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Sky-high pay in education isn’t just for university bosses. Look at academies

Mar 12, 2018 by

Leaders of academy trusts often earn more than £200,000, while the profession struggles to recruit teachers

Warwick Mansell

University vice-chancellors earn far more than their peers in the public sector, with pay rates well outstripping those of, for example, council chief executives running similarly sized, or even much larger organisations. But they are not the only people in publicly funded education in England benefiting from such a phenomenon.

The situation for leaders of chains of academy schools – institutions funded directly by government, rather than via local councils, which have freedoms including near-complete autonomy over staff pay and conditions – is almost identical, with many heads or school leaders earning more than chief executives of councils, even though the latter are generally far larger organisations.

Academy “chief executives” can also be paid far more for running these quasi-independent, charitable bodies, where pay is set by boards of directors, or trustees, than they would once have earned as headteachers of conventional state schools.

Last autumn I carried out an analysis of the 2015-16 accounts of 127 of the largest academy chains, known as multi-academy trusts. There were 357 people in these organisations paid at least £100,000; 69 people on £150,000 or more; and 15 cases of individuals on at least £200,000.

I compared these figures with those of 20 local authorities, which that year oversaw schools, in the non-academies sector, educating the same number of pupils. There I found about half as many being paid £150,000 or more, with only two on £200,000-plus.

In 2015-16, the highest-paid academy leader, Sir Dan Moynihan of the south London-based Harris Federation, received remuneration of £420,000-£425,000, for leading an organisation with gross expenditure of £168m, or an 18th of the size of Birmingham council, whose boss was paid £182,500 in the same year.

A separate analysis by the Tes, based on 2015-16 data including both large and small academy trusts, found 23 trusts paying at least one individual at least £200,000, including some heading just a single school.

Source: Sky-high pay in education isn’t just for university bosses. Look at academies | Warwick Mansell | Opinion | The Guardian

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