then we will have watched over the demise of true democracy - this must not be allowed to happen.

    |   6
  • manrow  |  October 27 2012, 9:55PM

    It is vital that Ben Bradshaw keeps asking the right questions. Some of the governors were there throughout the last years/months of Steve Maddern's reign and failed to ask the appropriate questions on what was going on; hence their decisions now warrant close analysis as they wish to cover their tracks as soon as they can. I doubt that the advice they will receive will suggest legal action to recover the inflated sums paid to Steve Maddern, as the governors approved what he asked for. While I would love to see Steve's pension slashed the fact remains that it is the governing body which was responsible for the disastrous salary/pension deal, and unfortunately there will be no mileage in pursuing them for recompense. The County Council education department is wholly subscribed to sorting out the problem as soon as possible with the least publicity and cost; they will not be picking up the tab, the residents of Devon will be doing that. They will happily see someone retire on inflated pension terms as long as there is no damaging publicity. The Express and Echo has championed this issue so far and must continue to do so. The school functioned well in the last few years as there were dedicated staff members who carried on regardless of how much Steve Maddern was creaming from the organisation by manipulating incompetent governors. By definition they must have been incompetent as they didn't challenge the Head's justification at the time. Unless Ben Bradshaw pursues this rigorously, then the whole incident will quickly fade into history and a manipulator will have succeeded again. This whole episode could become indicative of how effective our local MPs are; Ben Bradshaw stand up and be counted. Watch this space, right now we need the big guns of our MP and the Express and Echo; if this subject fades into oblivion then we will have watched over the demise of true democracy - this must not be allowed to happen.

    |   6
  • Exonian  |  October 25 2012, 10:15PM

    *sorry - should have said "....make clear the role...."

    |   2
  • Exonian  |  October 25 2012, 10:14PM

    The article doesn't make the role of "former chair of governors Paul Smith" in this saga. The sentence about "misleading" information can be read two ways - is it suggesting Cllr Smith's connivance, or that he was misled?

    |   5
  • kazfielder  |  October 25 2012, 5:24PM

    Thank god the madderns will not be getting away with it - we hope! They de-frauded the education system and the tax payers of Exeter and should be made to pay back all the money by deception they had, be stripped of their pensions and be sentenced to jail sentences - bloody rogues! Let's hope that lessons have been learnt and all future teacher's pay is overseen and audited by 'qualified persons' and NOT buddies that they have in their pockets on the Schools Governing Committees - where all sorts are permitted to happen behind closed doors!!!! (I feel qualified to comment as I know - I was the clerk to a Govening body!) Disgraceful - hang your heads in shame Mr & Mrs Maddern.

    |   14
  • GlassPrison  |  October 25 2012, 11:26AM

    No teacher deserves that... Period!

    |   12

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